IYEMON SALON CAFE LOUNGE 伊右衛門サロン – Polished dinner menu

IYEMON SALON CAFE LOUNGE 伊右衛門サロン

80 Ogura-cho, Karasuma Nishiiru, Sanjo-dori, Nakagyo-ku | Chiso Bdg 1F, Kyoto 604-8166,Kyoto Prefecture, Near Karasumaoike station

6 months ago, during the transition into the blazing summer season, Iyemon Salon Cafe was visited for its super delectable lunch sets that are priced at an almost unimaginable affordable rate. And this autumn, we have decided to revisit it for dinner which definitely has raised the bar on our expectations for cafe food back in our own home.

DSC_0821Green Tea Miso Tofu – I reckon green tea could be used as an ingredient in almost any course, savoury or sweet, when you are in matcha fanatic Kyoto. Perfect tofu with the silkiest texture one could have imagined, the more savoury, sweeter miso has been cleverly utilised to gel the matcha bitterness together with it. ¥460

DSC_0823Red Sea Bream Carpaccio – So fresh this sea bream is, that is immaculately tossed with salt sauce, while its overall taste lifted naturally by a light citrusy drizzle Continue reading

Lipton TeaHouse リプトンティハウス店 – So hearty!

Lipton TeaHouse リプトンティハウス店

Shijo Teramachi-dori, Kado, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture near Kawaramachi station

If not for the fabulous experiences at the Japanese cafes (Hoshino Coffee, Watanabe Coffee, Muji Cafe etc) opened recently in Singapore, I could have regrettably skipped this genre of ‘Japanese cuisine’ during this trip to the Kansai region. Not strictly Italian fare, the cafes here however, have cleverly turned it into a successful tantalising Italian-Japanese hybrid. And Lipton TeaHouse, though was a random cafe we chanced upon that rainy night, left us with an extremely satisfied tummy thereafter. Not stingy in serving, yet presented with perfected techniques and creativity, this is definitely a place highly recommended.

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DSC_0881Western Style bento. It was almost impossible to resist such an oxymoronic item on the menu. As without a hint of Western plating, the chef has undertaken the 5-colour rule to turn it into a beautiful Japanese bento. Served in the bento: A plump breaded salmon, creamy stuffed croquette, juicy beef hamburg steak complemented with the impeccably poached egg with Japanese rice at the side topped with the lightly sweet chestnuts (once again, the evident subtleties in Japanese cooking), al dante flavourful speghetti with saute shrooms. The most expensive set on the menu at ¥1800 but with so many going on, this could be the heartiest of all too!

DSC_0878DSC_0876Seasonal Vegetables, Shrimps and avocado salad. A huge bowl of crunchy greens, with huge cuts of creamy avocado, lashed with a refreshing sauce, completed with a net of flaky cheese above, this was a simple but impressive huge bowl! ¥980

DSC_0886Roasted Tottori-grown pork chop with demiglace sauce. Lip smacking slab of pork here, made even heavier tasting with the thick demiglace sauce. ¥1280

DSC_0891Kyoto wazuka matcha and black soy bean waffle. With a slew of waffles available, the battle was really down to trying newer, bolder flavours such as the special mont blanc, or sticking to the largely favourite Matcha one that could hardly be found back home (Or even if there is, isn’t impressive at all). And the Matcha prevailed. Crispy outer layer while the fluffy sponge within is heavily stained with the green Matcha. Fabulous taste on its own that is beautifully completed with the decadent Matcha ice cream! ¥980

DSC_0892And we ended the perfect meal with a moist chestnut sponge cake.

And as you might have guessed already, this is indeed a very worthy meal as the bill didn’t pass S$35 per pax. What a steal!

Verdict: An excellent cafe

Jiki Miyazawa 食宮ざわ – The all sesame tofu that gave it its fame

Jiki Miyazawa 食宮ざわ (1 star)

553-1 Yaoha-cho, Sakaishijo Agaru Higashigawa,Kyoto 604-8123, Kyoto Prefecture

Near Gion Shijo station

DSC_0830Bridges, you would soon realise, is an integral form of architecture in the kansai region as they give these cities their unique character and charisma. While those in the more modernised Osaka exuberate a grander, sky-scraper laced skyline, those in Kyoto consolidate its rustic charm. Now we may seem to be slightly out of point here, but the gorgeous view you would get en route to Jiki Miyazawa 食宮ざわ じき宮ざわ from Gion Shijo subway is definitely unignorable.

DSC_0831DSC_0835Having searched for quite a few Japanese michelin restaurants previously, we have grown wiser to keep a lookout for the less conspicuous and quieter side road. And there we were, got past the curtain, ushered promptly to our comfortable counter seats, and got a Lager Kirin beer while waiting for the ¥3500 set lunch.

DSC_0833Starter – Plump and refreshing crab meat forming the base, topped with the lighter radish and salmon roe

DSC_0836Clear soup – Perfumed throughout with the shimeji mushroom fragrance, while its refreshingness is further lifted by the citrusy yuzu zest; all with the purpose of bringing out the natural sweetness of the scallop encased tofu.

DSC_0838These Spanish mackerel sashimi were lightly steamed at the side yet still maintaining its tenderness, while the rawness is preserved within, thereby increasing the complexity of its overall texture.

DSC_0841Showcasing its culinary acumen, the Sesame tofu, topped with a blob of savoury sesame sauce and lashed with sesame sprinkles on top is definitely the star of Jiki Miyazawa. Lightly sweet, savoury, fragrant, the nuances in the sesame flavours have been brought out by the different textured ingredients. With so many elements in just a seemingly simple course, this is definitely not straightforward but has been prepared with much finesse. Notably, the tofu has a thicker and bouncier consistency yet still maintaining its silkiness, this is the first kind that I ever have had.

DSC_0849Rice course: Together with the peppercorn sardine, it was a good finish to the meal. Do not be shy to ask for more if you need more carbo as they will gladly scoop more for you!

DSC_0854Considered as the fruit in Autumn or winter, the fuyugaki (literally winter persimmon), with a meltingly soft flesh, tasted very sweet and juicy. All ended by the sweet hojicha macaroon counterbalanced by the ultra bitter quality matcha.

DSC_0840While I wouldn’t say that this lunch is mindblowing as most of the tastes, we were already familiar with. However, at just ¥3500, that includes the brilliant sesame tofu, I say it is worth a visit.

Verdict: A good restaurant.

 

 

Arashiyama 嵐山 -What to eat in this big tourist attraction during the busy Autumn season?!

Arashiyama 嵐山

亀山家 Restaurant 

Sagakamenoocho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 616-8386, Japan

Near Saga-Arashiyama JR station or Arashiyama Station

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Some maple leaves at the Tenryuji temple

Giving way to winter already, Autumn has but just reached its peak only recently in Kyoto last week. With the lively colours of golden yellow and fiery red bursting in the many different parts of Kyoto, this former capital of Japan never fails to turn into a tourist hotspot every Autumn season. Lucky to be there last week and one of the spots that should never be missed is the ancient-looking Arashiyama region that is littered with tranquil peaceful temples, the famous serene bamboo forest and small but beautiful mountains that form the perfect backdrop in every season. You could check out the important places in the Arashiyama region here.

Having been here 6 months ago in the summer, the number of tourists streaming into Arashiyama, or perhaps the whole of Kyoto has definitely skyrocketed during the Autumn season. From relatively emptier streets to hordes and hordes of people everywhere this season, lunch would be a headache for most as every restaurant along the main street sees a super long queue that may potentially turn a simple lunch into a high tea.

DSC_0794DSC_0795We kept walking, taking in the sights fully while trying to get into a less crowded restaurant for lunch. And luck was with us as we only waited for a short 30min to get into 亀山家 Restaurant; from which you could have an unhindered view of Arashiyama moutain while filling up the growling tummies. Not expecting much, thinking that this would just be some normal tourist restaurant that serves the normal Japanese fare, I reckon this was a splendid lunch and definitely a small family restaurant that has put in loads of sincerity and effort in their cooking to complement the magnificent view ahead.

DSC_0799Starting with this piping hot Oden, the generous variety of traditional ingredients present has whetted our appetites greatly, from the juicy daikon, savoury Yaki Chikuwa (Fish paste cake), spongy Mochiiri Kinchaku (purses), to the springy Konnyaku (savory jelly), they were all bursting with the dashi broth flavours. So well marinated and no short cuts taken, the oden calmed the stomachs. About ‎‎¥600.

DSC_0803Nishin teishoku – The herring set meal was another spot on set, with the meaty herring taking centrestage. Bones removed, substantial springy meat served that is completed by the lightly sweet shoyu marination, this was a worthy set for about ‎¥1000.

DSC_0804Oyakodon set – A semi runny omelette sweetened up by the sliced onions and tender chicken, I could never have imagined but peppercorn powder has been  cleverly added that beautifully cuts through the umami fragrance. Definitely an impeccable bowl! ‎About ¥800.

DSC_0805While for dessert, the hand made cream puff and Matcha cake were both on point. So refreshing it is as chilled, milky vanilla cream is stuffed within the flaky crust!

While this humble family restaurant may not be as conspicuous as the rest, it is definitely a gem hidden at the end of the road. And what’s more, the wait isn’t as unbearable as the rest.

DSC_0786DSC_0817DSC_0811And what lies ahead of Restaurant 亀山家, at the top, live these cute rotund, fluffy wild monkeys which you could come in close contact to. Loving the one that is perched on the pole with its fat butt facing the camera.

And while trekking in this region may seem tiresome, some commonly sold sweets could keep your day going. This semi-mashed red bean mochi were baked lightly to give a light crust.

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And this was the beloved picture captured in the Arashiyama region of the day!

Verdict of 亀山家 Restaurant: An excellent restaurant.

梨吉 Rikichi – The story of the chef who previously rejected the Michelin star

梨吉 Rikichi

95 Sueyoshicho, Gion, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto

DSC_0705 DSC_0708Who would in the right mind choose to reject the highly coveted Michelin star?! Not any chef in this world I suppose, but such a strange scenario is however not uncommon in the land of Michelin restaurants – Japan. We may get the jitters when we first step into a Michelin Japanese restaurant, with a slightly haughty-looking chef behind the counter who only expects respect from his customers for his lofty culinary skills. I didn’t expect anything less than such a demanding attitude, especially so when I have chosen to visit Rikichi 梨吉 that previously rejected the star. This might sound a little nerve wracking but the curiosity behind the chef’s story beckons!

DSC_0709 DSC_0710And upon stepping into the one-man restaurant, who is both the chef and waiter, I felt absolutely relaxed, totally unlike what I have expected. Very casual counter bar restaurant with typically just a few seats, the old chef who has helmed this restaurant for 29 long years, coming to 30, is perhaps the friendliest one that I’ve ever met. Just like a grandfather cooking for his grandson, apart from the fact that I have to pay 8000 yen there after. After being seated comfortably on the wooden chair with a simple cushion over it, down-to-earth appetisers were first served. Showcasing the subtleties of the appetisers, the crunchy hanaguri clam has all it takes to whet the appetite.

DSC_0711Japan has been highly revered of its naturally sweet underground roots without additional flavouring from condiments at all. Perfectly embodied by the two fat moist pieces of satoimo or Kyoto yam, the sweetness has been perfectly locked by the sequential steaming and frying process with much precision.

DSC_0712One of the most favourite dishes that night – Yuzu Nasu dengaku. The miso rendition has always been the one being served at restaurants; yuzu – that must be a first for me and most. Really creamy slab of tangy yuzu puree spread over the comforting tender aubergine, that was a perfect combination as its sourness manages to reconcile beautifully with the savouriness of this dishContinue reading