Kaiseki is labelled as a must-try culinary experience on various websites while I was researching for our trip to Kyoto.
Kaiseki is not omakase. So what is kaiseki? It is a Japanese multi-course haute cuisine. The courses in kaiseki are dependent on the seasonal produce, meticulously curated and plated. There are some standard courses in the kaiseki often in a prescribed order that the chef decides.
Omakase, on the other hand, translated literally, means 'I'll leave it up to you'. In this case, customers trust the chef to take them on a culinary journey with surprises. The chef will make adjustment on the courses according to the diner's palate.
That was a brief summary of what I found out about kaiseki. Of course, the best way to find out more is to try it!
Kikunoi Roan is a two Michelin star restaurant in Kyoto serving kaiseki founded by owner-chef Yoshiharu Murata.
(excluding 8% taxes and 10% service charges)
There are many restaurants and ryokans serving kaiseki in Kyoto. I chose Kikunoi Roan simply because of the good reviews and the affordable lunch option. We ended up with dinner because lunch was fully booked. Morale of the story: Reservation is strongly advisable! Do note that the restaurant don't take online reservation so ask your hotel concierge for help.
Aperitif and Amuse
Sake with a fragrance of iris leaf
Aperitif and Amuse
Chinese yam Jelly, Shiso flower, light soy sauce gel with Wasabi
Marinated Aburame (greenling fish) in rice vinegar, Wrapped sea eel in Kanpyo (dried gourd shavings), Edamame, salted Tai (red sea bream fish) roe cake, Japanese taro, Chimake-Sushi, ginger
Tai (red sea bream fish), Shimaazi (yellow jack), Udo and carrot, Wasabi
Bonito fish with Ponzu gel
Guiji (tilefish), thin omelet, Cha-soba (Japanese green tea noodles), Tsuyu-soup (dried bonito fish stock, light soy sauce, Mirin) with fresh green tea
Ayu fish, Tade-zu (water pepper vinegar)
Wasabi and orange sorbet
Dressed with Tofu and Tai milt, broad bean, shellfish, Fuki, Myouga
Rice with grilled Tai, cabbage soup, Japanese pickles
Champagne sorbet, pineapple, aloe
Strawberry, strawberry sauce, milk ice cream
The full meal took about 2.5 hours and I was already full by the fifth or sixth course. The dinner also unlocked our 'most expensive meal' badge. Nonetheless, a very worthwhile experience.
Information you might be interested in:
118 Saito-cho, Shijo-sagaru, Kiyamachi-dori, Shimogyo-ku,
Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 600-8012
Michelin Guide: http://gm.gnavi.co.jp/shop/0220170780/