Where to Eat – Kyoto Kitchen

On the evening of our visit we were invited to the excellent Kyoto Kitchen. Now, we love Japanese food and have sampled many restaurants up and down the country but this restaurant surpassed any Oriental dining experience we’ve ever had.

The head chef, Shunji Irokawa, qualified in 1972 and has an amazing repertoire of Japanese treats that range from the highly classical to more unconventional dishes and ingredients. On learning this, we had a feeling that we were about to be taken on a delicious culinary journey in the form of an incredible 7-course Taster Menu (created just for us).

Sweet Sashimi Yuzu scallops which were served on shiso leaves and dressed with olive oil, black pepper, tobiko and a dusting of fresh Japanese Yuzu zest. This particular dish is only available for 10 days of the year due to availability of Japanese Yuzu, which is a hybrid of lemon, mandarin and grapefruit and is quite simply heavenly!

We also loved the cherry Blossom Tea Smoked Salmon Sashimi which was par-smoked so to preserve the freshness inside and served with a little traditional lemon-chilli pickle and sweet goji berry. The Isobe Age With Seabass was a variety of tempura made with ground roasted seaweed in the batter. This was seasoned with a traditional tensuyu sauce and a powerful matcha-infused sea salt. Delicate but flavoursome!

The other dishes of the menu were:

  • Chicken Gyozas were beautiful handmade dumplings steamed and riddled and served with yusu-ponzu. These left us craving more… and more!
  • Beef Tataki consisted of locally sourced Hampshire beef, carpaccio’d and seared and served with spicy ponzu and radish dipping sauce.
  • Aburi Seafood Maki was a type of prawn tempura (torched for a smokey flavour) and dressed with a spicy mayo and lots of tobiko.
  • Fresh Cornish John Dory Sashimi was thinly sliced and served with a tangy ginger mash.

The Winchester Rolls proved to be a firm favourite of ours! This is the first sushi roll in the world to use the wasabi leaf to wrap the rice. Through the middle was a hot-smoked trout from a local fishery, dressed with mango and unagi sauce and served with fresh wasabi. The wasabi is grown locally in Europe’s only farm and grated with a shark skin grater to create a light and bubbly texture. These were served with a Daiginjo Sake; a highly polished rice wine served chilled with a fine and and floral character.

Also worth noticing was the Grilled Black Cod with Spicy Miso served with pickled lotus roots and Japanese plum dust (the best black cod we are yet to taste – and we have sampled a few)!

Gin and Tonics were created using Ki No Bi Gin – the first from Kyoto in Japan. Served with a yuzu tonic, these welcome drinks were infused with flavours including cedar wood, bamboo and green tea. Cheers to that!

Details
  • Website: kyotokitchen.co.uk
  • Address: 70 Parchment St, Winchester SO23 8AT, UK
  • Phone: +44 1962 890895

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