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Nobuyuki's eyes became unusually stern.
It was understandable. The oyster gratin was a masterpiece, but it was said that it didn't reflect his truly desired taste.
Certainly, Shinobu noticed that the flavor of Nobuyuki's food had been slightly off recently.
If Nobuyuki's teacher, Tonoharu, was present, he might've been scolded relentlessly .
After going to Shinobu for taste-testing, the flavors slowly settled bit by bit, but there were times when he needed a new idea to blend the flavors nicely.
Shinobu knew that he was trying to break out of his own shell.
As the daughter of a ryotei family, Shinobu also knew that no one could give him a solution.
This had also been noticed by Crowvinkel.
Wouldn't everyone agree if she called him a true gourmet?
It seemed like the customers had also begun to notice the bizarre atmosphere coming from the kitchen, especially Godhardt and Arnoux, both of whom had watched the events unfold with bated breaths. They seemed interested in what the minstrel Crowinkel, whom they admired, would do.
What would Nobuyuki make? Even Shinobu had no idea. The order was "the dish that you're most confident in".
Even though it was tasty and was made of excellent ingredients, he couldn't afford to serve an original dish to the people of the Old Capital. It was truly a dish that you had to have the most confidence in.
Just because such a thing was ordered so suddenly didn't mean that it could be prepared swiftly.
Nobuyuki began to mix the eggs.
There were various dishes that used eggs, both fancy and simplistic ones.
What kind of dish would Nobuyuki create? Everyone in the pub was focused on the kitchen.
Naturally, Crowvinkel was the one who was watching him with the most anticipation.
Branton, who had brought the minstrel, was speaking with Arnoux for some reason.
They had probably struck up a conversation because they were both fans of the minstrel.
The pub was quiet, and only the sound of Nobuyuki lightly mixing the egg could be heard.
It was dashimaki tamago. That was Shinobu's hunch.
Lately, Nobuyuki had been meticulously paying attention to the way he was adjusting the dashi.
The meal that he was most confident in currently was the dashi itself, so of course he would pick dashimaki to serve to Crowvinkel.
Shinobu tightened her apron and headed for the cabinets.
Which plate would be best to make the dashimaki look more delicious?
When she had been at home, Yukitsuna, she could choose any plate and use it, but there wasn't as much variety in Izakaya Nobu.
Even after closer investigation, there was naturally still a difference in the quality of the plates between the two locations. Still, she wanted to choose a suitable plate to serve the dish that Nobuyuki had the most confidence in, with her own hands.
The thick, beaten egg made a sizzling sound on the pan that was used to roll dashimaki.
As expected of Nobuyuki's, he rolled up the egg just by twisting his wrists.
In the blink of an eye, a dashimaki, made from three eggs, had been rolled up and placed on a bamboo sushi mat.
Since it made using Yukitsuna's method, where plenty of dashi were made, if you didn't shape it with a bamboo mat, the dashimaki would crumble.
The light yellow dashimaki looked great when placed on the green plate that Shinobu had selected.
Crowvinkel, who had watched Nobuyuki cook with folded arms, slowly picked up the fork.
「Choosing to serve an omelette without any toppings, it seems that you are a brave chef.
From the careful selection of the ingredients and controlling the fire yourself, to the skills in preparing the food, all of it converged into creating this dish. This is definitely the best way to display your abilities. But, will I be satisfied with this?」
When Crowvinkel's fork made contact with it, the dashimaki appeared to engulf it.
It crumbled, but there was no resistance. It had been perfectly cooked.
While wearing a strange look on his face, the old minstrel brought the dashimaki to his mouth.
No one in Izakaya Nobu dared to utter a word.
They were simply waiting to hear the minstrel's impressions.
However, only one word escaped his lips
Crowvinkel then returned to enjoying the rest of the dashimaki. Before he knew it, the top of the plate looked as if it had been licked clean.
There was a complicated atmosphere in the air.
They had been anticipating some kind of eloquent praise to come from the minstrel's mouth, but they had only gotten a single word.
This was especially the case for the three people, Branton, Godhardt, and Arnoux, who were staring at Crowvinkel as he was wiping his mouth.
「Store owner, as promised, I will grant you a request. That being said, the request has to be within my power to fulfill.」
Crowvinkel, who had wiped his mouth clean, looked cheerful. Shinobu had witnessed that kind of face before, countless times.
It was the face of somebody satisfied by a delicious meal.
「Thank you very much. Then, there's something that I would like to ask for.」
「What is it? I can't imagine what a chef like you would request of me.」
「Could you please examine Arnoux's verses, over there?」
Nobuyuki's request was unexpected.
Arnoux, who was suddenly mentioned, abruptly stood up and made a confused but joyous expression. In contrast, Godhardt, who was beside him, looked mortified.
「Is that okay, store owner? It wouldn't be difficult for me to spread the splendor of this place to the Empire. On the contrary, it would also be possible to set up a store ten times bigger than this one inside the capital.」
「No, just your thanks is enough. It was fate that allowed me to open a shop here. I'm not planning on moving somewhere else currently.」
「Fate, you say? I see…. Then, I'll look at this lucky Arnoux-kun's verses. Meanwhile, please steam the gun shellfish with wine. Of course, if there's a tastier way to eat it, that'll be fine too.」
That evening, a modest feast with a calm atmosphere was held until the end of the day.
Everyone enjoyed Crowvinkel's singing and his lute, and there were servings of fried oysters, beef doteyaki, and a huge amount of tempura paired with beer and sake.
Crowvinkel kept his promise and read Arnoux's verses thoroughly, but it was decided that he would send a letter about how to improve them at a later date.
「I will make sure that letters from Arnoux-kun of Sachnussenburg receive the highest priority. If you send them through Baron Branton, they will reach me properly.」
After saying this, Crowvinkel left the store as the roosters began to crow.
An amulet was hanging around the helplessly drunk Arnoux's neck. The blue gem gave off a brilliant gleam.
TL: forgot to put the LN pictures in the previous chapters, so here they are.
Arnoux and tempura
Isaac and gyusuji doteyaki