I thoroughly enjoyed a Japanese meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Osaka
The image of Osaka is always “lively and cheerful.” But in such a place, there is also a Michelin-starred restaurant with a quiet presence. Having the opportunity to eat at a three-star restaurant listed in the Michelin guide with the red cover would be a great honor for a big eater like me.
I heard that at one restaurant, it was very difficult to get a reservation, and even if you did, it would be three years from now. I wonder how delicious food can be when cooked by a Michelin-starred restaurant that we often hear about.
I was lucky enough to get a reservation at a one-star restaurant in Osaka during a weekend. The name of the restaurant is “Kyomachibori Rikyu.” Today, especially for you, I would like to report the taste of dishes served at a Michelin-starred restaurant.
A Michelin-starred restaurant in Osaka, Japan
“Kyomachibori Rikyu” is located in Kyomachibori, Osaka, about five minutes from Osaka Municipal Subway Yotsubashi Line's “Higobashi” Station, or less than 10 minutes on foot from Chuo Line's “Honcho” Station. The subway stations in Osaka are very old-fashioned, with a nostalgic feel. They are a bit like the subways in Peking.
If you see this sign that says Kyomachibori, you'll find the restaurant is right after you cross the street. Western-style buildings stand on both sides of the street. They catch the eye.
I was able to find the restaurant right away. It had a relaxed environment, but still fashionable. This is the one-star restaurant I booked. The name of the restaurant on the sign next to the door seemed powerful. You can tell from the curtain in the doorway that it's a Japanese restaurant. Now let's go inside!
I was shown inside, and there, I saw two private rooms and counter seats. I saw two women, perhaps friends, relaxed, and enjoying their meal and chatting. The restaurant staff told me that basically, you can get a reservation if you contact them 2 weeks in advance.
I wonder how good a one-star Japanese restaurant's dishes are
Let's take a look at their menu. Interesting, isn't it? In a nutshell, there are only three courses. Each course is different price, but all of them are chef’s that you chef's choice.
The chef makes the dishes depending on what ingredients he bought that day, for each course meal.
You can take pictures in the restaurant. However, out of consideration for other customers, you should not make shutter sounds. Be careful.
I ordered the “midori (green)” course. This course comes with an apéritif. It was a sake specially selected by the owner-chef and made from rice grown in Oita, Kyushu. I felt sweetness when put in the mouth, even if I cannot drink alcohol usually, I had no problem with it.
The first dish was ground soup made from yuba (bean-curd skin) with nanohana (rape blossom) and carrot, with yuzu citron sprinkled on top. It had a very nice aroma.
The next dish was sashimi. There was fresh tuna, natural red sea bream, and red bream. The meat was soft, and all of them were delicious, but what's worthy of special mention was the various seasoning that came with the sashimi. There was specially made soy sauce, sudachi (a kind of citrus), and salt from Moiwa, which all went very well with the sashimi.
I asked the owner-chef how he came up with such wonderful combination, and he told me that he had experienced training at a famous restaurant in Shinsaibashi, then became independent and opened the current restaurant. He probably came up with a dish with such wonderful ideas because he had experienced two different environments.
This is Osuimono (clear soup) with bracken, clam, and kelp. The minute I opened the lid, I was surprised to know that bracken can be eaten in soup. My image of bracken was only the warabi mochi (sweet bracken-starch dumpling). But when I tried it, it was perfect. The bracken went well with the other ingredients including the flavor of the clam. There was nothing of discomfort at all.
Their lacquer wares were very high-quality. Attention is given to every little detail of cooking. Please look at this picture. The dew on the lid is proof that it is the highest-quality Japanese food. After putting the food into the bowl, they took the trouble to spray the dewdrops on the lid. I was told that, since the dewdrops fall off the lid once the lid is touched, the dew means “nobody has opened the lid yet. This was prepared just for you.” Now I understand why this restaurant earned the Michelin one-star after only three years since its opening.
Next was deep fried cutlass fish, arranged very beautifully. Through his cooking, the owner-chef made me realize that spring was just around the corner.
The “grass” on top of the cutlass fish is made from a mix of miso and seaweed. Not only was my mind soothed by my day off, but the food was a treat for my eyes as well. If somebody asked me what I thought about the Michelin-starred restaurant cuisine, my answer would be super delicious!
Perhaps it wasn't just tasting good! What sort of idea did the Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant teach me?
This dish is called “Hassun.” The four small bowls are all the size of a thumb. I thought the jelly made from blowfish gravy on the upper right hand in the picture was the best. It was very soft and tasty. The owner-chef has a strong preference for tableware, and these are “Hagi-yaki” made in Yamaguchi Prefecture, which are well-known in Japan.
Next, I was served seasonal bamboo shoots, rape blossoms, and soft tofu simmered together, then topped with thick sauce. It felt as though spring had already come.
The last dish was rice porridge with freshwater shrimp, chervil, and powder citrus in it. At this point, I was full, and various remnants of tastes were still in my mouth. So having this porridge in the end was the finishing touch. The ingredients, ideas, and thoughtfulness were all superb. No wonder the restaurant earned a Michelin star.
After I finished eating all the dishes, I felt that the owner-chef had great knowledge about his customers, his tableware, and the four seasons. Without acute insight, he wouldn't be able to make such theme-based cuisine using those ingredients. I remembered the words of Konosuke Matsushita, which were “Life is like the four seasons.” I am thinking that through his cooking, the owner-chef is letting each of his customer knows about the four seasons.
●1F Kyomachibori Partners Bldg, 1-7-12, Kyomachibori, Nishi-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
●Lunch 12:00-15:00 (L.O. 13:30) *Reservation required
Dinner 17:00-23:30 (L.O. 22:30)
*non-smoking seats only
*The above information was last updated March 8, 2018. For further information, please contact the restaurant directly.
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