Food Writer Jane Lawson takes a trip down Kyoto Foodie Memory Lane

I’ve stolen an old post from my other blog eatspeakjl.blogspot.com to share with you a ryotei (traditional restaurant serving Kaiseki cuisine) I ate at around 7 or 8 years ago in Kyoto…  

I really can’t believe it was that long ago because I still remember the meal so fondly.  I’m not sure if Hayashi , or more formally Oryori Hayashi had a Michelin star when I ate there but it certainly deserved one and I’m pleased to report it’s absolutely in the book these days and looks to be better than ever.

So here’s what I had to say way back then  –  with some visual accompaniment to give you an idea of the chef’s style. All I can say is if you are in Kyoto, GO. It was very good. Get someone to book on your behalf and if possible go with a Japanese friend or guide.

 “A couple of weeks ago (as per above – 7 or 8 years ago now!) I enjoyed a wonderful Kaiseki lunch at Restaurant Hayashi with  a friend who had been wanting to check it out. I had not heard of the place before so went without expectation.

hayashi Kyoto Yuba_8407

A trio of daikon tied with kombu/rolled, twisted yuba/ preserved roe with yuzu with broad bean and chestnut

The flavours were fresh, clean and spot on. It was the type of food that feels as good for you when it hits your belly as it tastes when it passes your lips.  Some of the dishes were quite unique in their particular balance of flavours and in execution – and, I might note,  in a very good way. I can’t wait to get back there for dinner and see what they conjure.

Mochi Hayashi  Kyoto

Handmade mochi in a clear soup with baby turnip

The lunch was around 5000 yen – so pretty reasonable considering the quality of the food and the work involved. The junior chef we looked to for more information on his master’s cuisine was not the most forthcoming, possibly feeling either a little shy or annoyed by two overly-zealous foreigners – even though my dining companion’s Japanese is excellent, so details are sketchy (and to add to the mystery I didn’t write anything down as I was a little too in the moment) but the menu went something like this… 

sashimi with yuba_Hayashi Kyoto

Perfect Sashimi including an unusual addition of fresh yuba

Yurine duck_Hayashi kyoto

Yurine (Lilybulb) dumpling filled with duck meat in a thickened broth with fresh ginger

We ended the meal with matcha and wagashi (a traditional Japanese sweet) but unfortunately I was not permitted to take photos when other guests entered the room…

Oryori Hayashi (御料理 はやし)

Japan, Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto City, Kamigyo Ward, Kajiicho 448-2013
Seats 13

Open Times: 

11.30 am - 13.30 pm 1 7:30pm - 19.30 pm
Closed Wednesday

Price range: Lunch ¥5400 to ¥18,000; Dinner ¥10,800 to ¥21,600

Accepted: Cash only (service charge & tax 20%)

Smokers allowed? : No

Find a map here.

About the Author:

Prolific author, Sydney-based Jane Lawson is an authority on all things Japanese and Foodie. Owner at Zenbu Tours, when Jane isn't leading gourmet trips to Kyoto and around her beloved Japan, she is ensconced in Sydney writing and lecturing about, you guessed it, Japanese food. Find her great books, including Zenbu Zen, Tokyo Style Guide and Yoshoku here, or join her and husband Gerard Kambeck on their next luxury Kyoto Tour, May 8th to 22nd, 2018.