Yes, it looks rather odd doesn't it, but my bad flash-photography does not really do it any favours. Sitting inside that paper-fan bowl was a blandish Japanese broth along with mysterious and not-all-that mesmerising mushrooms with pieces of fish.
It was all a bit too much like a lucky-dip for my liking and it was just my lucky-dip-luck that when I dived in with my chopsticks I came out with something white, with the texture of scallop, but curiously flavourless. Good god, what was it? I wasn't sure if it was mushroom or flesh from the sea. I had a few more goes with the chopsticks but realised I am not so brave with food after all. Ruby proved more adventurous and knocked back a broth-soaked oyster, but later, with a bad taste on her tongue, wished she hadn't.
I was more concerned about Nina as I'm told there's a long list of what expectant mothers can't eat, including soft-cheeses, nuts and raw fish. Because of the brazier-style cooking of the kami-nabe, none of the pieces in the broth were evenly cooked, so that food at the bottom of the paper-fan bowl was well-cooked, while the fish and mushrooms sitting near the top were only cooked in parts. I pointed this out to Nina but she wasn't too worried and just poked her chopsticks in to the broth and fished out some more salmon.
Both Ruby and Nina ordered desserts: one looked like a flying saucer and was comprised of a chocolatey-bean paste sandwiched between two crispy round discs that tasted like dried rice-paper. The other was like a vanilla agar-agar and deliciously refreshing.
When we left the restaurant I noticed these wise, slightly unintelligible, but strangly appropriate words chalked up on the rusty-facade outside Sushi Yachiyo's door: