In Japan, curry shops are a ubiquitous part of the culinary landscape. Curry was originally introduced to the nation by way of Britain by way of India, and curry rice is now widely considered the country’s national dish. But it hasn’t gained the same traction here as ramen or sushi. So partners Akiko Asano (the architect behind the Elysian, Tamura Sake Bar) and David Chen (owner Shizuku Ramen) started Kare, which is dedicated to the dish.
Curry rice dominates the dinner menu. Most homemade Japanese curries start with a base of concentrated curry blocks that get cooked down into a gravy and mixed with chunks of potato, carrot and beef or chicken. But Kare specialises in “ohfu”, or European-style curry, a time-intensive alternative commonly found in Japan.
Its signature roux begins with beef, slow-braised for hours until tender, then combined with S&B curry powder and helpings of butter. There’s also the rich and sweet keema curry with pork mince and tomato, as well as a vegan version with vegetables, plant-based meatballs or panko-crumbed vegan chicken. Curries come on a bed of white rice with fukujinzuke (lightly pickled vegetables) or in kare pan. The latter is a soft bread coated in panko crumbs, filled with curry and then deep-fried.
There’s also a range of sweets, including mochi-stuffed hojicha cookies with a crackled sugar top, yuzu canelés and anko (sweet red-bean paste) croissants. Plus, Acoffee espresso-yuzu tonics and kinako (roasted soybean) lattes by day, and craft beers and canned cocktails by night.
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