Daytime-fish shop. Nighttime-bar.
Text & Photo / Kenta Baba
BEACON KYOTO have been introducing travel plans with a concept of 'taking friends around Kyoto'.
Nishimura Sengyo-ten is one of our iconic spots that could have been featured on top of such perspective.
A spot we want people to know, daytime-fish shop that turns into a nighttime-bar; Nishimura Sengyo-ten.
You will find a signboard in front of an apartment along the Rokkaku Muromachi-dori, near Karasuma Oike area.
Don't worry that you have taken the wrong turn, you will come across a slightly bumped out part of the building just by going a few more steps further. This is Nishimura Sengyo-ten.
A cozy bar with 7 seats is waiting for you inside. Once you are in, you could feel so comfortable that a natural conversation rises with other customers.
Friendly Mr. Mimura is the owner of this place.
Nishimura Sengyo-ten started their business in Arashiyama more than 40 years ago.
Mr. Mimura's father who had been working for them had taken over the business and now they are here.
Mr. Mimura had spent his young days for bicycle and movies, and had been hopping around many restaurants and bars for work. By the time he decided to take over his father's business at the age of 30, the fish shop have been in its slump. So he opened up a bar at night.
Menu depends on the day's stock of purchase, and he writes them down on the blackboard everyday.
I started with today's appetizer plate.
For 950 yen, they offer; miso marinated eggplant & cucumber, clum shigureni (gingered slimmerd with sweetened soy sauce), marinated mackerel in nanban style, potato salad, small sardine and turnip leaf, lotus root in kinpira style and sardine boiled with ginger.
They are all soo good!
First I thought he must have learned a lot from his past workplaces, but it actually was his mother's gentle Kyoto taste recipe. He had been with him inside the bar counter until few years ago.
'A perfect plate when I want something healthy with many vegetable, and that goes well with a glass of beer'
The fish prepared by fish seller!
They offer in a full lineup of fresh sashimi, grilled and boiled style.
I ordered saba kizushi, a sushi prepared by his father who still stands with him a the fish shop during the day.
Saba sushi has become one of my favorite food in Kyoto.
Sawara no Saikyo-yaki (800 yen)
Spanish mackerel had been marinated in Kyoto's white miso for a few days before being grilled. This is Kyoto's preservative food that had been created for them to enjoy fish despite being far from sea side.
A fascinating saikyo-yaki that I enjoy with sake, and not with rice.
Their original cocktail is made from seasonal fruits. This is honey marinated Karin (Chinese quince), that is served with your choice of wine, sake or shochu. Other fruits like lemon are also made according to the season.
Although they have numbers of sake and shochu, many tends to come from brewery near the sea.
'People near the sea makes sake that goes well with seafood' says Mr. Mimura.
I've heard that Laphroaig, whisky made in Islay Island, goes great with oyster and that local people is always enjoying the two together.
X-employee of the fish shop was sitting to me. He was now working at a vegetable shop and had brought some with him. I was lucky to get some share of them.
Mukago, similar to baby potato.
Kuwai, water chestnut, is one of Kyoto originated vegetable.
Mr. Mimura had quickly cooked them both.
Another Kyoto vegetable, mukashi-negi (kind of spring onion).
It tasted so sweet just by simply grilling it.
Saying that 'these tastes the best when cooked simply', he served soup.
I realized that there is no need to look for places calling out they are offering KYOTO FOOD and KYOTO INGREDIENTS, to find Kyoto's peculiar culture. I actually need to find a place having sincere affection for Kyoto.
Once again, be cautious when looking for Nishimura Sengyo-ten.
They are located in a quiet corner, waiting for people to enjoy good food and drink calmly.
They also sell lunch boxes during the day.
ADDRESS: 130 Tamakura-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto(map)
PHONE: +81(0)75-213-1851(Please call during the open hours)