Thursday, June 4, 2015

Gion Maruyama

Gion Maruyama (Two Michelin Stars) is an amazing Kyoto-style Kaiseki restaurant. The service was excellent and we were in our very own private room enjoying multiple courses filled with seasonal ingredients. Chef Maruyama was kind enough to prepare the live Ayu in front of us and fresh Ayu has a watermelon scent. We spent about AU$650 but the amazing service by the kimono-clad hostesses, Chef Maruyama and the wonderful atmosphere was completely worth it.

All the dishes were carefully prepared using local seasonal ingredients. They not only looked wonderful but tasted amazing. We had:

Tea and Japanese bamboo wine followed by sakizuke (first dish served in Kyo-Kaiseki) to whet one's appetite. 

The sakizuke was slices of raw sea bream, horse beans and carp eggs dressed with miso sauce, vinegar and Japanese mustard.

Next came sushi rice containing sea bream and pepper-tree leaf wrapped in bamboo leaves, sushi rice containing conger eel and ginger wrapped in oak leaf and other side dishes to symbolise a good start to the May Festival.

After that, we had a soup bowl filled with wonderful seasonal ingredients like Japanese tilefish, plum, pumpkin and hen-of-the-wood mushrooms. It was also accompanied with a sashimi dish comprising of sea bream, toro and cuttlefish. It was the best toro we have ever had but sadly we got too excited and forgot to take a photo of this course.

The main dishes were then prepared by Chef Maruyama. The Ayu (swimming around just seconds ago in front of us) were expertly prepared and even deboned. They were prepared several ways including with salt and sour knotweed sauce, soy and sake.

It was accompanied with broiled bamboo shoot and grilled rice-balls among other things.

This was then followed by a Japanese shabu shabu dish of clam and tofu in a ponzu sauce.

We also had a hollowed out Japanese mandarin orange containing fried scallop, leek, mushrooms and asparagus, and some beef with sweet sake and ginger as well as an out-of-this-world wonderfully sweet tomato.

The final course before dessert comprised of miso soup, rice with sea bream (wonderful fish aroma and taste) and Japanese pickles.

Dessert was a simple but excellent end to the night. We had bracken-starch pastry, shaddock, strawberry and banana sherbet.

Service: :star :star :star :star :star
Quality of food: :star :star :star :star :star
Value for money: :star :star :star :star :star 

Type of venue: Japanese,  Kaiseki

English menu: No menu. Omakase.

Worth a return visit? Yes.

Address: 570-171 Minamigawa, Gionmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

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