Monk in Kyoto belongs to a young Japanese cook called Yoshihiro Imai, who has his very own philosophy when it comes to food. When he prepares the dishes for his customers, he asks himself: “Is it possible to express the beauty and the life of the vegetable; to invoke such feelings as the sunlight, the moisture of the soil, the blowing of the wind?” – After dinner at Monk in Kyoto, I would have like to tell him, that yes, it is in fact possible. So, let me tell you more about our dinner experience and hopefully inspire you to visit Monk in Kyoto if you should ever find yourself in this great city.
A Truly Special Dinner Experience
Upon arriving, Yoshihiro Imai seated us right at the counter of the small restaurant. Sitting there we were in for more than a treat. Right before our eyes, he prepared the seven courses for a tasting menu of wonderful, seasonal, fresh and local cuisine. While cooking he, explained a lot about his methods and the individual dishes he served us.
He served the first catch of Bonito of the season, decorated the dishes with herbs and flowers foraged on the outskirts of Kyoto and prepared vegetables picked up at farms and markets around Kyoto. The pizza was topped with mozzarella from a Japanese cheesemaker and made from the finest Japanese flour. For a few exceptions, all dishes were prepared in a stone oven, the centre of the small kitchen space behind the counter.
Apart from the perfect dishes on our plates, there was another thing that delighted me: Upon arriving the space behind the counter was filled with produce. By the end of the night, almost all of it had found its way into the dishes. Anything that was left over was meticulously packed up for the next day. There was no food waste whatsoever, and you could feel the respect and love for food that prevails in this place.
Some Impressions from Our Dinner
Here are a few impressions from our dinner at Restaurant Monk in Kyoto that hardly do the beauty of this place and Yoshihiro Imai’s culinary creations justice:
Getting to Restaurant Monk in Kyoto
Restaurant Monk is located right next to the Philosopher’s Path in the northern Higashiyama district of Kyoto.
Restaurant Monk in Kyoto
147 Jodojishimominamida-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto,
Come between 5:30pm and 20:30pm, stay until 11pm.
Make a reservation in advance via firstname.lastname@example.org or 075-748-1154 as there is limited seating.
Circle by Yoshihiro Imai
If you cannot make it to Kyoto, check out “Circle” the cookbook by Yoshihiro Imai in which he shares some of his recipes.