The view of the sukiya-zukuri architecture and Japanese-style garden, both built during the Showa period, is not one to be missed.
I had the pleasure of having lunch at Seiwasou the other day.
Seiwasou is a Japanese cuisine restaurant located in the Fushimi Ward of Kyoto City, with the closest station being the Sumizome station of the Keihan Line or the Fushimi station of the Kintetsu Kyoto Line. This was my second time ever visiting Seiwasou.
The Fushimi district is famous for its sake and is home to nearly 40 sake breweries. I definitely recommend taking a trip to this area as it offers many charming and relaxing cafes, informative museums and fun sake tasting tours.
Seiwasou’s grounds are quite extensive. The restaurant itself, one of Kyoto’s oldest establishments, is located in the center of a lush green Japanese-style garden. It is made in the rare and eye-catching sukiya-zukuri architectural style of the Showa period. A serene pond is placed at the center of its traditional Japanese-style garden and guests are welcome take a relaxing stroll under its trees.
Stepping through the gates into a new experience.
Seiwasou’s lies behind a large Japanese-style gate and you can feel the air of tradition wash over you as you take a step through them. I was greeted by the smile of the friendly staff once I entered the restaurant who led me to my private room where I ordered the 13,000 yen course for my meal. I was very excited.
All the dishes were served on this traditional tray. The first item I was served was some Japanese sake in this bright persimmon-colored cup, an appertif of sorts.
The first appetizer was a cold savory jelly with scallops and shrimp inside. It was delicious and melted wonderfully on my tongue. The red pieces that can be seen were smaller pieces of jelly made from tomatoes, and those parts had a different flavor all together. I was very impressed with the quality of the course starting from the first dish.
Another wonderful dish which was full of seasonal ingredients.
Mild-tasting Manganji sweet peppers infused with fish dashi together with deep-fried corn (this was my favorite item), baigai (Japanese Babylon shell), Hamo sushi and other seasonal vegetables. It was delightful both to the sense of sight and taste, and went perfectly together with the sake I was drinking.
Junmai Daiginjo “Seiwa no Shizuku”.
I ordered this original sake of Seiwasou’s to accompany my meal.
It is a dry sake which I enjoy and I discovered it on my first visit to Seiwasou, and could not resist ordering a bottle this time as well.
Sesame tofu soup.
The wonderful aroma of dashi wafted to my nose as I removed the bowl’s lid. It was my first time trying sesame tofu. It also contained plump pieces of hamo (conger eel) as well which was fantastically soft and creamy. The soup itself was light and brought out the flavors of the ingredients it contained.
Charcoal-grilled Ayu Sweetfish with sansho-pepper vinegar.
My host recommended that I dip the fish into the sansho-pepper vinegar, however I tasted one without doing so. I just love the savory bitterness of the head of the ayu sweetfish. The taste becomes milder down towards the tail, but I prefer the taste of the head.
I did dip the second piece into the vinegar, and to my surprise the bitterness was completely negated and became almost sweet. It was an amazing discovery.
Simmered eggplant, octopus and okra.
The dashi soup it was simmered in was rich and full of flavor. The octopus was so soft (perhaps even more so than the eggplant!) and nearly melted in my mouth. In contrast, the okra was nice and firm and added a nice accent to the dish.
The pickled dish.
The texture of the Daitokuji-fu (wheat gluten), the chewiness of the abalone, the fresh crispiness of the cucumber and the flavor of the tomato, all perfectly combined by the vinegar jelly dressing on top.
The classic and heart-warming set of rice, red miso soup and pickles was served together.
And finally, the dessert to mark the end of the course. A jelly of figs and cherries.
The clear and chilled jelly blended well with the atmosphere of the rainy day and calmed my mind even more.
The gracious restaurant also served me an extra dessert of black sugar warabi -mochi together with hojicha, roasted green tea. Made from bracken starch, this tasty traditional confection was rich and supple, and had a delightful hint of cinnamon.
Each dish I was served had its own unique flavor and I was impressed with the exquisite flavoring of each one. I was caught in the dilemma of between wanting to eat another serving of the dish in front of me, and wanting to hurry up and experience the next one.
I was also impressed with the timing in which the dishes were served which was a testament to the staff’s high level of training and perceptiveness. Everything from the service to the dishes was perfect in my book.
I later learned that “Nagashi-Somen”, the unique culinary experience of eating somen as it flows past you down a bamboo water slide, is also available to be enjoyed in the garden at a separate charge. I know what I want to do for my next visit to Seiwasou.
￥13,000 Kaiseki Course
■ Kyoto Cuisine Seiwasou
8 Yashiki-cho, Echigo, Fukakusa, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Closed: Mondays (Or the next day if Monday is a holiday)
【Lunch】12:00 p.m. ～4:00 p.m. (Last order 1:30 p.m.)
【Dinner】6:00 p.m. ～10:00 p.m. (Last order at 7:00 p.m.)
Make a reservation from below: