For our Christmas Eve Dinner we went to Roan Kikunoi (2 Michelin Star). Roan Kikunoi is the sister restaurant of Kikunoi (3 Michelin Stars) which is the main restaurant. Since Kikunoi was fully booked for Christmas Eve we opted for the sister restaurant which is smaller and has sushi bar seating. Given that I had finally settled into Kyoto, I was ready for our big Christmas Eve dinner.
The restaurant serves traditional Kaiseki. Kaiseki is extremely popular in Kyoto and all the guide books and food guides recommend trying Kaiseki. Kaiseki works very much like an Omakase. It’s basically chef’s choice. It’s a pre-fixed meal that the chef creates for you that includes multiple courses (soups, cold dishes, grilled dishes, sashimi, rice dish, dessert, etc) that are determined by seasonality and local ingredients. The two main local ingredients that are indigenous to Kyoto which the chef used a lot of was radish/daikon and leeks. There was this giant daikon that the chef brought out for you to see so that you knew where the dish came from. The wasabi root was also brought out to the table when they made the palate cleanser (wasabi pear sorbet).
The meal was amazing. All the flavors in the dishes were so clean and simple. One of the highlights of the meal was finally getting to try Fugu. Fugu is a poisonous blowfish that only certified and fully trained sushi chefs can serve. The Fugu was served sashimi style. The fish was seasoned and sliced paper thin which you then used to wrap the organic microscallions with and then dipped into their house made ponzu. On top of the sashimi was Fugu meat that was torn into thing slices and mixed with ginger, daikon, scallions and ponzu for a light salad. Absolutely divine!
Lastly my other highlight of the meal was the duck shabu shabu which had an amazing broth made from stewed local leeks, mint, and duck meatballs. It was a satifisying dish on it’s own.
Loved the place!!
Note: The bronze bamboo vessel that you see is the container these use to serve their house sake. These little touches really make the experience that much more special and to top it off, the napkins you used had Japanese prints on them which they then gave to you as a parting gift. LOVE JAPAN!