Momotaro in Cologne: Far beyond Sushi

Post vom Cirquent Blog

This years’ Blog Action Day 2011 is dealing with the topic food. Here’s what folks from Blog Action Day say about their choice: “Food is important to our culture, identity and daily sustenance and we invite to talk about it.” As the world faces a multitude of challenges and problems regarding food it is to be expected that many comprehensive and very serious blog posts will be written in the over 1.000 worldwide blogs that have registered to take part.

Cirquent Blog however has chosen a topic that is more easy to digest and probably makes the reader feel like going to the restaurant right away. Our Blogger Hiro from NTT Data in Japan, who is presently working with Cirquent in Cologne, introduces his favorite restaurant Momotaro in Cologne. Whenever he feels homesick and hungry, he might be found at this place. :)

In this entry, I will introduce the Japanese restaurant “Momotaro” which I mentioned before. I recommend this restaurant with confidence.

Momotaro is located in the central part of the Cologne city district. They have about 30 seats, and it is usually crowded.

You can eat fresh fish and also other authentic Japanese dishes. And a lively and warm atmosphere attracts many customers who come frequently. I interviewed the owner and chef of my favorite restaurant: Mr. Naito.

Hiro: Where and what did you do at beginning of your career?

Mr. Naito: I worked in Tokyo for about five years after getting my cooking license, and then came to Germany. After four years of work in a big Japanese restaurant, I needed a change of environment. Four years experience made me a ‘middle manager’ in the big restaurant, and I was forced to leave many things to my subordinates. I didn’t like that and wanted to move to smaller restaurants.

Hiro: Why did you come to Germany?

Mr. Naito: It was purely by chance. Because I heard that my friend was featured in a magazine, I read the recruiting magazine. And there I saw an advertisement by a restaurant in Cologne.

Hiro: Does this mean that If you had not got that magazine, you would not have come to Germany?

Mr. Naito: Yes. Maybe I would not even have gone abroad.

After working for three years in Cologne, Mr. Naito went back to Japan and stayed there for two years. Then he came back to Cologne.

Hiro: Why did you come back to Germany?

Mr. Naito: Because that Momotaro needed a manager-chef. The restaurant I had worked before had a second restaurant, that is Momotaro. Momotaro did not have a good reputation at that time. So they needed a new manager-chef to revive and called me. That was a chance for me. I wanted to manage a restaurant. And, I thought there is a bigger chance to have my own restaurant in Cologne than in Tokyo.

Hiro: How did you revive Momotaro?

Mr. Naito: I made some marketing efforts such as presentating “Today’s recommendation” on a blackboard outside the restaurant, but basically I focused on the foods and hospitality I can offer.

Mr. Naito managed to get a good reputation for Momotaro and bought the restaurant!

As one of loyal (but not royal) customers, I suppose an attentive service is the strongest point of Momotaro – in addition to the quality of foods.

Mr. Naito is standing at the counter and he cooks raw fish foods and so on. From his place, he can see all customers while cooking. And he can see and manage everything.

What is astonishing, is that he remembers faces of frequent customers (the number of them is about 200!), and their tastes. So if the service staffs take the order-sheet to him and the orders are different from the “database” in his brain, he reconfirms the order to the customer. By this he finds order mistakes.

He says: “I have a non-Japanese friend who is running several Sushi restaurants. And he said to me that the Japanese can offer very good dishes, but are not good at business. That is partly true. And I could do the same thing. But I won’t do it, because that’s not my style. If I had more restaurants, I wouldn’t be able to see everything. I don’t want to be an manager only but also cook, talk with customers, and educate my staff on my own.”

If you want to eat more than only Sushi – here are some of the Momotaro’s recommendations:

Japan is a place worth visiting, but you can experience one of the important parts here. Please try it!

Recommendation: To enjoy fresh foods at Momotaro, which is originally the name of the Japanese most famous folklore, you should reserve your seats in advance.

 

On Twitter you can see what has been posted about food in the blogs around the world if you follow this hashtag: #bad11.

Blog Action Day 2011: List of Participants

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About Hiroaki Kajigaya

A global trainee from NTT DATA. One of the original members of NTT DATA Group e-mobility business. The main objectives as a trainee are activating global collaboration in NTT DATA Group and understanding European culture.

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