The next best thing to do, if you want a taste of Kyoto-style home-cooking but do not know any Kyoto native who’d invite you home for a meal, is to seek out one of the places which offer home-style “obanzai” traditional Kyoto cuisine. OKU by Chef Nakahigashi Hisato is one such place - located in an 80-year-old “Machiya” (townhouse) setting.
One interesting piece of trivia - lacquerware used are all designed by local pottery artist, Shojiro Endo, in collaboration with the chef.
- Start off with an OKU original cocktail: yuzu, tonic & gin.
Plus a complimentary sake as an aperitif:
Starter: Mitsuba (Japanese chervil) and shitake mushroom in sesame dressing.
Sesame-flavoured tofu is very popular in Kyoto. This one is served with une (sea-urchin).
Herbed-sesame tofu with une and wasabi topping.
First bonito of the season, served with salt, ginger shreds and garlic flakes.
Short-necked clam-paste quenelle, served in a clam consommé and topped with shredded lemon peel.
Grilled Kyoto beef, served with new potatoes, onion and asparagus. Absolutely incredible melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Shrimp tempura in soup, with butterbur stems and bamboo shoot.
The obligatory rice, miso soup, pickles and an accompaniment - simmered butterbur herbs and anchovies here - to signal the end of the meal.
Dessert: warabi mochi (わらびもち) or bracken-starch dumplings, usually served with kinako (きなこ) or toasted soy powder.
Very satisfying meal, with stellar service and faultless cooking:
〒605-0074 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, 祇園町南側570-119
Operating hours: 11.30am-9pm daily, except Tuesday (Closed).