Aji WOW is my series of unusual Japanese food/drink reviews. 'Aji' (味) means 'flavour', and the name's also a pun on 'ajiwau' (味わう) - 'to enjoy the taste of'.
This time: Mayonnaise Honpo, a relatively new restaurant in Osaka.
The word for 'speciality store/restaurant' in Japanese is 'senmonten' (専門店).
You'll often see senmonten dedicated to grilled chicken, or garlic, or a specific style of cooking. This restaurant, which opened in Osaka's Minami-Semba area back in June, is a mayonnaise senmonten.
Yep. A restaurant dedicated to mayo. Pretty much every dish on the menu has mayonnaise in it - even the desserts. Mayo pudding, anyone?
Most of my food blogs are planned - sometimes weeks in advance. I found Mayonnaise Honpo entirely by accident while wandering around. I'd never heard of the place. But once I saw it, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to go inside.
As you can see on the menu below, there are 25+ flavours of mayo to choose from. Including mint, chocolate, coffee, olive, peach, coconut, orange, blueberry, and matcha. Not quite shown: caramel as one of the current flavours of the month.
('Scuse the light spots, it was pretty bright in there.)
I decided to play it safe and order something relatively normal. Edamame! The green beans you get as an appetiser. Always a good bet if you're peckish and not sure how far to commit to a full meal. That, and... I was a little scared. Was this going to forever ruin mayo for me?
My beans arrived with a generous serving of 'mayo mousse'. Whipped to frothy perfection. (?!) The owner makes all of the mayonnaise himself. It was lovely to sit and listen to him talk about it, all puffed up with pride and a sense of accomplishment. The place has only been open 4 months-ish, and it seems to be doing well.
"Is this the first mayo senmonten in Japan?"
"Well, it's the first in Kansai, at the very least."
He said the mayo he makes has 50% less calories than standard shop-bought mayo. I take it that's not just because this mousse is full of air bubbles.
You're supposed to 'shoop' the green beans and mayo into your mouth at the same time. That way, you get the full aerated experience.
Aside from how odd bubbly mayonnaise looks, the presentation was great. Even the chopstick rest was in line with the theme - made from a mayo bottle cap.
So Mayonnaise Honpo gets a thumbs up from me. If I get the chance, I will definitely be back. Someone's got to get through all of those mayo flavours... (might skip the olive one, that's a step too far...)