120-year-old Hotel Okura Kyoto is one of those well-established hotels in Japan which seemed stuck in a time-warp circa 1950s, with its retro furnishings and graceful, if somewhat sedate, atmosphere.
Lec Court, with its wide glass walls looking out to Kawaramachi-Oike, the thoroughfare which separates the hotel from the monolithic, austere-looking Kyoto City Hall building, is a perfect place for a casual lunch. Try and snare one of the window seats - inestimably more pleasant.
Trust the Japanese to adapt foreign (especially Western) food items, but elevate it to a whole new level of finesse. Lec Court serves a good spread of “yoshoku” amidst an elegant yet casual setting, quite a contrast from its 1-Michelin-starred Awato Sanso, which serves Kyoto-style kaiseki in a hinoki ryo-tei, set amidst a beautiful Japanese garden.
Lunch started with a small garden salad, with a choice of French or Japanese dressing. Bread on the side were, interestingly, a French hard roll and a Japanese soft roll.
The pumpkin soup was buttery-smooth and simply the best rendition of it I’d ever had.
Ditto the beef Stroganoff, served with saffron-tinged Japanese short-grain rice. I’ll remember the taste of this dish for a long time to come.
Desserts were also absolutely delish: green tea mousse cake and a green tea cream puff.
Everything’s done in the typical Japanese fashion, with meticulous attention to detail. Flawless service.
Hotel Okura Kyoto
Tel: 81-75 211 5111