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Girljin in Japan By Rachel Tranter Davies
Kishin Kitchen
Beautiful Japanese breakfast in a refined setting


Tucked away on a side street in Gion is a truly hidden treasure for experiencing an authentic Japanese breakfast in a serene setting that allows you to appreciate this first (and most important) meal of the day.


Housed in the ground floor of a small design hotel in a quiet residential area close to the more bustling Hanamikoji-dori Street, the interiors are as you'd expect -cool and refined. Modern minimalism is what greets you at Kishin Kitchen, along with smiling staff and a charming ambience in which to sit back and sink into their tasty offerings.



The menu is simple, a set breakfast served from 7:00 until 14:00 in the afternoon, offering fine Japanese staples; including local Ohara pickled vegetables, perfectly cooked Japanese rice and an amuse bouche of Kyoto yuba (bean curd skin) atop seasonal Kyoto vegetables, accented with a dot of fresh wasabi to cut through the creamy deliciousness of the dish.

After the amuse, you are offered a choice of main soup dish; meat, fish or vegetable (which is vegan friendly). I opted for the vegetable broth and was presented with a clear yet flavour-filled soup stuffed with enoki mushrooms, Japanese pumpkin and mountain potato, which has a gloriously soft and slightly chewy texture when boiled, similar to that of mochi (rice cake).



My dining companion chose the white miso and pork soup which looked equally impressive, juicy slices of pork amongst wedges of carrot and daikon (white radish) steeped in the slightly sweet miso soup. Heavenly. There's also a small a la carte selection to enhance the set offering, from grilled mochi rice cakes with miso to local pickled plums that have the perfect balance of umami and sour.

A highlight for me here is the Kishin presentation. The ceramics on which the dishes are served being just as important as the food itself. So much so that you're presented with a selection of rice bowls to choose from for your dining experience, the history of each described in detail by the staff. My pick was a pretty porcelain piece that at some point in its past was dropped and broken, but as the Japanese have a way of healing and celebrating imperfections, had been beautifully repaired in a method known as kintsugi, whereby the cracks are lacquered back together and highlighted with gold powder.



Everything here comes together to create a unique breakfast experience that is both formal yet relaxed, quiet but interesting and oozes wabi-sabi allure. The food is topnotch and there's an online English reservation system that just adds to the effortless appeal of the place.


Kishin Kyoto
Open: 7:30-14:50 (L.O. 13:30); Closed Thur.; Hana-Touro Hotel Gion 1F (555 Komatsu-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto); Tel: 075-525-8500; They have branches in Tokyo and Kamakura; www.kishin.world


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.