If you didn’t know by now, what I do for a living is teach English. Not many people know that I also teach Polish on the side, though. As you may expect, there’s not much demand for Polish speakers in Japan, so I don’t have a whole lot of students…To be perfectly honest, I only have one! It’s a lovely lady in love with Chopin and the Polish language. I have been teaching her for about one year and a half, and we have actually become good friends. She’s a native-born Tokyoite, so she really knows the best spots around the city. This time she took me to an amazing restaurant in Nihonbashi, where I had an opportunity to try kaiseki ryori for the first time! Beautifully arranged traditional Japanese food, which is a true delight to the palate? Yes, please!
日本橋 皆美 Minami (Nihonbashi)
〒103-0027 Tokyo, Chūō, Nihonbashi, 1−4−1, コレド日本橋4F
Their website: http://www.minami-g.co.jp/nihonbashi/
There’s one thing you’ll notice quickly. ‘High class’ department stores and (pricey) traditional Japanese restaurants have the same kind of clientele. Apparently, Japanese seniors spend their days on what they didn’t have time for when they were working.
会席料理 kaiseki ryori is a traditional Japanese meal that consists of many small dishes. The arrangement, the order, the ingredients and even the colour… Everything is thoroughly planned and prepared with the highest precision. Historically, kaiseki ryori cuisine was associated with the imperial court, samurai, tea ceremony — everything that is truly Japanese. And you can really taste it! Each dish seems to tell a story, flavours meld, creating the ultimate royal feast.
Okay, I ran out of grandiloquent comparisons, so just follow the photos and see for yourself!
食前酒 shokuzenshu — aperitif and 先付け sakizuke — appetizer
梅サンゲリアume sangeria ・酢味噌掛け蛍烏賊 sumisogake hotaruika ・分葱 wakegi ・ 海老 ebi
plum wine sangria, blue firefly squid with vinegar miso, scallion and shrimp
Soft firefly squids melt in the mouth
お椀 owan — literally “a bowl”
雲丹真丈 uni shinjou ・ 椎茸 shiitake ・ 鶴菜 tsuruna ・ 大根 daikon ・ 人参 ninjin
Soup with a minced sea urchin ball, shiitake mushrooms, New Zealand spinach, a daikon radish and a carrot
造り tsukuri — raw seafood
鮪 maguro ・ 勘八 kanpachi ・ 甘海老 amaebi ・ 山葵 — wasabi
Tuna, amberjack and pink shrimp sashimi with a little ball of wasabi and perilla garnish
焼き物 yakimono — flame-broiled fish
鰆のレモン焼きsawara no remon yaki ・ 桜鯛昆布〆寿司 sakuradai konbujime sushi・杏子蜜煮 anzu mitsuni・ 茗荷 myouga
Flame-broiled Spanish mackerel with a piece of lemon, a little ball shaped sea bream sushi, apricot in honey syrup and Japanese ginger
煮物 nimono — simmered food dish
飯蛸 iidako ・竹の子 takenoko・里芋 satoimo ・ 桜麩 sakurafu・ おくら okura
Octopus, bamboo shoots, taro root, a piece of cherry blossom shaped wheat cake and okra plant
揚げ物 agemono — fried food dish
桜海老と菜の花のかき揚げ sakuraebi to nanohana no kakiage ・ 青唐 aotou
Sakura shrimp and broccolini tempura with a green chilli pepper on top
「家伝」鯛めし一式 kaden taimeshi isshiki — some very traditional food with about 150 years of history!
大根おろしdaikon oroshi・ 海苔 nori・ そぼろにした鯛の身 soboronishita tai no mi ・ 裏ごしした卵の黄身 uragoshishita tamago no kimi ・裏ごしした卵の白身 uragoshishita tamago no shiromi ・きざみ葱 kizami negi
Here we go…grated radish, dried seaweed, minced sea bream, egg yolk puree, egg white puree, chopped green onion. You put a little bit of everything on rice and add a special broth to it. The outcome is like heaven to the taste buds!
お菓子と抹茶 okashi to matcha — Japanese sweets and green tea
As you may have already guessed, it is a rather pricy meal (6000 yen ~ 15,000 yen), but it is definitely worth giving it a go, as a once-in-a-lifetime experience (or twice…or more if you like it and if your wallet doesn’t suffer too much…). Sushi, takoyaki, okonomiyaki, tempura? Cliche! Imagine telling your friends: “I had blue firefly squid in vinegar miso for lunch”. How cool is that! Besides, the restaurant itself is amazing. Absolutely scrumptious food, very relaxing atmosphere and excellent customer service.
Feast for the eyes and delight to the palate!
Thank you for reading!♥