Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Kikunoi - My 1st 3 Michelin stars restaurant!!

I'll just upload photos and brief description of the dishes as I remember because I've lost the menu *sigh*.. Photos are not doing any justice to the food anyway. I failed big time at taking photos of these dishes... :( Loved the dishes, but I didn't like any of the photos that I took. None of them could show how nice the food was!! 

My sparkling sake. I liked it so much that I went around Kyoto liquor store looking for it. Bought a bottle of it back to Sydney :D Found out that the restaurant only charged little bit more than the shop which we thought was quite good because they didn't try to rip people off haha.. 

**Good news! I found the menu! haha..** So here's the Assortment of appetizers:" horse reins" sushi, ume agar-agar jelly, icefish with yuzu, tofu marinated in red-pickled ume, fuki(coltsfoot) bud marinated in miso, rapini dressed with mustard, cod roe terrine, sweet black beans, wasabi green. Many things on the plate, had never tasted any of these things before. Favourite was actually the wasabi greens. Crunchy sweet refreshing vegetable with a bit of wasabi kick. Very interesting (not to say the rest were not though..) 

Robin's sake. Very nice sake too. We wanted to buy and bring this back as well, but couldn't find it anywhere :( 

Steamed prawn, grated red turnip, ginger served in a cup with a wooden spoon. Upon serving the dish, the waitress gestured to us that we were supposed to stir and mix everything in the cup before eating. So here's photo of the stirred stuff. 

This bowl doesn't look like much, but there were many things in there Sashimi of flounder and botan prawn, prawn roe, flounder liver sauce, udo(wild mountain vegetable) curl, carrot curl, wasabi, marinated fresh nori. The sauce was something really different. Thick and creamy with intense fish flavour, looks almost like a runny peanut butter but taste nothing like it. 

Sashimi of koshini (young bluefin tuna), soy marinated egg yolk sauce. For us Malaysian who grew up on soft boiled eggs, here's the ultimate version of it. I didn't think much of the sashimi, but the egg yolk sauce... oh the sauce... I literally licked the saucer clean. It's like soft boiled egg but only the best part and it was concentrated - so much flavour and so creamy. 

Minced duck, yomogi (Japanese mugwort) dumpling, kujo onion, arrowhead root, giant turnip slice, daikon, carrot, tetragon leaf, gold leaf. Yup, I ate gold. According to the book, this was supposed to make with tortoise. I guess they ran out of tortoise, so we got duck. A lot less exotic :p 

Grilled halibut, dried karasumi (grey mullet roe), shiitake mushroom. See the "crust"? That's the grey mullet roe. Whole piece of halibut is covered with the mullet roe. Perfectly grilled. Sweet, juicy, tender fish with roes going everywhere in the mouth. 

Kumquat-wasabi sorbet. I guessed we did need the palate cleanser after having popping roes all over our mouths :) It was quite strong with wasabi flavour - a bit of the clearing the nostril action there. Very nice though. I don't understand why all the restaurants never give enough of the palate cleanser haha.. 

Steamed cod milt tofu in a san-po-kan citrus cup, red pepper, ponzu. Most unforgettable dish of the meal! That was because we didn't know what milt was haha.. Smells really good, very yummy, very soft, wobbly and creamy. 

Here's a closer look of the cod milt. It doesn't look good, but it's very very nice. Thin membrane on the outside, once bitten, the sweet creamy filling will burst and fill the mouth with it. I thought it was yum, didn't know what it was, thought it looked like a brain or intestine or some internal organs. Then I checked dictionary between dishes and found out "Fish sperm or sperm-filled reproductive gland" Luckily I checked AFTER I ate. 

Hotpot of yellowtail, tofu, shogoin turnip, kintoki carrot, kujo onion, mibuna leaf, ponzu, yuzu. By that time, we were already stuffed. Could barely finish the fish. Didn't even drink the soup. 

Last of the savoury dish - Glutinous rice steamed with anago eel, kinome herb, burdock root and white miso soup, fried burdock root, seven spice powder, pickled daikon stalk, pickled daikon leaf, red pickled chopped eggplant. I remember the pickled egg plant very sour. We were so so stuffed after this. Couldn't finish the rice. It was really good though! So we just ate really really slowly.. 

Finally.. dessert! Strawberry ice cream, strawberry soup. Digress a bit, Japan did have really really nice strawberries. The more expensive the nicer they were. Even saw some white strawberries. Not sure how they taste though. Didn't buy them because they costed like AUD25 for 9 strawberries hahaha.. So if anyone of you have tried the white strawberries let me know. I'm really curious on whether they are nicer than the red strawberries, whether they are worth the money. 

So here's my very first experience in a michelin stars restaurant. Definitely a memorable trip. Highly recommended for those who are visiting Kyoto :) However, booking can only be done via hotel. They won't accept any reservation by direct phone call. 

For more information, please visit their website at


  1. What a great experience! Everything looks so good, but it always does in Japan. I am heading back to Kyoto in August, just about to check out their website for details, may pay them a visit.

  2. Yup yup .. highly recommended :) watch out for the little old guy that come out to greet you when you arrive.. apparently it was the head chef that came out to greet us.. we didn't know... he came out to see us off too .. even helped us with our shoes... such a humble person ...

  3. Such pretty dishes are there I just can't understand that how people gets such brilliant ideas of great cooking.

    1. I know!!! Not only that they can make it taste good .. They r even artistic enough to make the dishes look so pretty like an artwork

  4. Absolutely stunning presentation, I love Kaiseki because everything is so delicate. Really wanted to go here when I was in Kyoto but it was booked out at the time :(

    1. I think we booked about a month in advance.. There r actually quite a few of Michelin stars restaurant at kyoto.. But we only managed to fit1 in our schedule (both timing n budget wise haha. . )