Pannya (Curry), Shimokitazawa

I am not sure whether it's the horrendous humidity that makes me crave for spices, but I have found myself going to curry joints a lot lately. Our latest currying spree brought us to Pannya, a specialized curry restaurant which opened a year and a half ago, ten minutes or so from the station. The owner is well-known actor Takashi Matsuo, a notorious curry fan.

The shop is a clean, small twelve-seater with movies and theater posters on the white walls.
We got there around nine in the evening and the place was full, so it does seem to be quite popular.
Though the menu said that one should try their specialty Chicken Curry, I opted for the "Tokubetsu Na KatsuKare" (the "very special" curry with topped deep-fried pork cutlet) which I ordered from the charming smily little lady in the kitchen. For your reference, I have featured another Katsu-Kare in this post about the old-school Yoshoku eatery "Kitchen Nankai".

It took her ten minutes or so to cook three other curries on wait and ours so that's really not bad of a performance.
As you can see from the picture, the plate is quite large and the light-colored curry relatively soupy. This is one of the characteristic of this place: the recipe doesn't include any flour which is usually rather common in Japanese curries and gives it its thickness. The curry in itself is rather low in salt (so does the cutlet), not too spicy (would prefer it with more spices) and full of stewed onion. There is a strong emphasis on cardamom flavor so if you don't like that specific spice, you will probably not like this dish.

The very tender rice is a blend of regular white rice and whole grain one and its very boiled texture combines very well with the soup, the grains almost sucking the juice.

The pork comes from Nakasei, a specialized aged-meat shop located in the very chic and residential area Denen-Chofu, which might explain why this curry costs a whopping ¥1,500 when the Chicken one is charged ¥800. The "expensive"meat is almost pink, so if you're the worrying kind when it comes to how your pork is cooked, you might get a little concerned here. However, given the tight hygiene standard put by the Japanese government, I wouldn't be too paranoid about this; I guess you can always ask to have your meat well-done (Telling the cook "Katsuretsu O Yoku Yaite Kudasai" will probably do) if you want to.
Though slightly too low on salt, I found the thin-breaded meat tender and delicious, greatly pairing with the curry sauce.

Once again, I found the whole dish to lack spices and therefore characteristics (or maybe that is the characteristic) , but it was definitely tasting good so I'll go back. Next time I guess I will try their Keema and Chicken half and half curry: our neighbor was eating it and it did look quite good.

Pannya is closed on Mondays and open the rest of the week from 11:30am to 16:00pm and 17:00pm to 22:00pm (L.O.)
Setagaya-Ku, Kitazawa 3-23-23
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