When I parked at Tamachan more than a whole hour before the opening, I knew right away that is was not your average hole in a wall okonomiyaki spot. According to my wife, Tamachan is currently the king of oyster okonomiyaki in Hinase and it ranks number 1 on numerous websites.
We were invited to come in at 10 AM and they asked us to write down our order on a form.
My wife ordered the regular okonomiyaki which comes with 100g of oysters and I got the green onion version in the large size which has 250g of oysters.
We also ordered two oyster steaks out of curiosity.
I spent the next 30 min watching the Tamachan crew going through their mise-en-place. Tamachan is a big restaurant and by 10h30, there was 22 groups on the waiting list.
Being second on the waiting list, we sat at the main hot plate where all the okonomiyaki are cooked.
The young cook was friendly and greeted me in English which is pretty rare in this part of Japan.
The okonomiyaki at Tamachan is 100% Kansai style which means that all the ingredients are mixed with the batter before being dumped on the hot plate.
Tamachan uses olive oil for cooking which is quite unique for an okonomiyaki shop.
As we were sitting at the hot plate, we both noticed that the cooking was pretty uneven and some of the okonomiyaki were pretty much downright burned.
Luckily, our okonomiyaki were fine and they had a very nice crunch to them. Half of the okonomiyaki was seasoned with salt and the other half with soy sauce. My green onion okonomiyaki had big chunks of green onions.
The oyster steaks were two very big oysters fried on the hot plate and served with a drizzle of olive oil. These were pretty amazing.
Somehow, my wife walked out of Tamachan truly unhappy with her experience.
First, the scale of the operation bothered us a bit. Tamachan is pretty much an okonomiyaki factory where they are trying to crank as many okonomiyaki they can. Other shops in Hinase are offering a much more personal experience.
Secondly, we both had a gripe with the serious lack of quality control in their cooking. We saw them send away seriously burned okonomiyaki. Is it a lack of experience from the young cook or a general carelessness?
Tamachan has raised to the top of the B1 Gourmet rank in Hinase, but despite the fact that my meal was damn right delicious, it’s hard not to be concerned by a kitchen sending out food which is not 100% perfect.
Will I go back to Tamachan? Probably, but Arata remains my favorite shop in Hinase.
Please note that if you don’t get there early, you can expect at least a 2h wait. If you do wait 2h, I hope you don’t end up with a burned okonomiyaki.