A traditional Japanese cuisine that gives you directly its taste of the ingredients and makes you feel coming back again.
Text : Keiko Nakamura / Photo : Kanako Takimoto
‘Mirei’, a calm appearance stands out conspicuously in Gosho-minami area that refined stores blend into the streets. This Japanese cuisine restaurant was opened in May, 2016 by Mr. Yuzo Nakao, who trained himself 14 years at some traditional Japanese cuisines in Kyoto. Probably, you might feel awkward in stepping inside, but you don’t have to worry for anything since the owner, Mr. Nakao will welcome you nicely with Nagasaki dialect. It looks perfectly a refined traditional Japaese cuisine with wooden counter, but the atmosphere are more like a stylish bar with jazz music.
They serve 50~60 daily meals such as appetizers, sashimi, broiled fish, boiled dishes, fried dishes, and rice dishes. They also have 9 dishes course for 8,640 yen, but the owner said, “What I want the customer order is an a la carte menu. I actually prepare every dish and genre that you feel like eating”. There are not only the customers who come here first, but also people use this restaurant as they like. “We have regular customers who come here later to drink sake with a few dishes. My concept on this restaurant is like people could step inside without any hesitation and any ways the customers want”.
He served me a la carte dish with a seasonal ingredient which is recommended for the Gion festival season. I ordered appetizer, ‘steamed abalone’, which cooked for 3~4 hours and the texture is very soft but also nicely chewy. Right next to it, there is a seasonal stuff that changes from day to day. Today, I had a red spinach and watercress from Ohara. ‘A soup of Hamo and Junsai’ was cooked with boiled Hamo (conger eel) from Awaji, Hyogo, covered starch and added Junsai (water shields) inside. Very elegant taste. I enjoyed a fresh texture of Hamo and 2 different types of texture, which are jelly and crunchy taste, that Junsai has. Broiled fish was ‘Ayu (sweet fish)’. Even though the best season passed already for a little bit, but it was grilled really well with charcoal fire, I was able to eat its bones as well.
The other concept the owner has on his dishes was coming from a style that he extracts a taste of every raw ingredient. He said, “I don’t like to cheat on my dishes with seasoning and even a design and coloring too much. I only focus on cooking every ingredient in order to extract its true taste”. I thought that he was able to do this because he goes to a market everyday and buy in all these foods through his eyes and experiences. I saw Karatsu ware, chinese old dyed ceramics, wares made by modern artists... He also said, “I collected them all at antique stores in my holidays”. These wares are all amazing quality but it doesn’t show off themselves more than its food inside. While I was thinking, “I would like to tell about this place to someone right away, but at the same time I feel I like to keep it on my own” and “when I come back here next time, I really want to eat this and that…”, one of the summer nights was quietly getting late.
ADDRESS : 143-2 Kameya-cho, Muromachi Higashi-iru, Takeyamachi-dori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto City (MAP)
PHONE : +81(0)75-251-2007
HOURS : Noon ~ 2:30 p.m. (L.O. 1:30 p.m. Reservation required for mini course) 5:00 p.m. ~ 10:30 p.m. (L.O.10:00 p.m.)
Lunch time will start from July 1st.
CLOSED : Wednesday