Chihana Restaurant Kyoto
We informed our hotel to book this restaurant for us. Apparently they only accept reservation from hotel concierge. We took a taxi from our hotel it cost us around ¥1000-1100, Mr. Driver stopped next to the street and walked us to it’s entrance. What a gentleman driver! I didn’t expect the restaurant to be hidden at this alley near Gion street.
We were greeted with smile from the hostess, she showed us where to sit. We were seated at the Sushi Bar Counter which has only 8 chairs, they do have 2 private rooms. We both like sitting at the counter bar so that we can observe what the chefs are doing at the same time talk about the dishes they’re preparing for us. That night we were accompanied by 2 other guests seated far end, both are nice girls on holiday. I forgot to ask where they’re from, maybe from Australia. The whole night only 4 guests. Chihana means Southern Flower.
Everywhere in Japan, the restaurant will provide you with hot towel to wipe your hand, I do like that. The setting simple, straightforward but keep the traditional Japanese theme in it. We ordered Sakae, light smell with slightly strong taste. I didnt ask what the Sakae name was cause I know I won’t be searching for it in Malaysia.
1st course hot appetizer prawn fritter with sweet & sour fruits, it has kiwi,Japanese beans and that red in color fruit if i’m not mistaken was watermelon or papaya.
Here come the sweet fish, cold dish served and you can actually eat all the fish. yes we finished the whole fish. Tasted sweet yet delicious with compliment of the fish sauce.
3rd dish is the fresh octopus tentacles. The sauce with asparagus and radish make this octopus tasted different and interesting.
4th dish, Ivory shell cooked with Japanese cake in special broth. I am not a fan of shell or escargots. For shell category, I like scallop, osyster and see-ham (Little clam). But I still finished them all, they cleaned the meat perfectly, I just ignored the shell smell and enjoy whatever served to me tonight.
Course no. 5 is of course my favorite. Grilled beef cooked with shallots and green capsicum. Yummy! I forgot to ask what type of beef they used. You can read my blog for different types of beef available in Japan.
6th. First time I see eel cooked differently, I only know Unagi cooked with the special Unagi sauce, never eat fried eel. Totally tasted different, soft but crunchy accompanied with capsicum and fried sweet corn. Incredible.
7th course, this is not miso soup. They told me it’s Hamo (Sharp Toothed Eel). The trick of this soup is take that small citrus lime and dip for like 5 second to the broth and enjoy. Chef Nagata said you shouldn’t keep the lime slice in the soup just dip for awhile will do.
8th – Sashimi Seabream with red tuna. Chihana Restaurant only choose the finest and freshest ingredients therefore this sashimi we had was absolute eye opener. Yes we can have Sashimi in Kuala Lumpur but the freshnest can’t be compared to Japan’s fish. They’re one of the major exporter fish in the world.
9th dish. Cold Wrapped unagi with ginger. Great combination. First I thought was some kind of dessert, in Malaysia we have dessert wrapped like this.
On our 10th course, by looking at the dish, we feel almost full but Chef Nagata keeps surprising us with different type of dish. To be honest I didn’t know how many course this dinner will be. When it just kept coming, I was worried and wonder if we have to tell them to stop. Then, I looked at the other 2 girls, they too have many dishes like us.
11th course. Another favourite of mine. Blackthroat Seaperch -Nodoguro Grilled Fish. The skin was crispy and the fillet tasted so juicy. Squeeze a little bit of lemon and add some salt to your fish, gives the best of Chihana’s.
12th – Chihana’s wants us to have a little bit of everything of the resources they can find in Japan or maybe the world. We had fishes, beef, fruits, vegetables etc. And now grilled eggplant. Tasty and smell so good.
13th – Jellyfish with fruits and nuts- fresh jellyfish you can find in Japan.
Last one, Japanese glutinous Rice (mochigome) with chopped Pickles and Perilla Leaf. In Kaiseki style, rice is normally served last at the end of a formal meal. It was said one should not leave even a grain in the bowl, its considered as bad manners. Chopped Perilla leaf gives a strong nice smell (in Malaysia smell like Pandan Leaf) and pickles gives sweet and sour taste to rice.
At the end of our meal, they served us this small glass of sweet freshly squeeze Japanese Mandarin juice. What a thoughtful way to say that’s the end of your meal to your diners.
We spent 2.5 hours in the restaurant and had so much fun. I personally ask Chef Nagata if I can take a picture with him, he gladly obliged. Thank you chef for everything, we love your food.
Chef Nagata gave us two paper fans as souvenier – Japanese folding fan with a poem on its open surface. I asked the hostess what’s the meaning written on my paper fan, she replied “It is the name of one famous Geisha in Japan”. Another one was a warrior’s name.
Chef Nagata and The lady host sent us out until the end of the street. That’s a 3 Michelin Star service only in Japan.
Total spending for 2 in Chihana was ¥72,000. Thou the price was slightly higher compared to Paul Bocuse Michelin star Restaurant, we both enjoy the experience having real Japanese Traditional Kaiseki in Kyoto.
Miss Tawau’s Rating:
Overall experience: 9.2/10
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