I assume these Gyoza will set the benchmark to beat for the rest of my life. I love dumplings and I fear this rather superb meal will ruin every Gyoza I eat after this. They were worth waiting outside for in the light drizzle with inadequate cover and a poxy umbrella to hold.
The seating inside is limited and the small kitchen prepares the fresh food on the very limited menu to order. There are English language menus, this being Kyoto I almost expect there would be, I like the unapologetic apology in bold across the top of the menu, simply stating “sorry we are unable to specifically for vegetarians”
Ordering was simple indeed, one of everything, whiskey rock and umeshu rock. The food got passed unceremoniously over the counter as and when it was ready, a short “hey” to get my attention.
Cucumber pickle was the first to come over the top. The fresh cucumber, lightly pickled, still crisp and crunchy, with toasted sesame seeds, sesame oil and salt was really good, a great palate cleanser, I wonder if the cucumbers had been kept in ice they were so crisp.
I had not expected the blanched bean sprouts, with cooked minced pork and miso topping to be served cold. I drizzled the dish with rice vinegar just before eating, as requested by the chef, the vinegar helping to make the whole thing tastier, without destroying the delicate texture of the bean sprouts.
The pork and ginger Gyoza came with a miso and soy dip, the crisp bottom of the almost translucent gyoza pastry has a delightful crust, it is from the flour dusted onto the pan while the gyoza cook begin to cook. The flour frys and crisps once the gyoza have finished steaming. I made sure to watch this process, they made it look easy, I hope it is.
The pork and leek gyoza where great with soy and chilli infused sesame oil, they too came with the delicate flour crust, I preferred the ginger gyoza to be honest.
They Onigiri here were amazing, the rice soft and light with a little spring in the bite. I only had one of the four flavours, the salted salmon, the filling was strongly flavoured and delicious. This is the first Onigiri I have not brought from a convenience store, strangely I missed the crunch of the nori that these convenience foods deliver.