|Bird Land, Ginza, Tokyo, Japan|
The recognisable chicken logo helps, and it's only once we're down there that I realised why the sign next to the chicken looked so familiar.
|Look familiar? Sukiyabashi Jiro|
This was none other than Sukiyabashi Jiro of Jiro Ono and the movie Jiro Dreams of Sushi fame. In the presence of 3-Michelin starred sushi restaurant greatness, we peered in as unintrusively as possible but it was hard to catch a glimpse of Jiro from the outside of the tiny restaurant.
|Sitting at the Bird Land counter, watching chefs in the open kitchen|
There was plenty of shouting and skewer action over the centrally-located binchotan Japanese coal-fuelled grill, and with no waiters, it's the junior chefs that serve drinks, take orders and ferry dishes to customers.
|Appetisers from the tasting menu|
I think there was a single English menu in the whole restaurant; however, there wasn't a detailed description of the appetisers which probably change regularly. The spear was a raw, young ginger shoot which I'd come across in a cocktail earlier in the trip, while the bowl held some kind of white gloop in a thick, clear gel with what looked like foraged sea greens.
The jellied chicken gizzard was on the menu and wasn't all that revelatory from memory, and the browned strips of chicken skin were rather unmemorable.
|Sasami with umeboshi and shiso|
Picking up a piece of chicken from the plate with chopsticks, I could see the centre was still raw pink. There were probably a few, if not several, moments of hesitation before I had my first mouthful of raw chicken.
It's a lot chewier than cooked chicken with no particular benefit in taste from its rawness, or so at least I thought. The plum sauce and shiso leaves are also big flavours that require some effort on my behalf to really enjoy.
|Chicken liver pate|
This was more sasami breast meat, cooked through with a dab of wasabi on each skewered piece.
|Sasami with shishito peppers|
It was pure, true-to-flavour tomato; sweet with a noticeable umami flavour - and definitely the most tomato-ey tomatoes I've ever had the pleasure of eating. It still makes me smile to think about this tomato salad though it makes me wonder what kind of tomatoes I'm eating day to day.
|Reba - liver|
Most likely made in-house, the tofu had a creamy texture and very subtle soybean flavour, enhanced by the olive oil and pepper, and was sensationally pure and cleansing in many ways.
|Sori - chicken oyster|
Served with a wedge of lime of some sort, the red-centred oyster didn't concern; rather, it added to a more intense poultry flavour in the small nugget of meat.
|Tsukune - chicken meatballs|
Bird Land's was up there, served with a very light treatment of a tare soy-based sauce and without a raw egg yolk as seems traditional.
|Spying on Jiro (left) and Yoshikazu Ono|
Every time a customer finished at Jiro's restaurant, both he and his son would walk them to the door and thank them as they left, waiting until the customers were well on their exiting way before returning to the restaurant.
It was kind of sweet to see a 3-Michelin starred chef do something like that, while it also provided me with a sneaky photo opportunity.
|Teriyaki momo thigh|
|Negima - chicken thigh and leek|
One stringy mouthful of the stretched Italian cheese was all I needed to declare this my favourite. Sorry chickens, I'm a cheese girl.
This is probably the closest I've tried to a vegetable replacement for meat, such were the complex flavours of the mushroom. I absolutely loved it, and it is definitely in my top two mushroom dishes of the trip (yes, I have a top two).
|Teba - chicken wing*|
|Oyako-don - chicken and egg rice bowl|
This petite bowl of rice, topped with mostly cooked egg mixed with chicken pieces and shallots, is the filling end of the meal where the rice ensures that diners don't leave hungry. It was a lovely, comforting dish that featured quite wet rice underneath.
Out by 7.30pm or so, it was an appropriately light dinner that gave us capacity for shopping in Ginza and supper at a later point.
There was so much to take in during the meal: the food with remarkable attention to detail; the chefs' practised yakitori techniques; people watching and of course, Jiro spotting. I would recommend Bird Land without hesitation for any of these reasons.
Next stop: Osaka, Japan. See more photos on my Facebook page.