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Girljin in Japan By Rachel Tranter Davies
Japanese-European Fusion Food in Kyoto




Everyone knows that Kyoto is the birthplace of Kaiseki cuisine. Kyoto is famous for its fabulous Japanese food and fresh ingredients grown and reared in the wider prefecture, but it's also a hotspot for culinary innovation, with a number of restaurants combining Japanese tradition with modern European style dishes, to create some of the most interesting (and delicious) fusion food around. Here are a few of my favourites:


Fudo
Fudo, an Italian style space, whose chef spent a year honing his culinary skills in Spain, is tucked away in a basement near Kawaramachi Oike. The decor is modern Japanese with counter style seating around an open kitchen to watch the chef at work. Dishes are meticulously crafted and include combinations from natto (fermented soy beans) sauce with bonito to Kyoto duck and shiso (Japanese herb) gnocchi. It's a thesaurus of flavours, some that sound as though they shouldn't work, but trust me, they do. They also have a great wine selection, with many celebrated home-grown options.

Basement floor of the building, on the east side of Fuyacho, north of Oike; 17:00-1:00 am; Closed Tues.



Enboca Kyoto
Enboca Kyoto, a pizza fusion place, housed in a stunningly renovated machiya, that serves seriously good value course dinners, fusing traditional Italian style appetizers (think cured hams and grilled Kyoto vegetables) with perfectly-cooked pizzas topped with Japanese ingredients. Lotus root, sansho (Japanese pepper), tiny dried prawns and miso are just some of the toppings on offer, all served straight from their authentic pizza oven on crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside Napoli style dough.

On the west side of Nishinotoin, south of Rokkaku; Lunch only Sat., Sun. & national holidays 11:30-14:00 (L.O.), Dinner 17:00-22:00 (L.O.); Closed Tues. & Wed.



Maker Kyoto
Maker Kyoto is based around sharing. Seated around a communal table, guests are prepared seasonal tapas style dishes, from grilled lotus root to fennel chicken with pickled radish and chrysanthemum pork belly soup. The flavours are carefully thought out and dishes are a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. There's a real charm to the place and the exposed ceiling and concrete walls give an edgy, informal vibe. They also hold a host of popups throughout the year, from plant-based cooking to macrobiotic cooking to freshly foraged and baked goodies. It's all happening here.

On the south side of Bukkoji, east of Higashioji; Lunch & Cafe only Fri. & Sat. 11:30-16:00, Dinner 18:00-24:00; Closed Mon. & Tues.; www.makerkyoto.com



Rachel is a food, drink and travel writer. Originally from England, she recently relocated to Japan and is now finding her feet in Kyoto. You can find her blogging tweeting and instagramming her experiences at Girljin in Japan.