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Exploring Kyoto's Kitchens
Lorimer Kyoto

Just south of Gojo, tucked away down a traditional side street is a new Japanese breakfast offering from the folks behind New York hotspots OKONOMI and YUJI Ramen.

Opening earlier this year, the renovated machiya is bright and airy with a beautiful open kitchen where, on my visit, the chefs were busy prepping fresh fish and homemade tsukemono (Japanese pickles). The menu at LORIMER KYOTO is simple and built around the concept of ''mottainai'' - zero waste cooking.

Named after the L Train stop in Brooklyn, where the company's mottainai mission began, LORIMER is a destination for Shoku Iku: education through food. Not only a Japanese Breakfast cafe, they also house a dedicated teaching kitchen on their second floor, offering classes from knife sharpening to sushi making, fish butchery to ramen broth brewing. The open-style kitchen and easy atmosphere made dining here such an enjoyable experience, with chefs who clearly knew their way around preparing fish.

In the cafe, the menu is focused around traditional Japanese style cuisine called Ichiju Sansai, literally meaning, ''one soup, three dishes.'' In the LORIMER kitchen, their Ichiju Sansai offering consists of seven-grain rice served with miso soup, a roasted fish dish (of which there were some options to choose from), vegetables, and an egg dish. Ichiju Sansai is the epitome of a healthy and balanced diet and probably the backbone to the long-lifespan we have come to associate with Japan.

What makes LORIMER even more impressive is that they use locally and sustainably sourced produce from purveyors with whom they have great relationships. They poach or steam, or torch and roast without butter and oil, so flavors are light and clean, meaning it's an ideal energy-filled start to the day with no feeling of sluggishness.

The selection of fish changes daily, always prepared in four different ways: shio-yaki (salt-roasted), saikyo miso (sweet miso), and kombu-jime (dry kelp cured). Aside from this, everybody gets the same set meal, just like sitting down to a family meal. Reservations are not accepted for breakfast but must be made in advance for classes.

Lorimer Kyoto: Tel: 075-741-6439; Weekdays 7:30 -14:30, Weekends 8:30-15:30; Closed Wed.; www.lorimerkyoto.com