When I was planning my trip to Kyoto, there was just a few things that I simply couldn't miss in my to-do, to-visit, and to-eat list!
Wearing kimono, Japanese traditional garment.
(Well hello, I'm in Kyoto - Land of wooden temples, colorful shrines and geisha. Furthermore I'm going to have traditional food, what more reasons do I need? If I don't wear it that day, wait till go Odaiba those futuristic area baru wear meh...)
I wanted to visit a lot of temples! One day not enough!!! Seriously, if you're planning to go to Kyoto, spend a couple of days there. Super regret making it a day trip lah!
And for my to-eat, I really wanted to try Kaiseki cuisine because I'd heard so much about it and I was really really curious!
So what is "Kaiseki cuisine"?
Kaiseki (懐石) or kaiseki-ryōri (懐石料理) is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner. The term also refers to the collection of skills and techniques that allow the preparation of such meals, and is analogous to Western haute cuisine.Kaiseki meals have a prescribed order to their dishes, most of which are prepared by using one of the common techniques of Japanese cooking. However, kaiseki chefs have considerable freedom to add, omit or substitute courses in order to highlight regional and seasonal delicacies and personal style.
Kaiseki is often very expensive – kaiseki dinners at top traditional restaurants generally cost from 15,000 yen to upwards of 40,000 per person (about US $125 to $340 at 2015 exchange rates), without drinks. Cheaper options are available, notably lunch (from around 4,000 to 8,000 yen, (US $34 to $68)), and in some circumstances bento (around 2,000 to 4,000 yen (US $17 to $34)).
(From Wikipedia and Japan Guide)
After a lot of research and comparing, I locked down my choice to Gion Nanba ,a traditional kaiseki restaurant awarded with one Michelin star, and chose special value lunch course, a Mini-Kaiseki with 7 courses, because of the friendlier price at 5,000 yen (excluding tax, service charge and drinks) and also of the restaurant's convenient location.
*Tips: If you really wish to try a certain cuisine without burning a big hole in your pocket, I suggest you go during lunch time as most restaurants usually offer a lunch menu at a friendlier price.
The place is so hidden that you just can't see it from the main road as it's tuck inside an alley with no signs. The easiest way to find it is to look for Starbucks on the right hand side, and turn in the alley on your left.
The restaurant is pretty small to be honest, the bar counter only offers 7 or 8 seats if I'm not wrong but always choose the bar counter seats because you will get to see the chefs preparing your food right in front of you.
|Mr. Nanba, the chef owner preparing food.|
|Appetizers - Asparagus mousse, beans and octopus.|
I know it doesn't found very fancy but trust me, when we put the food inside our mouth and savour it, it's totally mind-blown! It's the same feeling course after course and we were still so amazed by the flavors, textures inside our mouth and it's like we had never have anything like that before when.... honestly, most of the ingredients are familiar to us. Especially the tofu! which I will raved about it later.
To the main courses!
|Suimono - Tofu and fish soup|
This is so so so so so so good that I really felt teary and all those Japanese food manga was not exaggerating when the character burst out in tears when they had something so good! How can this fish and tofu soup be so delicious! The tofu, seriously, it's more like pudding or panna cotta. So silky smooth, rich in flavor and perfect! What lousy tofu had I been having all these years ah???
|Otsukuri - Snapper, squid and bonito sashimi|
I super love the snapper
|Prawn, Octopus egg, egg plant, tomato, mackerel sushi and shell fish in mayo|
The tomato.... *must cry again* so juicy and fresh that it made Bobby and I went to market just to have a box of cherry tomatoes just to see whether it's the ingredients freshness or the chef's skill.
|Potato stem, onion and sea eel|
Really wanna cry with every bite of it. Why is it so good!!!!!