Between 28 August and 1 September 2018, I had a chance to visit Kyoto. Without mistakes, I had landed 2 bookings during this stay: Jiki Miyazawa and Tempura Kyoboshi. Both places receive 1-michelin-star award and have a high-ranking on Tabelog. In this context, I will start a review on one starred Kappō restaurant, Jiki Miyazawa. One of my trusted foodie friends recommends this place to me, so I give it a go straight away. Booking here, like other places in Japan, you need to book through a concierge but recently they have a third-party to run booking system through website. Expected a booking fee around 2,000 THB. In this case, I let my credit card assistance service to do the job, so I don’t have to pay for concierge service.
Jiki Miyazawa is helmed by head chef Takatomo Izumi-san while Masato Miyazawa-san, chef-owner of Jiki Miyazawa, runs a sister restaurant, Godan Miyazawa. I will try Godan Miyazawa on my next visit, definitely! Jiki Miyazawa is decorated in Zen style – warm, calm and relaxing wood tone with minimal decoration. Here has only 10 counter seats. As such, advance booking is essential. Every seat has a great view to watch Izumi-san and his team performing magic on the plate. I was really lucky on that night since I was sitting just right in front of Izumi-san. He seems to be a quiet person but he isn’t. I had a great talk with him during the meal time. He even provided me a list of must-try udon and soba places in Kyoto. By the way, Izumi-san had been living in NYC for a while such that he speaks and explains each dish in English very fluently. There are 4 options for dinner: 7000 yen, 10000 yen, 12000 yen and 15000 yen. I went for 12000 yen on the night and felt so regret for not taking 15000 yen option.
So the meal started with aperitif of sweet sake being poured by Izumi-san while he was greeting each diner personally. Without delay, first appetizer was placed down. It was watermelon, shrimp and tomato granita. What a refreshing combination it was. I can’t believe that watermelon and tomato can get along together this great. Perfect cold appetizer to cool me down from bloody hot weather outside. It was almost 35c on that day. Second serve was hamo in bonito broth brushed with yuzu zest. Since hamo, pike conger, was in season during that time, hamo flesh was so sweet, fluffy and fresh. In Kyoto, pike conger is considered to be a luxury ingredient due to the difficulty to cook it; it requires a special technique to prepare hamo flesh; thinly slice through the hamo flesh while remains the skin intact. This dish was so light, fragrant and subtle umami. Yuzu zest gave this dish a tangy kick which was pleasant. Hamo was also beautifully cooked as well. The third appetizer was 13-day-aged maguro, rice sauce, shoyu syrup, negi, seaweed. Maguro is aged with Shinkei-Jime technique which preserves freshness of the flesh and converts fish’s fat into umami compounds. This reconstructed version of negitoro was superbly delicious and creative. Maguro blasted with intense umami flavour. Just love it.
Next dish, surely one of the highlights of the night, is Jiki Miyazawa’s signature dish, Yaki goma tofu. No matter what course you go for, this tofu will be on the menu. Every single element in this dish is made of white sesame. Tofu was so rich, creamy and sweet. The sesame crumbs were cold and crunchy while tofu was warm and creamy. I love the contrast between hot and cold elements in this dish. 3-day-aged grilled Japanese mackerel, eggplant sauce and breadcrumbs was served next. Mackerel was beautifully grilled and was so stunning. It was already delicious by its own. Eggplant sauce didn’t seem to play a bold role here. Seasonal deep-fried ayu and cucumber was placed down accordingly. At peak season of ayu, without doubt, ayu was sweet, firm, fresh and of top quality.The cucumber salsa was fresh and light. The crunch from cucumber added another pleasant dimension of texture to the ayu. Corn soup looked a bit dull but it turned to be the best dish of the night. Intense corn flavour, aroma and deliciousness. The soup was topped with dried corn core flakes which was enjoyable. Best corn soup in my life so far – so fragrant, so delicious.
Next dish was inspired by a certain Chinese dish, Xiao long bao. It was minced clam and pork based broth trapped inside Japanese green pepper. So creative and delicious to the max. Tofu chip, crab meat, and egg sauce was equally delish. Crab meat was so fresh and sweet. Egg sauce was so rich yet light and airy which complimented crab meat while not overpowered overall picture. Tofu crisp just made everything even better. The last dish before commencing the rice course was tempura fig, 3-day-aged anago, lotus root and Japanese black pepper. Sweetness from the fig tempura merged fabulously with fattiness of the anago. Anago was superbly tender, moist and sweet. The broth was made from Japanese sweet sake and bonito flakes. It has a deep note and so complex flavour profile. Every component in this dish complimented and harmonized each others magnificently. This dish surely took my heart away. Last but not least, clay pot-cooked rice served along with tsukemono (pickles), charred eggplant and miso soup was served to end the savoury section. The rice was garnished with edamame, seaweed and granted karasumi. Rice was of top quality and perfectly cooked. Simply delightful.
Grapes with wine jelly and monaka were served to conclude the meal. Both dessert were satisfying and scrumptious. Grape was succulently sweet and juicy and monaka did its job gorgeously. Usucha (thin matcha) was prepared and handed to each diner individually by Izumi-san. To accompany the meal, I asked Izumi-san for sake and umeshu recommendations. Izumi-san carefully selected Kamenoo Kurabu 2017 which is a rare Kyoto sake made of rice grown by 3 different farmers in Mizuma and Noma areas in 2017. The sake was sweet, clean and light. A special umeshu from around Tokyo area was picked by Izumi-san as a digestif to end the meal. This umeshu was mellow, fragrant and balanced. Forgot to mention earlier, most of glassware and tableware are chosen carefully by Izumi-san since he loves collecting antique glassware. Some dishes or chawan might be older than you. To sum up, Jiki Miyazawa is a place that you should not miss when visiting Kyoto. Great food with unparalleled hospitality from the team. Such an unforgettable meal it is.
553-1 Yaoyacho Nakagyo-ku Kyoto, Japan
Lunch 12:00-13:45 Last order
Dinner 18:00-20:00 Last order