No.42

Kikunoi

Kyoto, Japan

On the pass:

Yoshihiro Murata

Pastry chef:

Style of food:

Kyo (Kyoto-style) kaiseki

Standout dish:

Yakimono Pompano grilled nanban style

Contact:

459 Shimokawara-cho, Yasakatoriimae-sagaru, Shimokawara-dori, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 605-0825

+81 75 561 0015
http://kikunoi.jp/

Kyoto kaiseki master moves with the seasons

Why go? One of Japan's most famous chefs, Yoshihiro Murata holds seven Michelin stars, three of which belong to his traditional 'ryotei' restaurant in the hills overlooking Kyoto. It is regarded as one of the best restaurants in the world for kaiseki, a style of Japanese cuisine involving a series of small, intricate dishes.

What's on the menu: The ultra-seasonal multi-course menu never stands still, but expect a procession of refined Japanese dishes that are faithful to the ancient ceremony and meaning of kaiseki, but are not constrained by tradition. Soup, grilled fish, sushi, sashimi and shabu-shabu (where diners cook ingredients in stock on a small stove at the table) are all likely to feature. A single pickled plum (umeboshi) with sea bream milt (shirako) is one of his most famous dishes.

About the chef: Third-generation chef Murata is seen as something of a maverick for travelling to France in his youth to learn classical techniques, before returning to the family business in 1976. He says his life's work is “accurately communicating Japanese cuisine to the world”.

What's the vibe? Inside Kikunoi the feel is peaceful and respectful. Guests remove their shoes when they arrive and are shown to one of 11 private rooms to be served by waitresses in traditional dress.

Other ventures: Murata has two other restaurants in Japan and is in opening a restaurant in London, called Tokimeitē. He also makes a range of branded food products for department stores.

Images of Kikunoi Akasaka: Nobu Imada

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