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Anniversary Dinner at Gion Okumura, Gion, Kyoto

 

Since arriving at Japan, I’ve not considered going into any western eatery. The vast choices of Japanese cuisine on offer are just way too spoiling. But on the second last day of the trip, it happened to be our anniversary, and why would a little French romantic spirit hurt, especially when it’s fushioned with Kaiseki from Kyoto?

Okumura in Gion district, Kyoto, specialises in interpreting the traditional Kaiseki style cuisine (like the one I previously wrote about at Kikunoi) through French cooking. It seemed like an ideal place to visit if you wanted to look for something with a modern and romantic twist(while still staying classically Japanese) in Kyoto.

 

Once again, we opted for the counter table, where you can interact with the chef, and watch where (about 30%) all the magic happened.

As we sat down, I couldn’t help complimenting on the beautiful painting on the background of the bar. It was delicate yet majestic, the colours were so opulent and rich, reflected perfectly with the season, and the rest of the interior within the restaurant.

Having heard my compliment, the lady customer sitting on the left to me politely but cheerfully agreed. She spoke just a little English, better than the chef did, took out her phone and showed me all the different photos she took of the artworks on that background. Turns out she’s a regular customer who travels all the time from Osaka to Kyoto for the food here. The backdrop of the bar changes according to season(and I was not surprised by then). There were 12 different paintings in total, each month you will see a different backdrop behind the chef’s bar. She’s seen 7 so far, and I believe she’s rather determined to collect all.

 

 

Knife and fork, haven’t seen you for a while!

 

A little puff pastry appetiser, immediately western to set the tone.

Then the starter platter, including a couple of pates, fresh seafood, with Japanese pickles, all mixing incredibly well. And the presentation was just on point.

 

 

All breads freshly baked when you request it, and the garlic bread was to die for. Already knowing how fulfilling the whole dinner was going to be, I couldn’t help but asked for a second.

 

Seared foie gras with kidney beans.

A bottle of white to wash everything down with.

Today’s oysters.

Seasonal poached veggies with crab jelly and meat, topped with salmon roes. Papaya soup on the side.

 

A fish intestine soup. (probably not everyone’s cup of tea, I mean, soup)

But hey, a sip of Chabis has got to be good.

Next up, my favourite dish of the dinner: a mini hotpot with oyster soup. With unbelievable umami, all the vegetables acquired the flavour from the oyster, and the oyster itself was also tender and juicy. The soup also went surprisingly well with the wine. It was like cooking seafood with white wine sauce right there in you mouth.

Next up, a fruit platter! No… next the chef showed all the fresh fruits and asked if we were allergic/disliking any of those.

Then before the steak, although we didn’t order, the chef gave us a glass of red just to go with the meat. It came in a moses basket.

Medium rare/medium-ish, with fried garlic. Do I need to say more?

Then for the rice, I went for ocha, with colourful pickles again.

 

After rice, it was time for sweets. A cup of fruit smoothie to clear to palate with, made from all those fruits that was shown to us earlier.

The cutest little dessert platter.

Accompanied by some teas and coffees,

 

Just as we thought we’d successfully stuffed everything in, another plate came out, as well as all the staff in the kitchen, clapping all the way, and it wrote:

 

We had to finish everything in that plate, didn’t we? Which led to a long walk along the bank trying to digest everything.