27 June 2012

Kaiseki Dinner in Kyoto, Japan

A Kaiseki dinner is, i suppose, similar to a degustation dinner at a fine dining restaurant. A and i decided to experience one for ourselves. Ive never done a degustation dinner but i was willing to try and wade through 13 courses in Kyoto!

A Kaiseki dinner does not come cheap, especially at establishments with a good reputation. A and i chose one after exploring the Kiyomizu-dera temple. And it was such a great choice. It was a small traditional style inn with private rooms where we were greeted at the door by a matron decked out in traditional Kimono. She asked us to select the style of Kaiseki (seafood or beef) we would like before showing us to our private dining quarters - a tatami room with sunken flooring (heated) under the table and a small window overlooking the Japanese garden. We also had our own private waitress who was a uni student. I assume she was assigned to us as she probably spoke the most English out of everyone, and she was simply lovely. She made every effort to answer all our questions about the dishes, was friendly warm and sweet, not to mention that she didn't skimp on the finesse of service because we were foreigners and might not notice - each plate was positioned perfectly, and each dish served artistically, even entering and exiting the room was an elaborate performance!

The dinner was amazing, some things were difficult to eat (octopus brain, abalone, sea urchin) but we always gave them a go, and some things were just delicious. Overall though, regardless what we were eating, each dish was presented as a work of art, each plate, bowl and sauce dish selected to compliment the food being served. Simply marvellous.

Now on to the courses! Enjoy!


Our first course...the octopus brain is bottom left.
Simple presentation
Lovely colour and arrangement - seems a shame to eat it!
I think this was a kind of fish "mousse" in broth

Sashimi - notice the little green bird and pink blossom?
Lobster on ice...

our personal indoor grill
Grilled fish marinated in ginger sauce and scallops

See how the crockery compliments the dish?

Sea Urchin sushi and soy sauce
Tempura vegetables and dipping sauce
Shrimp rice
"Container" for shrimp rice
Shrimp rice with garnish
Shrimp rice and miso soup with lobster

Lobster miso soup - Divine!
Green Tea
Desert - Green tea ice-cream and fruit
Desert - Green tea ice-cream and fruit

Our window onto the Japanese garden

Japanese Garden
Our lovely young waitress

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