Quite sodden after a morning spent exploring parts of Nara park and some beautiful Edo period formal garden, I was chilled I spite of my layers, my jacket was sodden and my feet beginning to numb.
The idea of grilling some meat over coals at the table was a cracking idea for lunch, we found a restaurant with great reviews online. Nestled on a quiet back street, the restaurant is a small warm inviting room, with plenty of exposed tan coloured timber, the exposed plaster on the walls is just finished with a rough texture. Each distressed wood table containing a sunken 50cm x 20cm coal barbecue pit, by the time I had sat and removed my wet layers the realisation that the barbecue wasn’t available at lunchtime had hit home.
We had to stay, it was such a lovely, warm, inviting room with such a great ambience, the care and attention to detail inside extended to the small spaces outside, with small yet decorative gardens dripping with constant rain just outside the windows. A lovely feature was the road side windows, built at ground level to showcase the curb side garden, with the wall built above where a window would otherwise be, obscuring the road from view, but letting in light and showing of the pretty garden.
The lunch offer was small with a very limited menu, basically translated into English, but not really giving much away. Obviously it took little time to order, the green tea already working wonders warming my fingers through the dimpled mug and from the inside before we had made our meal requests. My lunch was called beef hitsumabushi, my partners was just called grilled beef set.
The meal itself was delectable, my beef hitsumabushi, essentially beef on rice was an intricate meal with a collection of subtle flavours and a complex presentation, complimented by some juicy grilled Kobe beef and strong pickles. My partners meal was complex and very pretty, I love the pottery selection in use, the uneven edges and the willingness to mismatch patterns, I wish I was able to explain what each of the components were, but I’m afraid I couldn’t say for certain.
This was a lovely meal indeed, in a fantastic room, one thing that struck me is the willingness to serve food cold, especially when it is the food I would have thought would be best hot, or warm at least.
As I put my now dry clothes back on, I watch the rain continue to strike the tiny roadside garden, I realise I really didn’t want to venture any deeper into Nara park today. I still have another full day in Nara, with fine weather forecast, perhaps the covered shopping area nearby has some merit. The park can wait.