Roan Kikunoi

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 Sharon Halim 0 Comments

Kyoto is famous for kaiseki dining experience. Kaiseki dining is essentially a traditional multi course dinner displaying various beautiful dishes, the season's freshest ingredients and showcasing the chef's best skill set. These little dishes are artistically arranged in little portions and presented to the guest during the course meal, it's similar with degustation meal.

Back home in Australia, we have the famous Tetsuya serving Japanese French degustations dining and apparently the owner and head chef Tetsuya Wakuda's said one of his favourite restaurant is Kikunoi. Kikunoi is one of the most, if not most of the famous and applaud kaiseki restaurant in Japan. Unfortunately, I was unable to secure a booking at Kikunoi most likely because of the three Michelin star status. So I decided to visit Roan Kikunoi instead.

Roan Kikunoi is a two Michelin star owned by Yoshihiro Murata, the same owner as Kikunoi. Yoshihiro Murata is famous for the multiple television appearance as well as the seven Michelin star status, he station most of the time at Kikunoi. His brother Yoshiharu Murata runs Roan Kikunoi for many years. Yoshiharu Murata started off his 35 year career training in Okayama Prefecture on a farm. He learn the appreciation of the life ingredients by growing off vegetables. It is his principles that helps him create every masterpieces from every fresh ingredients he used. Yoshiharu came back to Kyoto and work for his father and after 3 years he was taken under his brother guidances and become the awesome chef he is today.

One of the most important tips when dining at Michelin starred restaurants in Japan is lunches have lower prices with the same top notch food. Luckily someone last minute cancelled their lunch reservations at Roan Kikunoi so I managed to secure a spot at 11.30am.

I was seated at the first floor where there are two types of seats; 10 counter seatings for individual customers and where you can chat and see first hand how the chef's work and 2 tatami seatings with partition in the middle, it's located at the back side of counter seatings so you can still watch how the chef's work but not as clear. I got the semi private tatami seatings which I love so much, it makes the whole experience even more thrilling. Roan Kikunoi also have a second floor with tatami floors and tea rooms decorated with ceilings, ajiro bamboo, lightings from the Taisho era served by waitresses in kimono. The second floor usually opens for dinner.

There are a couple of options for the lunch menu (see below for the details and prices), I decided to go with the 7000 yen kaiseki lunch set. If you have any dietary restrictions, please let them know when you make your reservations.They started of with sake with a fragrance of chrysanthemum and I'm not a big fan of sake but this one is super delicious. It was sweet, strong and smell really nice. While they are serving us sake, they also handed us the printed menu in English of the eight course lunch. I highly recommended Kikunoi sake, their own brand made in Fushimi. Kyoto's water is soft thus creating slightly sweeter sake that I love so much. 

The second course is Walnut-tofu, Delaware grapes, light soy sauce gel with Wasabi. It was a cold dish and the perfect opener. It has a subtle taste, light, sticky and soft textures.

As we were enjoying our appetiser, one of the staff came to our tables carrying a round box. He knelt down and opened it up. There's a life fish inside and he explained it was amago (yang trout) for our lunch later on the courses. They did this as a proof of freshness and I was used to this cause they often dd it in Chinese restaurants.

The third course is Grilled barracuda Sushi, Hamo (pike conger) roe cake, grilled chestnut, salted Ayu milt and roe, pine needle-shaped tea noodles, gingko leaf-shaped sweet potato, Sake-glazed gingko nuts. I'm in awe  of the impeccably detailed decorations. This is the most beautiful dish I have ever seen and it taste delicious too. I almost miss the pine needle-shaped tea noodles and the staff kind enough to remind me that it is edible and I'm glad he didt cause it was crunchy and tasty.

The fourth course is Tai (red sea bream), Koshibi (baby tuna), egg yolk sauce, chrysanthemum petals, Wasabi. The tai fish was meant to be eaten with the soy sauce and the koshibi  top with Japanese mustard sauce and dip in the egg yolk sauce. I love this dish so much, especially the fresh cold koshibi with thick mustard and rich egg yolk sauce. 

The fifth course is Hamo (pike conger) with toasted ice, Shimeji-mushroom, egg Tofu, Tsuruna-leaf, Yuzu. It was served in a bowl of soup, it was light but earthy. 

The sixth course is Amago (yang trout), Kigosho (pepper leaves), marinated root vegetables. I love the bamboo presentations, slide it to the left and the fish was carefully placed inside. This is one of the most beautifully cooked fish I have eaten in my life, the whole fish from head to tail are edible. There were no fishy smell or taste at all.

The seventh course is Rice with sweet chestnuts and chicken Japanese pickles. Edamame (green soybeans) soup, Yurine dumplings. It was kamameshi dish, it was served in front of us. This is the first time I tried edamame soup and surprisingly I like it a lot. It was tasty, salty but light. We couldn't finish the generous serving of rice and they offer to make us a rice ball for the next day breakfast, that was very nice of them.

The final course is dessert - Milk ice cream, Japanese tea chiffon cake. The texture of the ice cream was a bit crumbly like sorbet instead of ice cream. The cake was dense and thick.

For an unforgettable experience in service, kaiseki dining and stepping back into Authentic Japanese experience in the past come to Roan Kikunoi when you visit the historical city of Kytoto.

Score: đŸ’‹đŸ’‹đŸ’‹đŸ’‹đŸ’‹

Monday-Sunday: 11.30am-1.30pm (last entry)
Monday-Sunday: 5pm-8.30pm (last entry)

Kaiseki Lunch : 4000yen, 7000yen, 10000yen
Mini Kaiseki Dinner: 10000yen
Kaiseki Dinner: 13000yen, 15000yen, 18000yen

Roan Kikunoi
118 Saito-cho, Shijo-sagaru,
Kiyamachi-dori, Shimogyo-ku,
Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Tel: +81753615580
Major credit card accepted
No parking space