Yes, folks, another day, another lunch spot on Kantstraße. I can't help it! It's my little Asiatown.
Actually, Heno Heno is also open for dinner. It's a little sliver of a Japanese Imbiss around the corner from Stuttgarter Platz and I first read about it on Mel's blog. It's really a hole-in-the-wall: There's a counter with stools and then three tiny little tables only big enough for two rather slim eaters. (A warning: There's no restroom.) The vibe is all rather relaxed and homey, which befits the simple menu. Also, there's always good music playing.
Heno Heno serves homestyle Japanese cooking, with almost no sushi in sight (the exception being oshi sushi, an Osakan method of making sushi by pressing rice and herring, in this case, together in a wooden box). There are a few simple appetizers (house-pickled vegetables and onigiri are the plan for my next visit), a few rice dishes topped with meat or vegetables and an array of noodle soups (either udon or soba). That's pretty much it.
The first time I went, I had an udon soup that seemed a lot murkier and grainier than I'd been used to at the noodle shops I used to go to in New York. But it certainly tasted quite authentic, nice and seaweedy and sweet with miso.
The next time, I couldn't resist the edamame (which came at room temperature, sadly; I'd kind of wanted them piping hot), which were delicious - I spooned a little bit of the spice mixture from its beautiful bowl with that delicate little spoon onto the edamame plate and then dunked each bean into the pepper.
For my lunch, I ordered the vegetarian don with an egg on top - the smallest size. Perfect for my appetite, I could just about finish it. What you get is a bowl of hot rice topped with a very molten poached egg, ground sesame seeds, slivered seaweed, cooked greens, sliced scallions, a few mushrooms and shredded carrots. If there was more in there, it was well camouflaged. Using your chopsticks, you hack and mix everything together until you have a fragrant, sweet-salty, chewy mixture of rice and vegetables and sticky egg yolk clumping together under your chopsticks.
With a mug or two of hoji-cha, roasted green tea, it was just the thing for a gray day. Sitting at a small table, marveling at the tiny wooden pepper spoon, a ceramic tea cup nestle in my hands and a few simple Japanese cooking instruments hung over the stove, I almost felt like I'd been teleported somewhere far away. I love that feeling.
(030) 663 073 70