[Kyoto, Japan] Kyoto-style home-cooking at OKU

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.

  1. Start off with an OKU original cocktail: yuzu, tonic & gin.

Plus a complimentary sake as an aperitif:

  1. Starter: Mitsuba (Japanese chervil) and shitake mushroom in sesame dressing.

  2. Sesame-flavoured tofu is very popular in Kyoto. This one is served with une (sea-urchin).

Herbed-sesame tofu with une and wasabi topping.

  1. First bonito of the season, served with salt, ginger shreds and garlic flakes.

  2. Short-necked clam-paste quenelle, served in a clam consommé and topped with shredded lemon peel.

  3. Grilled Kyoto beef, served with new potatoes, onion and asparagus. Absolutely incredible melt-in-your-mouth texture.

  4. Shrimp tempura in soup, with butterbur stems and bamboo shoot.

  5. The obligatory rice, miso soup, pickles and an accompaniment - simmered butterbur herbs and anchovies here - to signal the end of the meal.

  6. 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:

Address
OKU
〒605-0074 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, 祇園町南側570-119
Tel: 075-531-4776
Operating hours: 11.30am-9pm daily, except Tuesday (Closed).

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Hi Peter - we are planning a trip up to Osaka/Kyoto next year and these look like some great places to try.

Did you need to book before you went or is it possible to book a few days in advance (using the hotel for help).

Thanks.

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Hi PhilD - I actually booked most of these places when I was already in the cities, and only made my reservations about a day ahead. That said, I wouldn’t recommend that you leave it to the last minute like I did - the last trip I made was not really centred on food-hunting, but more on temple visits.

Try getting your hotel to make advance booking for you - popular restaurants tend to be pretty busy in Osaka/Kyoto.

Excellent - thanks. Just need a bit less geo-political posturing before we commit to the trip.

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