Oboo is an elegant izakaya
at the end of the SOHO3911 lane, which took over from the now-closed Ohana, Willy Moreno’s zany Japanese venture. Oboo’s Japanese owners are also behind Tetote, another popular nook for homey Japanese fare in Gubei.
The décor includes hulking, colourful bottles of sake and chalkboards scrawled with Japanese. Seating works for a first date or for larger groups, with a wraparound bar, curtained rooms, and a spacious patio. The centrepiece is a Suntory whiskey highball machine.
A mere five orders of the restaurant’s speciality homemade tofu (28RMB) are available each day – ordering in advance is critical. The slices resemble panna cotta in both texture and colour, with a tinge of sweet creaminess. Served with a tangle of salty seaweed and dipping sauce, this simple dish alone is worth the trek. Takowasabi
(octopus, 28RMB) comes recommended by the waitresses and other diners, but the kick isn’t as strong and sinus-clearing as in other Japanese staples. The seared mentaiko
(cod roe, 30RMB), is far, far too salty and leaves the palate feeling gritty. Instead go for the baked eggplant with cheese sauce (46RMB) a gooey concoction so rich that it’s a meal in itself. Also ask for the beef and boiled potatoes (32RMB), not on the English menu but on every table, with sukiyaki
sweetened beef and carrots.
The clientele are the best proof of this restaurant’s authenticity. For best results, order ahead for the homemade tofu and invite a Japanese literate friend along, as the Japanese menu is three times the length of the English one and we’re certain there are some more tasty gems to be discovered.
By Blessing Waung