Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Japan: Kyoto Kaiseki Yakiniku (BBQ) Hiro, KYOTO

Let's be frank and raise our hands if one of your motifs for visiting Japan is to suss out real wagyu aka the beef that had lived a sensational life drinking sake, listening to soothing music and getting daily massages.

The other question is where does one go to try this beef without having to blow off too much of your food budget? Yes, both of us did ponder about this as well and fortunately, managed to find a place that suits our budget.

Hiro Kaiseki Yakiniku is located in Gion and whilst reservations may be necessary for larger groups, the sister and I managed to secure a table as it was not too busy when we visited.

As with most kaiseki restaurants, ordering the set menu is a great way to sample most things on the menu and it can be cost efficient too. Our 9 course meal came to around $aud90 per person which is quite similar to what we get here in Australia.

Appetizers - always light tidbits to freshen up your palate.

Cured beef with a miso dressing - another cold appetizer to whet our palates.

After the appetizers and pickles, we were served our first taste of raw wagyu meat. Well, not really - we had to grill it over the hot plate. Our waitress advised us that the best way to consume it would be well done, which came as a surprise because well done is often linked to overcooking the meat. Why would you want to risk ruining a good piece of wagyu?

True enough, after we tried cooking it well-done, it highlighted the waygu taste a lot more than expected. The meat was still juicy, flavourful and smooth. Wagyu must be an expection to this rare/medium/well-done theory.

Our first few pieces of waygu already had a dressing on them and so, our second plate of wagyu meat came with dipping sauces. We could opt for whatever sauce suited us - no judgments at the table.

After a few rounds of wagyu, the course's pace was slowed down with a bowl of rice topped with condiments and a pot of tea for drizzling over it. Our first taste of ochazuka which is rice served with tea.

For variety, we each chose a different carbohydrate option. I had a bowl of cold noodles that came with pickles. Very refreshing.

Dessert was steamed custard lightly dusted with matcha powder and hot tea. I am usually a big fan of rich desserts but found the lighter types of Japanese desserts equally satisfying, especially after a hearty meal.

For more details on Hiro's restaurant, visit here

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