KAISEKI | 祇園 なん波 (Gion Nanba)

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Sticking with our ‘one star’ policy (believing that’s the safest strategy to ensure quality and service across borders and yet not setting expectations too high and/or overpaying), Nanba-san (難波修) in Gion, Kyoto didn’t disappoint at all. Managed to have the entire place just for myself in the first hour or so, this truly enlightened me of how wonderful it is actually to have a nice meal in silence. The fugu shirako started the lunch with a bang and the awabi and sashimori that came after were all of the highest quality. We then moved on to a few more seasonal ingredients including white baits, bamboo shoots, bottarga and Nodoguro, and finally the matcha that brought the meal to a very fitting end. Not really a kaiseki expert myself but I do like the subtle taste found here which is probably closer to the originals versus those that are a bit more flashy found in Tokyo and Hong Kong. While very serious and professional when at work, Nanba-san and his team all turned out to be very nice people and do manage to speak some basic English to communicate. The Kyoto local sake recommended called ‘Yanagi’ was also very fitting. Finding the place is actually not as hard as publicised. Just look into that little ‘crack’ between two buildings right opposite the street from the Kyoto Gion Hotel entrance will do. A long lunch here certainly brought along a genuine Kyoto culinary experience. Recommended!

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