Ochazuke by Kyoto cuisine restaurant which dedicates their menu to Ujicha.
Text : Keiko Nakamura / Photo : Yuki Sato
Kyoryori Ujigawa, which was established in 1935, is a Kyoto cuisine restaurant located at the entrance of Byodoin Temple Omotesando and near by Ujigawa River. People are going back and forth right in front of the restaurant. We went inside to be away from the street noises. The company president, Tsunekazu Matsui guided us to the third floor, formal Japanese room called ‘Ujibashi’ and a spectacular stream of Ujigawa River came into our eyes immediately. It was a bit surprising since we could not see it at the first floor. Mr.Matsui said, “You can see fresh green outside at the beginning of summer and red and yellow leaves in Autumn. The mountains colorize the river beautifully in each season.”
We sat on a window seat facing to the river and ordered ‘Ujichazuke’ which is served in weekdays only and also they use a rare tea leaves for this meal. It is ‘Gyokuro-genmaicha (high-quality green tea with brown rice tea’ from Tsujiri-ichihonten. He said, “This is the tea leaves that I could not even find at any tea stores here in Kyoto.” First, we tasted its rich flavor with a Japanese tea cup and amazingly, the flavor itself soaked into our body right away and almost forgot that we were really tired of waking around. Second, we poured this tea onto a rice which has 5 different colored Japanese crackers and it matches perfectly with rice along with sweet and rich flavor. Finally, we eat rice with home-made boiled Japanese pepper which has a full flavor of Yamabuki and Japanese bamboo. It makes ochazuke tastier and we wanted more. Mr.Matsui said, “Ochazuke might be not enough for a lunch, probably it is good for afternoon.”
For lunch, a lot of customers order ‘Ujigawa-bento’ which has tempura and sashimi and ‘Konabe-chaudon’ which has machha udon. These menu also has ‘Inari sushi with tea leaves’ and ‘tea leaves tempura’ which is limited from May till October. Sounds perfectly Uji speciality. ‘Inari sushi with tea leaves’ has a bitter flavor but it goes with a sweet sushi rice actually. Wrapped in a Oage (deep fried bean curd) and you can see what’s inside. Tea leaves cannot be ignored from the look and the taste.
Mr.Matsui told us, “Our concept is how we can use Ujicha into our dishes. Matching a bitterness with sweetness is harder than making a sweet somehow.” Our ochazuke was created after we went through so many fails. We selected the best tea leaves and made it very simple in order to taste the tea out of everything. We thought that this ochazuke was a gift of their long experience by looking at a surface of the river.
ADDRESS : 2-2 Ujirenge Uji City (MAP)
PHONE : +81(0)774-22-2628
HOURS : 11:00 a.m. ~ 6:30 p.m. (L.O.)
CLOSED : Irregular holidays
WEB SITE : http://ujigawa.com/