Fuyacho Uneno – The refined dashi of a Kyoto veteran in an inconspicuous hideout
Fuyacho Uneno is an oden restaurant located to the south of Kyoto’s Imperial Palace. However, being tucked away in a multi-tenant building means you would seldom be able to find it unless you already knew where it was.
Fuyacho Uneno is the official oden restaurant of long-standing Kyoto dashi producer Odashi Uneno. As would be expected from an oden restaurant owned by a commercial producer of dashi, the soup stock at Uneno is simply on another level.
Not only that, the dashi that the ingredients of the oden are stewed in is different from that which is poured over each dish. Apparently, this is a planned move to allow customers to enjoy the unadulterated flavors of the dashi.
The two serving oden at Uneno are Mr. Yamamoto, who sports a trademark tie, and Fukuda, who dons a snazzy bow tie. Original Italian chefs, remnants of the western influence on the two can be seen throughout the restaurant.
While maintaining a respect for Japanese traditions, Uneno infuses aspects of western cooking into their dishes in a calculated way to further bring out the delicate flavors of the dashi. This is most apparent in dishes such as the ham topped noodles and those using mozzarella cheese.
As the entrance is quite confusing, you might feel a little nervous and not know if you’re allowed in. But don’t worry, you are. After opening the white door, the tie donning, friendly duo will kindly welcome you in.
If you’re not too familiar with oden, then ask for omakase and leave it to Yamamoto and Fukuda. We have no doubt that after this experience, you’ll fall in love with Kyoto’s oden.
Hirosu (deep-fried tofu mixed with thinly sliced vegetables)
/ ¥600 (inc. tax)
Hirosu is a dish made of various vegetables rolled together in a ball of tofu. Entirely handmade, the hirosu at Fuyacho Uneno contains carrots, hijiki and shiitake mushrooms in addition to seasonal vegetables. The sweetness of the soybeans and the umami of the greens work to bring out the delicate flavors of the dashi stock that the hirosu has soaked up. The side of wholegrain mustard-like Fukui Prefecture Japanese karashi mustard packs more of a kick than meets the eye, so we recommend taking only small dabs of it at a time.
Dashimaki Tamago (rolled Japanese omelet)
/ ¥800 (inc. tax)
While dashimaki tamago may look like an ordinary omelet, it actually contains a hardy amount of dashi stock inside the egg mixture and is gradually rolled and layered as it cooks. The eggs used are locally sourced from a chicken farm down in Kyoto’s Joyo City. The eggs feature-rich, creamy yolks, which are ultimately betrayed in the surprising twist that is their incredibly light and airy texture.
This Japanese classic truly gives you the best of both worlds with its delicate dashi aroma and voguish airy eggs.
/ ¥700 (inc. tax)
One of the most popular ingredients in oden, beef tendons are pieces of meat taken from the Achilles tendon of the cow. The tender stewed tendon is packed with the flavors of the oden broth and has a wonderfully melt-in-the-mouth texture. Sourced from major Kyoto butchery Nakasei, the beef tendon that Uneno uses lacks any semblance of gaminess and goes down like a treat.
Additionally, as the beef is stewed is a stronger dashi stock, it also goes well as a snack to enjoy alongside a glass of sake.
Shime no Men (post-meal noodles)
/ ¥600 (inc. tax)
In Japan, after enjoying a warm hotpot, it’s common to finish the meal with either rice or noodles. These post-meal noodles use Chinese-style noodles, which are particularly good at soaking up the dashi. For toppings, the noodles feature a handful of Kyoto scallions and shaved Italian ham. While simple in essence, the pairing of these ingredients creates a refined fusion of Japanese and Western flavors.
After finishing up your oden, order yourself some noodles headlined by the beautiful flavors of dashi and finish your meal like local.
Definitely don’t pass up the chance to give it a try for yourself!