Mar. 11, 2023 UPDATE

Muromachi Wakuden Edition: Cub reporter Yumemi goes to the delicious kaiseki restaurants of Kyoto!

This time I went to Muromachi Wakuden!
Yumemi[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]

This is the fifth and last part of my learning kaiseki and recommending it to my readers series! 

Last time: (Godan Miyazawa Edition)

This time I went to Muromachi Wakuden! This restaurant is run by the same company as the restaurant I went to in the first edition, Kyoto Wakuden. The prices here are a bit higher than at Kyoto Wakuden, but it’s not that luxurious that I would hesitate to dine here. 

Muromachi Wakuden is a 5-min. walk from both Kyoto Subway Karasuma Line Karasumaoike Station and Tozai Line Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae Station. 

The atmospheric machiya-style façade of the restaurant is very nice. I got excited because I was about to enter a Kyoto-like building par excellence. 

Inside the same building, there is also the shop Omotase Sakaimachi where you can buy sweets among other things. If you need to buy souvenirs, it may be a good idea to go early and take a look at the shop beforehand. 

Now, to the kaiseki restaurant: it has one Michelin star. This time we didn’t sit by the main counter, but the ceiling was high and the restaurant was spacious by our counter seats. If you sit here, I recommend looking up (but beware of looking up too much and hurting your neck!). 

This time we had the 15,000 yen course which contained 10 dishes! Like always, I’m going to tell you about the three dishes I felt were especially memorable. 

Most mind-blowing dishes: top 3!egg tofuFirst, the first dish we got was “egg tofu!”

The egg tofu was made to look like the Moon, as it was surrounded by slightly thickened dashi stock. I was moved by how the contour of the Moon was blurred by the dashi stock; it made it look just like the real Moon! 

As there was a strand of silver grass on top of the bowl, I could almost see a scene of a silver grass field being dimly lit by moonlight in my imagination. 

From the first dish, the food here took my mind to the elegant Japanese autumn scenery, it made me expect even more from the next dish! (First impressions are important, both with people and food! lol) 

sashimi Next, I want to tell you about the sashimi assortment. 

The assortment contained: kelp marinated sea bream sashimi, uni (sea urchin), “bofu,” a plant of the Apiaceae family, umbilicaria esculenta, which they told us was a mushroom, but which is actually lichen! They cut the kelp marinated sea bream right in front of our eyes and garnished the dish with uni. Because the sea bream was kelp marinated, it was firm, chewy, and delicious. 

The special, refreshing taste of bofu and the crunchiness of umbilicaria esculenta were a nice change of pace after the rich and creamy uni. 

I was wondering how they would explain these ingredients in English to their guests coming from overseas (especially umbilicaria esculenta) but they did it by showing the guests the ingredients before cooking and telling them about them. I thought it was wonderful how they served those guests. 

takiawase matsutakeThe last one is a takiawase (a dish where the ingredients are cooked separately but served together) of amadai (branchiostegus) and matsutake. At first, the dish is served with a leaf covering it, but as you take the leaf off and get to see the matsutake mushrooms, a puff of fragrant matsutake-smell hits your nostrils! This is really great.  

It’s not only used to seal in the fragrant smells but as you take the leaf off and get to see the mushrooms, you’re mimicking what you would have to do in nature to find the mushrooms. It’s really interesting how there are so many ways in which one dish can make you feel the current season. 

≪This is what’s great about kaiseki cuisine! ≫

The chefs tell you a lot during the dining experience, so you learn a lot about the cuisine

This time we sat by the counter, so the chef told us about the ingredients as he worked his magic. When you know more, you find new things and feel that the food is even more delicious. For visitors from overseas, the chefs made it easy for them to understand b by showing them the ingredients on a plate and explaining what they are using English with slow and carefully pronounced words. 

You can imagine natural scenes from the beautiful dishes

This time I had “egg tofu that looks like the Moon” and “matsutake that appears from below a leaf,” dishes that made me think of the nature around me. You can see the natural scenery surrounding your life in the dishes, so each one of them is surprising and moving, and I could really enjoy that as well as my dinner. 

My dear readers, if you go have kaiseki, it may be a good idea to use your imagination and think about what the dishes you’re eating represent. 

Thank you for reading my blog to the end! 

I haven’t yet decided where to go next, but when I do, I’ll be sure to tell you, my dear readers!

A comment from the staff
I have had the honor to dine at many kaiseki restaurants, and each one of them has something special about them. If ever asked, I hope I will be able to answer questions like “What kaiseki restaurant would you recommend?” and recommend a nice restaurant based on the budget and taste of the one asking.

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