Japanese department stores or depatos as they are called have an abundance of great food choices.
On the top floors of the depato are many types of restaurants both Japanese and western types.
These are not fast food chains but high quality restaurants that however are not too expensive.
If you happen to be in a depato (Isetan, Daimaru, Hankyu, Takashimaya, etc) during mealtime, rest assured you're in for a good meal.
The restaurant floors are usually open an hour or two even after the department store has closed.
After walking through the Umeda station area, I found myself inside Daimaru, feeling some hunger pangs. Of course I headed straight to the 14th floor where the restaurants are.
I was attracted by the tempting array of choices at Hon Sachifukuya. Like most Japanese restaurants, they offer settos or set meals so that eating is fast, convenient and easy. After all, most of the diners in these places are shoppers, office workers and commuters who are not looking to linger over a meal.
Daimaru Department store was just about ready to close. The dinner crowd had thinned out and I was quickly seated.
First things first -- beer! But they only had a big bottle so I had quite a bit to drink.
I ordered the fish setto which was brought on a lacquered tray to my table. Such a pretty presentation. A touch of bright blue from the tsukemono was a bright singular pop of appetising colour. Sachifukuya's menus are kyo-ryori based which means they are typical of Kyoto cuisine.
The bright blue tsukemono or pickle must be an heirloom kyo-yasai or heritage Kyoto vegetable. It didn't seem like it had been dyed and it was crunchy and quite tart.
It was placed artfully on top of the other pickles. Each tsukemono on this plate yielded a different taste and texture that complemented each other.
I could have just eaten tsukemono with rice and I would have been perfectly happy.
There is a small side dish of boiled radish, yam, my favourite konjak and tofu. Lightly seasoned, they were perfect bite sized delights.
I had two kinds of grilled fish -- saba or mackerel and cod. They were very fresh and cooked with just a hint of salt.
A small square of tea flavoured flan and a small piece of rice cake, lightly dusted with sesame proved to be the sweet ending to this light and delicious dinner.
Setto meals are a fine example of how Japanese food is such a balanced and nuanced cuisine.
And one you can enjoy, even within the confines of a depato.