It's not a place that's easy to locate judging fr Google Earth. Since we knew it, we hopped into our reliable taxi with address of the restaurant in Japanese for easy reference.
As always The Ritz-Carlton was so ever efficient and have already informed the driver where we were bound for. Second Shift Mr. Handsome-boy doorman handed me 2 flat sachet the size of my palm. Monkey looked at him puzzled.
Mr. Handsome-boy doorman: "It's going to be a cold night ma'am. Looks like it will snow."
then it just rang in my head, oh these were heatpack for me to hold or to plaster onto my body. Japanese invention for the ease of life. I discovered heatpacks about 9 years ago, when my skinny ex-colleague have heatpacks plastered onto her stomach and her back to warm herself during our work trip in Switzerland.
Such thoughtful and excellent service from The Rizt-Carlton :)))) and bcoz I have pockets of fats around my body especially my organs, Monkey is not afraid of cold *more so of heat* gosh!!!
When we arrived, at Hyotei, elegant lady in kimono greeted us and it seems they already knew who we were bcoz she ushered us immediately to our tea room. Prollie we have our names plastered onto our foreheads.
Our winter clothings, gloves, scarves and shoes were removed by the lady and she sat us down inside a tiny room. JS was asking if this is the tea room for tea ceremony...oh I have no idea, it's also my first time here....but the horror of being seated on the floor just made JS cried before dinner was even served.
our first course of appetizer was served on this table tray with legs.
JS: "We are eating here in this tatami room on the floor??"
:"(( sniff sniff.
sorry lar JS, it seems that every guests have their own private room here facing the zen garden but it's too cold to even open the sliding doors. Our room attendant even brought in a heater for us. U can see it from the above pic.
delicate tempura of white baits tied with nori seaweed and the green one was the center of some sort of flowers like sunflowers. It has a beautiful aroma and taste of tea mixed with garland chrysanthemum.
On its side was fresh local Kyoto greens with toufu skin in homemade miso sauce. Kyoto ppl are very proud of their local produce and insist on only using nothing else but produce from their very own area.
fresh sashimi of the day with such cute and queer pickled vegetables/fruits that I've never seen. It has a slight sourness with length. Have no idea wat it was, but nothing strong like capers...just delicate with a bit of a crunch. It was very good.
Monkey and her Faure le Page sling bag :)))) an aristocrat gun bag maker since 1717.
To dine in 400 years old Hyotei, one must respect with dress code and accessories. I know I am terrible dramatic all the time, but that's me. Roll all the eyes that you have.
the winelist was surprisingly good and JS ordered this baby for us to share. Trust me, in the end it wasn't enuff coz it was so so luscious. I guess our appetite for wines have grown so much thanks to a certain Doctor who's also an epicurean whom trained both of us to drink like him. That works to around 600 bottles a year per person. We are getting there and dare not keep track of consumptions via a certain apps that's highly recommended by a certain Si Fu.
Now that I've joined the dark side in the wines and spirits and champagnes industry, I seriously dare not keep track of my consumptions and instead focus on appreciation and enjoyment. Appreciation Grows isn't it?
Next we were served a looked-simple-but-not-so-simple white miso soup
Oh Japanese also celebrates the arrival of the Sheep Sheep year???
Hobbits esp Sheep Sheep so eppy bcoz all of them got to go to Japan with us. I have to concur it is easier to lug the hobbits around rather than JS's video equipments. He has a special bag to check them in...and this have yet to include a special case for his Drone Camera - which he has chucked aside now after playing with it for a week.
The soup was so delicate and beautiful, with my favourite vege - nanohana and a piece of bamboo heart embossed with the logo of a Sheep. By the way, Jaya Grocer is now selling nanohana and japanese fresh vege flown in all the way from different prefecture of Japan.
Next dish would be the highlight and speciality of Hyotei - which was also awarded 3 Michelin Stars, the maximum any establishment could achieve. On the wooden platter we have steamed egg custard, pickled vegetables stems, sea urchin lightly toasted with specks of sea salt on top, toufu and yams, the bundle of rice were popped up over open fire, it's almost like eating pop corns...yummmss..but the main star of this dish were the 2 beautiful sunshine starring back at you...Yes their secret recipe eggs.
Look at the proportion of yolk versus white. It was cooked to their 400 years old recipe whereby the yolk remains in the center, Soft velvety stickie and creamie....while the white was custardy beautiful and unadultered...clean and perfect white.
Told ya it was custardy creamie....oh yumms no salt were needed for the flavours of the eggs was amazing!!!! I want these now for breakfast!!!
OMG is this wat it is again??? GAH!!!!
Fish sperm~~~~~ with local lotus roots. In Japan, it is a delicacy.
JS was luffing at Monkey
The tatami room that we had which was about 400 years old. As u can see Monkey was the only obedient one here, seated like a lady throughout her beautiful kaiseki dinner...*okie I lied....about the lady-like part*
While JS was bz scruffing around the room, adjusting his feets, his calves, his knees and aiya aiya here n there. He was whining why didn't we ask for a "modern" room.
My honey boo, we can alwiz dine in a normal modern room anywhere anytime around Planet Earth but when u are Hyotei u must do it the cultural way hahahah. It was really an experience for us.
I kenot believe how beautiful and simple this was, the flavours complement each other so well. Steamed japanaese clams on top of braised daikon and japanese leeks....with some ponzu zest.
grilled fish with perfect pure white pickled japanese leeks!!! The fish was so so rich and fat but it was all good Omega fats :)))
Crabs!!! with its roe on the side....if all crab dishes were prepared this way all the time, I won't mind eating them :)))) even the legs were cut to a perfect angle with openings for easy access to its sweet flesh.
As u can see, Mr. JS was bz walking around our lil "cottage" with a connecting room..while Monkey was so into her food...yumm yummm yummmssss
Clear broth with fresh bamboo shoots and kyoto toufu. Kyoto makes one of the best toufu products esp the toufu skin called yuba :)))
Every dish was served in order, with proper care and manner. 2 ladies will alwiz come in and announce that they are here before stepping into our cottage. Then they knelt down and bowed with grace before serving our food then sharing with us on its content, cooking methods and instruction of consumptions.
the must have yummy white baits which were cooked with sake, homemade pickles which u can't get nor buy!!!
all to be consumed with a bowl of beautiful steamed white rice. AAAAaaaaAAAA I'm a happy gal :)))
mini creme puffs which was so well executed and local seasonal fruits. U'll be surprised at how delicious were japanese creme puffs...anywhere u can find in Japan. It's light and crispy on the outside, with a certain doughy-ness....but the bomb is usually the creme...it has to be the milk!!!
traditional handmade japanese desserts....served with a red tea first which they called the hoji-cha
and finally a hand-whisked green tea prepared on the spot for us to enjoy...by now we should be already accustomed to the rulles and etiquettes of any traditional japanese tea ceremony.
curious Monkey then slided the door to have a sneak peek of the zen garden outside. aaaaaahhhhhh it's so cold!!!! it's winter for goodness sake!!! It would be so nice to have dinner here during spring/summer/autumn when it's not too cold...and a beautiful view outside...coz usually all the doors will be removed for diners to enjoy the view.
"JS look!!! I'm so tall!!!! almost touching the ceiling!!!"
"quickly dress up. it's very cold outside!!!"
Hyotei really managed to maintain its building to the state until today. Good job!!!
Once we stepped out it's the area where we left our shoes. As usual, all were prepared and our room attendant was patiently waiting for us. :)))
Monkey must must must have a pic with the elegant ladies!!!!
and I gotta behaved with palms faced down...and seated in such manner. So unusual and unlike me...hehehehehe.
No taxi for us....we would like to walk off those calories in the winter chill and enjoy the beautiful historical lanes along the streets of Kyoto. And made pit-stops at an Artisanal Sake shop wahahahahaha.
Such a beautiful experience, if you can't get reservations for dinner, do try their much more simple bento box lunch and they even have breakfast with rice porridge - with their famous eggs of coz :)))
For more information:
25 Kusagawa-cho, Nanzenji,
Tel: 075 771 4116