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Non-brunch Reviews

Mums Cafe

mums cafe

Continuing this week with non-brunch bottomless restaurants, we have Mums Cafe, home to some of the best shabu shabu in San Francisco. It’s located in the Kimpton Buchanan Hotel (formerly known as Hotel Momo) in Japantown.

In case you’re unfamiliar with shabu shabu, it’s up there with sushi as one of Japan’s great culinary inventions. First you get a large pot of broth (the exact type depends from restaurant to restaurant, but miso broth is pretty common), along with a few things to season it with – at Mums Cafe, these are their homemade spicy sauce, garlic, jalapenos and radish paste.

While you stir the seasonings in and wait for the broth to come to a boil, the staff will bring out raw meat – again, types vary by restaurant, but beef is the staple – along with an assortment of vegetables and noodles. You put these into the broth until they’re cooked, then eat! “Shabu shabu” translates literally to “swish swish,” as that’s the motion you’re supposed to make with the meat when it’s in the broth.

Besides the fact that it’s generally delicious, shabu’s appeal comes from the fact that many places that serve it offer all you can eat and drink menus. Mums Cafe is, naturally, one of those, so you’ll find me there once a month or so.

The Bottomless

The all you can eat and drink will run you $42.95 for 90 minutes, which, trust me, is more than enough to get your fill. You’ll get Japanese beer by the large bottle (they usually have Sapporo and Asahi) and house sake, hot or cold. Sake bombs definitely aren’t frowned upon, especially if you come in with a large group.

The Food

Delicious, delicious shabu. They’ll default to continually bringing you beef unless you request something else. The other options are pork, chicken and lamb, and of those I would really just recommend the lamb. Pork’s a little too light of a meat for shabu shabu, and I just can’t get behind the idea of cooking raw chicken yourself.

The vegetarian foods include a couple of varieties of mushrooms, cabbage, tofu and spinach, along with udon and glass noodles. If you’re not a fan of all of those things, they’ll bring you individual bowls of whatever you request. You can also get white rice on request, but that just seems like a waste of stomach space that could be otherwise filled with meat.

The Service

It’s a small restaurant (so make a reservation if you’re coming in at a popular time or with a big group), and there’s always wait staff buzzing around ready to get you another plate of food or bottle of beer. They’re constantly slicing more meat in the back, so when you ask for it, it’s usually out there in under a minute. Same for beer and sake. Add to that the fact that they won’t judge you at the end when you’ve had an entire night’s worth of booze and a couple days’ worth of food in 90 minutes, and you’ve got yourself some excellent service.

Overall

Mums Cafe is one of my favorite places in San Francisco, and I’ve been there for dates, my birthday (and despite about 30 rowdy folks in attendance, they gave us no problem for singing and chanting while we ate) and just about any other opportunity. I’ve got nothing but good things to say – come to Mums Cafe the next time you get the chance!

Rating: 🍾🍾🍾🍾🍾

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New Brunch Alert

New Brunch Alert: Corridor

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As a good brunch professional (and I mean that literally… to date I’ve made over three dollars from Google ads on this site), I keep my eyes peeled for any and all new brunch-related news. My network of brunch enthusiasts out on the street keeps me updated on the brunch rumors and gossip around town, but sometimes there’s nothing like Google to keep tabs on things for me.

Sure enough, this weekend I had a hit on my Google alert for “San Francisco Brunch” that led me to this 7×7 article about a newly announced brunch from Corridor. I’ve never been, but it’s got a solid pedigree, as it’s owned by the same group that owns Trestle and Stone’s Throw. Plus the article cites “thick butter fried pancakes” – not even sure what that means, but I want it.

On Saturdays for $18 you can have bottomless with what appears to be no time limit. The menu says bottomless only applies to the traditional OJ mimosa, but they also have a tropical mimosas (lime and pineapple), a bellini with blood peach and thai basil, and “Off to the Races,” a mimosa with grapefruit and cucumber. In an effort to maintain the thorough journalistic standards of this brunch site, I have an inquiry into their email address to find out whether bottomless can include all of their mimosa varieties.

This one’s going on the to-do list, and you’ll hear about it as soon as Brunch Club has visited and rendered a verdict. In the mean time, we’re headed to Blackwood today, so watch out for a review of that as soon as my hangover subsides. In the mean time, if you have Corridor brunch before I do, let me know how it is!

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