I’m a huge huge fan of Uzbek food. Actually, I’m a huge fan of all food that has a lot of lamb. I’m a big lamb lover. Unfortunately, the Japanese don’t share my fondness for the meat that is often described as ‘gamey’. BTW – it’s only gamey if you don’t know how to prepare it. Cooking lamb well is an art form. And the Uzbeks are brilliant at it.
And that’s when my colleague told me about Silk Road Murat: an Uzbek restaurant in Saitama.
Saitama?!?! Nan de??!?! Why?
I’ve been to Saitama a couple of times. It has a couple of attractions, but I wouldn’t describe it as an exciting place. Also, Saitama is pretty far from where I live. I sometimes go there for work. And I happened to be in the area for work on one fine Sunday.
And so my partner in crime and I went on a kebabscepade in Saitama. The restaurant is in the middle of nowhere. It’s a twenty minute walk away from Minami Yono Station on the Saikyo Line. There’s also a bus, but I’m afraid of taking buses in Japan. For some strange reason, I always find the whole experience very disorienting. And so we walked. I outsourced the navigation portion to my partner in crime since I’m no good at directions. The area is super inaka. There’s not much around and there are many unlit roads.
And then we arrived at the restaurant. The ambience is cosy, unpretentious and looks family-run. There’s a course set, but we decided on a la carte. We order kebabs, lamb chops, plov and naan stuffed with meat.
I don’t think I’ve had that much meat in one sitting in a long long time. The kebabs hit that sweet spot. There are few things as satisfying as barbaqued meat on a skewer. But the star of the meal – hands down – the grilled lamb chops. The meat was tender yet oozing with blood when you bit into it. The fat was deliciously creamy – although I only had a little bit. Hey – health comes first.
We left so incredibly stuffed it was ridiculous. We bought some cookies at the conbini convenience store on the way home and munched on them during the long train ride home.
It was a great evening.