Dinner at 東山和今 Higashiyama Wakon
- Photo Views
- Meal Views
This is one of the most beautiful restaurants I have ever visited. I only once saw the space a few weeks ago when I picked up a take out during the self imposed lock down period. Then the spaces were covered with boxes, waiting to be filled with delicious food. This time however everything was different.
Once you find the entrance of this tiny restaurant which is tucked away in the quiet streets of Higashiyama Chaya, one of the geisha districts of Kanazawa, one enters a narrow pathway which opens into a beautiful garden. Then you need to find the entrance to the restaurant which is not full size so even short people need to bow to enter. Once inside you find an awe inspiring space with counter seats and two tables. The architecture is pure and refined, the windows cut low so one only sees the lower half to the garden but one gets additional light from a loan skylight which is cut into the roof. The kitchen is so small that it would fit into the studio apartment. There are up to four chefs led by Mr. Imai cook for their guests.
The cuisine is a modern take on the traditional kaiseiki. It is simple but daring, The combination of flavors is inspired, the execution perfect.
He starts you off with a dish combing sea urchin with peas and eggplant topped by vinegar jelly. The abalone is served in a lightly smokey dashi and for additional texture is covered with dried seaweed. The ayu, minutes ago swimming in a large bowl right in front of you, gets numbed with ice water and then deep fried with a ever so light batter. A batter, I might remark, rivals the ones from very famous tempura places. The journey continues until you reach the rice course which is mixed with corn and topped with unagi. Great food, genuine friendly Chefs in a very beautiful place. Go there, they deserve it.