When it comes to food in Kyoto, one thing that you cannot go wrong with is head for something a little more traditional – the reason is that Kyoto is a city that has stuck to its roots and thrived in giving both domestic and international travelers a test of what original Japan had to offer. So after our trip to Himeji, we decide to go have a traditional tofu meal at Kiyamachi Restaurant.
The restaurant itself is located down a small alley (like all great Kyoto restaurants) – you can find the restaurant when you see the little stone temple.
When we arrived, we didn’t have a booking but the lady manager was so kind as to discuss in depth with the chef and the owner; finally managed to find us a prime spot in front of the chef! Thank you! Good after sitting, we were presented with the menu.
To many people, tofu degustation may not sound appealing, but tofu is actually one of the most dynamic ingredients you can find given that under different treatments, you can create various textures whilst having an amazing ability to absorb the flavours that it’s cooked in.
The appetizer was a set of various tofu dishes, each with their variation in flavours, in terms of my favourite, I loved the butterfly shaped one which was an egg and tofu mixture – which gave it a nice firm texture.
Next thing that came was a surprise to us because the staff came with power cords and a large wooden bowl. Good thing Shibi was checking what was going on.
It turns out, the bowl was similar to a bowl of rice that you might get elsewhere – the tofu was cooked in a very light broth and the chef and staff made sure we knew we can get unlimited tofu as long as we asked!
What you do is spoon out a piece of tofu and add a dash of Japanese soya, the tofu’s quality was one of the best I’ve tasted in a long time and had a depth that you won’t find in ordinary tofu.
As with most degustation meals in Japan, you’d normally get a light dish of sashimi – which in this case was excellent in its quality – especially the squid which was incredibly sweet and fresh!
Given it was Sakura season, one of the dishes was a Sakura infused tofu in a light broth – Sakura is an odd flavor in that when you eat it, you just know it’s how Sakura would taste – but it’s never a strong flavor. The tofu itself had a much more elastic feel to it – kind of like the skin of a mochi.
No meals complete in Japan without a dish of rice, and this meal was no different, what I love most about the Japan is the fact that while they have rice, it’s not with curry or something oily – instead, Kiyamachi served it with some excellent pickled daikon and whitebaits – pure heaven.
Last thing to top of the night was a tofu flavoured ice cream – perfect light end to the evening.
We left very happy – especially when I managed to get a nice photo.