Isetan Level 10, right above Kyoto 京都 JR main station
Deviating from their usual elusive style, Wakuden 和久傳 may be perhaps the most accessible Japanese Michelin restaurant in the whole of Japan, conveniently located on the 10th floor of Isetan departmental store above Kyoto station! I would expect that their ‘no mobile phone’ signage to pose as a nightmare to all food photographers but after witnessing everyone (including the Japanese) else busy snapping shots of their food away, I took out my DSLR with great relief. As cheap as ¥2700, Wakuden 和久傳 does indeed serve one of the cheapest Kaiseki Lunch meals for a Michelin restaurant, but only limited to the first few daily. But even if you were to miss the queue by a little, fret not as I could confidently assure you that the other affordable lunch sets would also be spot on. Not wanting to spend too much, I’ve gotten the ¥4000 lunch set.
Cold smoked bonito and broad beans. Fresh chunky bonito pieces were served with chopped mint leaves as appetiser to whet the appetite.
And the lovely waitress would come over to pour a complimentary shot of sake into the neatly carved bamboo ‘shot glass’. Smelling really strong and tasting slightly sweet, I concluded that this must be a higher grade sake that doesn’t just reek of alcohol functional groups. The second cold dish was the vinegared wild greens that tasted fibrous and has a slight sticky consistency; well pickled to a comfortable sour tang.
This sizzling hotplate was one of the stars for this afternoon lunch. The prickly ash added to it, while is a little numbing to the tongue, actually cuts beautifully through the intensely flavoured pieces of pork. Definitely not prepared simply by just simmering, these pork pieces, armed with razor thin layers of intercalating fats seemed to be roasted first before the marinating fragrance penetrates into the meat.