It's not easy for me to get back from Japan, ^^, I still have so many things to tell you about this amazing country.
After a long day of eating in Gion (you can read about it in this post), we still had an important mission. We had an appointment with Sensei (She is well known for her mastering in Tea both black and Japanese green tea).
The place that she made a reservation for us was Cenci /チェンチ, a famous (and very difficult to get a reservation) Italian restaurant in Kyoto.
We started with Taxi from our hotel (again, it's easier to go to this place in taxi), and arrived in front of this warm and small restaurant. After the waitress taking care of our coats and umbrellas, she guided four of us to a private room on the second floor.
The table was ready, and the atmosphere was superb, with warm light, it's great for a date! The list of the food that we would be served was in front of us. Today we would have full course dinner (10,000円 with dessert course).
One thing that you can see from the menu is, it's not the name of the food but it's the name of the ingredients! The most important thing for this restaurant is the best ingredient.
Because we're in very good mood, we ordered sparkling wine to make a toast to our happy vacation and reunion with sensei (we (me and my friend) didn't meet her for almost 2 years).
Home made grissini (long, thin, Italian-style breadsticks) was on the table, and a little bowl of fragrance olive oil, we're enjoying our chitchat.
We didn't have to wait for too long for our first dish: Prosciutto (ペルシュウ)
"Thinly sliced Japanese made prosciutto with Gnocchi and home-made mozzarella"The prosciutto was so delicious, moist and not too salty. The fried gnocchi was not too floury and the texture was just right. Home made mozzarella was very soft and warm. It's just made and while we're busy taking the photo, the waitress told us to stop taking the photo and enjoy the cheese while it's best, haha.
And now I understood why this restaurant is becoming one of the best Italian restaurant in Kyoto, the staffs (all of them) know about the food that they serve. The way they explained and the look in their eyes, I know that they must have real passion in food.
The first bread that they served was Faccocia, it's delicious with chewy texture that went very well with the aromatic olive oil.
The second plate was following "Cabbage, Kumquat, Puffer -キャベツ, 金柑, 河豚"
Fresh pufferfish fillet on a bed of cabbage top with Kumquat and sprout.
I never ate the pufferfish before the pufferfish meat is considered a delicacy in Japan and must be prepared by specially trained chefs who know which part is safe to eat (they have to pass the test to get the license to work and serve it). It's so soft and delicious! With freshness from the Kumquat, the whole dish was refreshing.
The third dish: "White asparagus, Squid, Egg - ホワイトアスパラガス、イカ、卵"
Squid sashimi on top of white asparagus mousse (made from egg white) and top with smoked egg yolk sauce.
Chef Sakamoto Ken (坂本 健) played with taste and texture of this dish. With each spoon, three of them, the crunchiness of the Squid sashimi, the softness of the mousse and lightly smoked fragrance sauce, went in harmony I couldn't stop eating it!
After 3 of cold dish, the forth one was coming in piping hot mini skillet: "Taro, Bolognese, black truffle - 頭芋, ボローニャ、黒トリュフ"
*This dish was the only one that the name of the food was written, ^^. Because the Bolognese was made from veal and kurobuta.
The soft and puffy kashira-imo was place in a pool of Bolognese sprinkled with delicious grated cheese and a lot of delicious fragrance black truffle freshly shaved in front of us. I know that you can love or hate the truffle but with this one, I must say I love it.
Now the bread was change into french bread, to suite the thick and rich Bolognese.
To keep us warm, the next one was a cup of soup: "Rice, Conger eel - 米、穴子"
Warn wild rice soup with eel fillet, the waitress told us to stir it before eating.
The warmness filled our body and soul, its gentle taste was so additive.
And we came to meat dish "Leek, Potato, Beef - 葱, じゃがいも, 田村牛"
Tamura beef over leek mousse (white part only), fried potato, leek (green part) with black olive and anchovy and tamarin sauce .
Tamura beef is the meat of Black Japanese cattle, that's famous for its fragrance, meat quality and good fat marbling.
To tell you the truth, we started to be full, haha. Eating full course meal was hard when we had been eating all day.
But our mission was not complete, we still had more dish to go.
Now we had to choose the pasta dish, as there're 3 of us so each one chose different dish.
Mine is "Garlic chive, Crab, Spaghetti - ニラと 紅ずわい蟹スパゲティ"
As I accustom to Chinese food, this one is almost the same, haha, because garlic chive is so Chinese too me. But the texture of the spaghetti was just right, and the crab was so sweet, it's good Chinese food in great Italian restaurant ^^.
The other 2 dish were my friends'.
"Canola flower. soft puffer roe, Yuzu, Spaghetti - 菜の花と河豚白子,黄柚子の香りスパゲティ"
The taste was so refreshing and soft, I think I like this one most.
"Kikuna, Oyster, Risotto- 菊菜と牡蠣のリゾット"
The texture of the rice is just rice, not too soft and the taste of the freshness of the oyster is the best.
Now, the dinner course was over, (and we're full to the top, haha). But we're still had dessert course to go through, and I was so excited.
The table was prepared for the dessert, the waitress placed the cutlery set before us and all of us ordered the drink.
We can choose from this menu, and I ordered Japanese sen cha (煎茶).
Small bowl of sugar had been placed for adding in coffee.
The first one is "Citrus, Fromage blance - 柑橘、フロマージュブラン"
Soft home made marshmallow with citrus sauce and fromage mousse. Cold and refreshing taste that we finished it in no time.
The next one " Hazelnut, Cacao - ヘーゼルナッツ、カカオ"
It's cold hazelnut pudding in a cup, and they poured hot milk (milk boiled with cocoa nib) over the pudding before serving.
The waitress told us to stir it before eating and this one is one of the most memorable dishes!
The hot cocoa flavour milk mix with cold pudding, and all of them turn into warm drink. The taste of the hazelnut went in harmony with the cocoa, it's the best way to play with flavour, texture and temperature.
The last one: "Strawberry, Pistachio - 苺、ピスタチオ"
You can see that Chef Sakamoto Ken didn't let us down, even on the last dish. Fresh Strawberry sauce over a dacquoise, pistachio gelato with vanilla mascarpone mousse in papery tuile cup, and sprinkle with Pistachio powder.
I can't say how much I enjoy this meal. When the waitress served tea with little cookie (the name of the cookie is Cenci - it's the name of the restaurant), my heart and my stomach were full with delicious food and enjoyment.
And now, it's time to say good bye. We opened the room and saw the face of the staffs (chef Sakamoto Ken is the one on the right of the picture), their hospitality and knowledge of the food is the best, wish I can go back there again.
Taking the taxi back to the hotel, my heart was so warm, today we're so happy with food, friends and the people that we met, I think we're blessed.
The next day, after having so much food and happiness, we decided to take a break from proper meal, haha.
We started our day (late as always ^^), at Kyoto station (it's opposite to the hotel).
There is a place call MALEBRANCHE CAFÈ ( マールブランシュ カフェ) one of cafe that we didn't have a chance to eat there on our last trip. This shop is a famous and legendary western style bakery from Kitayama (北山 (京都市)) .
Gateau Matcha (ガトー抹茶) plate is one of recommended sweet that you should try.
The rich (and thick) gateau served with yuzu sauce and whipped cream, and it's one of our breakfast.
The second one that we chose was french toast, thick slice of bread served with vanilla ice cream and maple syrup.
The last one, 恋するりんご or Apple in love.
It's the first sweet from this shop that we tasted it 2 years ago, and I was so happy to find that it's still delicious and made me fall in love with this bakery again.
Because the raining was pouring, we changed our plan from going to Arashiyama (嵐山), to spend the day shopping in Kyoto station and around this area.
You can get lost in this huge station, there are many shopping malls and one large Isetan Jr. Or going outside of the building there are BIC CAMERA JR Kyoto Station Store (I got load of games from here ^^). and Yodobashi Camera Multimedia (ヨドバシカメラ), where you can make a lot more tax free shopping.
So you don't have to ask me, I did enjoy this moment.
Many famous brands have their own special line of pot and or color that sell only in Japan, and it's my chance to take them home, ^^.
Walking and shopping, this little Danish heart were one of our fuel. The shop: Andersen – Danish Heart is in the B1 (the first basement floor of the Isetan Jr).
Delicious Danish pastry filled with raspberry preserve and baked into little heart shape, I could have a lot of them!.
|One of delicious hamburger restaurant in the station|
The dinner time was coming close, but we still couldn't eat anything properly. So, we crossed the road to the Aeon mall Kyoto, for more shopping, haha.
And finished out day in food court on the forth floor of the Aeon mall Kyoto, started with takoyaki (550 yen) from Tsukiji Gindako (築地銀だこ), simply food that you will enjoy.
The one that I like was rice with roast beef rice bowl (890 yen). Roast beef served with and egg yolk serve with salad from Roast beef star ローストビーフ星 . It's very yummy ^^. Eating in food court, there is a thing that you have to remember, don't forget to take the plate and tray back to the shop and do keep the table clean (they provide towel) by wipe it before leaving the place.
We ended this (shopping) day when the shop was close, and walked back to the Hotel on a cold, cold night with load of shopping bags in our hand. Next day, we will leave Kyoto for Otsu (大津市) but before that we still had more plan to spend time in Kyoto, and it's a view that we won't forget (and hope you will love it to).