Final Kyoto Report - Ippodo, Owariya Soba and Mitsuyasu
Finally got my last photos uploaded, so I thought I'd post one last installment.
Ippodo: Tea shop with tea room off to the side. Patrons seemed to be mostly ladies who lunch and businessmen on a lunch break. Teas were served with a lovely, fresh wagashi. If you order matcha, they will show you how make it. I had matcha and my husband had a very strong, almost smoky-tasting tea that we enjoyed.
Owariya: The soba itself was very good, although we prefer a heartier, more whole grain soba noodle. Tempura that came with it wasn't great. We went to the original location, which was a tourist trap. Soba was good but would recommend going somewhere else, since there are so many excellent soba joints.
Mitsuyasu: This very small, lovely, traditional restaurant appears to be the first floor of the chef's house. It has two tatami rooms and only accomodates two sets of guests per night, although the space is very comfortable for those two tables. The chef was very sweet but shy. The food is traditional and pure, soulful cooking. It is distinguished by the most exceptional quality fruits and vegetables, and perfect execution in preparing the ingredients. Some of the dishes we ate:
Fig with sesame sauce
Cold shrimp, okra and tomato with (yuzu?) jelly
Mackerel - very crispy skin, totally raw melty fish on other side. Most extraordinary quality mackerel. Served with a ponzu sauce/jelly.
Ayu in light broth
Cooked vegetables. Corn cut off the cob in hunk and just kissed by charcoal. Ginko. Potato that was so perfectly flash fried - Super-thin crispy exterior, no grease. Perfect grilled mushroom. I can still taste these vegetables.
Miso soup with a buckwheat dumpling.
Egg yolk. Marinated for three years in sake and mirin. (Wish I had a picture of this!) Sweet, creamy and indescribably delicious.
Rice with eel and matsutake.
Red bean soup with chestnut. We were amazed by how much we loved this. It was lighter than other places we've had it, and had a much complex flavor. Reminded us a little of really good southern baked beans? Chestnut was perfectly grilled.
Grapes. Wow. These went a long way to explaining those $80 grapes you see at the depachika. Unbelievably floral, flavorful grapes. The best fruit I've ever eaten.
I though this was the most perfect meal. My husband wasn't as wowed by it, he likes bolder food, but he loved the vegetables and fruit and agreed these were some of the best ingredients we ever tasted. I really admired this chef's approach.
ETA that they served us two different, excellent sakes in beautiful vessels. Both were on the light and fruity side, perfect for a summer night.
Photos from Mitusyasu: