As the weather gets cooler, we’re all familiar with wanting something to make us nice and warm both inside and out. Clothing from places like Uni Qlo covers the ‘outer,’ (and the ‘under,’ so to speak!), but the inside needs something in the form of food, and curry is the perfect thing to warm your stomach.
Hiroshima delivers yet again with a number of fantastic little gems ranging from the ever-popular and obvious choice, Japanese curry, to the more exotic versions of Indian and Thai. Everyone you speak to has their favourite or favourites, but there are a few that many agree are the best. For Japanese curry, one of these is Utsuwa (うつわ) or Curry de Café.
Utsuwa (うつわ) or Curry de Café is located right in front of Kokusai Hotel in the street that runs parallel to Hondori. It’s everyday lunches will only set you back 600 yen and that includes not only the most gigantic serving of curry and rice you’ve ever seen, but a small salad as well. The salad alone is worth its weight in gold and features a creamy, mayonnaise-like spaghetti with lettuce leaves and a tangy salad dressing. The curries include the essential and every popular katsu curry (deep-fried pork cutlet), chicken katsu curry, potato croquette, ebi furai (fried shrimp), hamburger and of course, plain beef. Oh and you can also choose to include such things as a wiener or cheese for a few yen more. If you don’t want the lunchtime curry-of-the-day, you can pay an extra 30 yen (yes, only 630!) to choose your own type of curry from the menu. Dinner is always 630 yen.
The fact that the building has three levels means that there is plenty of seating. It’s one of the THE places for salarymen in the area to go, so if you want to avoid the lunchtime rush, go there a little before 12 or much earlier around 11am when they first open up. Usually when I go at lunch I’m the sole female in a sea of men. The fact that they have a strict timeframe though means that it clears out pretty quickly, but do be warned if you don’t like smoking as the place is not smoke-free and this sometimes means you will be engulfed in a haze while you’re trying to enjoy your meal.
The staff are super friendly and always remember what your favourite curry is. Sometimes their service is so fast they’ve already prepared your curry before you order! Now THAT is Japanese hospitality! I’m a regular customer, so sometimes they even give me a little extra service in the form of a bit more sauce or a few more shrimp. Double points for their Japanese hospitality!
I would highly recommend this place as an easy introduction to Japanese curry. The menu is in both Japanese and English and features big photos of each curry that you can point to if you’re not confident with your Japanese ability. I usually go at least once a week and now that autumn is here, well, I may even find myself there more frequently! Itadakimasu! (いただきます！)
Utsuwa (うつわ) or Curry de Café
3-17 Hondori, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture 730-0035 (map link)