Saturday, June 25, 2016

Japan: Tousuiro Kiyamachi, KYOTO

While Tokyo is known for modern takes in the food scene thanks to international influences, Kyoto is known for its traditional cuisines. There are various restaurants in Gion boasting this type of cuisine and if you are a tofu lover like me, you would want to try out Tousuiro Kiyamachi, a popular restaurant whereby its menu revolves around organic, homemade tofu.

Reservations is ideal to avoid disappointment and if you are short of time like me, best to rock up early to nab a table. The staff are very approachable and attentive - be sure to remove your shoes upon entry.

An 8 course meal costs around aud$50 which isn't too bad considering you get really good quality meals.

Appetizers ~ the Japanese pay a lot of attention to detail when it comes to meal preparations and each plate was well presented despite using simple ingredients.

How did I find their tofu? First up, you will be provided with a water bath to warm your tofu in and this bath device also comes with a sauce jug that extends into the water bath (keeps it warm too!). After 2-3 minutes of simmering your tofu in the water, scoop out your desired amount of tofu, drizzle the sauce over it and top it with freshly minced ginger and thin slices of spring onion.

The waitress kept an eye on our water bath and once we have finished one round of tofu, she kindly came around to offer us another round of it - you don't see this everyday and boy, was I delighted!

Freshly sliced sashmi with tofu skin ~ loved how even the byproducts of the tofu production is not wasted and transformed into a delicious ingredient. The tofu skin was very refreshing and has a gentle, soothing taste on the palate - no pungent tasting items served here :p

Tofu skewers with sauce ~ at this point, I was beyond amazed at how many dishes can be made with tofu and this one was the icing on the cake. Never would have thought of tofu this way and when served with a sweet, sticky sauce, you might never turn back to meat again.

Chawanmushi aka steamed egg custard ~ simplicity at it's best I daresay. Love the silky smooth custard consistency that has a mild fragrance of miso lingering in it. Slightly warm to touch but oh so satisfying.

This time round, we received the solid version of tofu that has vegetables embedded in it. So yummy.

Tempura vegetables ~ now comes the "naughty" part of our meal but really, the oil used to fry them is clean/ not recycled and each piece is not greasy to taste.

 Rice is usually served to finish off the meal (before desserts that is). This is the restaurant's take on ochazuke but rather than using green tea as the broth, I believe it was a soy bean based broth. Rice still held its shape well whilst I snapped away and those little anchovies are so immaculately prepared and aligned in the bowl. Well done.

 Pickles are always served to cleanse your palate after the entire meal.

We ended our meals with a scope of ice cream, the perfect way to freshen us up and cap off the entire experience. Would I recommend this place? Yes because 1) its prepared with minimal oil 2) each meal is thoroughly thought of and that shows in the presentation and 3) excellent showcasing of each individual ingredient. 

There are two restaurants available and for further details, check out their website here 

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