Yasushi Umebayashi has manned the kitchen at Gokoku since it opened in 1999. The owner-chef makes everything himself, from the trademark omurice to the desserts. The omurice is so popular that long lines form at lunchtime and on weekends. The rice, a mixture of rice cooked with barley and buttered mentaiko rice, is topped with an incredibly fluffy omelet. One stroke of your spoon will reveal savory, semi-liquid egg on the inside and the pink hue of the flavorful rice underneath. The omelet topping is deftly prepared from simple ingredients—two eggs, mozzarella cheese and milk. We recommend you try a bite before adding any ketchup. Umebayashi used to work in the Kanto area and his friends there raved about his omurice—his family is in the seafood business and used to send him mentaiko—so he put it on the menu when he opened. Another dish inspired by the family business is the maguro rice bowl. The risotto-esque milk porridge is also a big hit with customers of all ages. The portions at Gokoku are sizable, so we suggest you avoid the lunch rush and enjoy a leisurely, filling meal.
Address: 2-1-8-1F Akasaka, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
Hours: 11:00~22:00 (L.O. 21:30)
Closed: Mon. and every first Tue.
Menu: Mentaiko omurice ¥820 (w/soft drink ¥980; small salad +¥160), Maguro yamakake rice bowl (w/miso soup) ¥980, Milk porridge ¥550, Mentaiko porridge ¥650, Beer ¥400, Veggie juice ¥320, Cake ¥100
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Originally published in Fukuoka Now Magazine (fn187, Jul. 2014)