I really wanted to have good Yakitori, I had missed out on the ideal experience in Nara and had been hoping for a better opportunity than the meal I had experiences to present itself. With Kyoto littered with many superb older houses I was happy when an opportunity to eat in a well reviewed Yakitori joint in such a house arose.
I must stress that the meal I ate as delicious and a pleasurable experience, I can’t say I saw enough of the cool old house, maybe I should have taken some more time to see further inside this traditional dwellings. But keeping in mind there are other guests in other rooms, I don’t want to be the rude interrupting guy. Sitting at my table with my feet comfortably tucked into the foot space under the table I could see a small internal garden and a few angles that led deeper into the house, I’m going to choose to be satisfied with that.
The food was excellent, with the menu offered as dining sets, my partner and I chose apposing sets to maximise the chances at trying new items. Although the items on sticks where the same for both of us the dishes that preceded them varied nicely.
Tofu with wasabi and soy. The ice cold tofu and the punchy flavours of the golden light coloured soy and freshly grated wasabi. I’m coming around to tofu, I never thought I would say that, I am learning that it is always married with something heavily over flavoured that will counteract the mind numbing blandness it contains
Vegetable sticks with brown miso dip. I read about a Japanese theory about vegetables stored in ice, that they have an increased crispness and sweetness. These vegetable sticks are served in an ice bath and are indeed incredibly crisp, delightful to dunk into the sharp and salty miso, conditioned with a little Japanese pepper and sesame oil.
Braised minced chicken and golden miso with Japanese pepper, served cold. This and the next dish surprised me by their lack of heat, they are certainly dishes that I expected to have hot. I understand that miso is often served cold to preserve the delicate flavour and this was surprisingly tasty although with a challenging texture due to the very finely minced chicken.
Seasonal chicken dish. I love it when menus just state seasonal dish, to me as a chef this a menu listing like this is chance to play around, to create something, or to use something up. This cold dish consisting of a chicken dumpling, lightly pickled bamboo, a fern frond, some kelp and corresponding broth was an interesting blend of flavours.
Fried chicken wings. These need no explaining, the chicken was not crumbed, battered or protected from the hot oil in any way. The skin served crisp and oil free, just sprinkled liberally with salt and pepper.
The small skewers arrived to us as and when they were ready, to be fair, so did the dishes I describe above. It is fairly safe to assume that I’ll be limiting my chicken intake after a meal like this. The dominant flavour within these skewers came from the grill they were cooked upon.
Chicken breast with plum labiate, a strange description for a breast skewer topped with a plum coulis, I assume something is lost in translation here.
Chicken and leek, the spring onion like pieces blackened and blistered
Chicken Meatball, with a slightly sweet taste
Kyoto style wheat gluten, gooey, chewy and a little bland.
Chicken hearts, I love these, I ate these so quickly I forgot to photograph them
Small sweet green peppers topped with layers of bonito, a welcome respite from the chicken onslaught.
The meal then finished with pickles, rice and miso. We chose not to have dessert, there was no way.