Kyoto is known for their quality tofu. When I first brought up the idea of going for a tofu meal in Kyoto, K's reaction was "Seriously? All tofu?". He likes his meats so the idea of having 4 or 5 courses of tofu probably made him think that 1) that's one expensive meal for just tofu and 2) i'm probably still going to be hungry after the meal cause how filling can tofu be?
Feeling determined, I did some research and came across this place called Shoraian (松籟庵). From what I read, this restaurant was located in the middle of nowhere (on the side of the mountain past the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest) and you probably won't be able to tell that it's a restaurant even if you walked right past it (see pictures for reference). The tofu tasting menu however, looked amazing and I knew we had to come try this out.
We made a reservation before we left for Japan as I read that they have very limited space and they are only open for lunch. The reservation was made for 1PM (just to be on the safe side.. in case we got lost) and luckily, we made it there with 5 minutes to spare! It was a really cold day in Kyoto, so we were ready to get inside and warm up after hiking up from the bamboo forest to the restaurant (about 30 minutes with GPS).
|When we got inside this unassuming restaurant, we were quickly brought into our own private tatami room where warm electric blankets and hot green tea awaited. We chose to try the $48USD tasting menu that day as it had quite a good variety. While we waited for the food to come, I couldn't help but notice how beautiful the scenery was from our dining room. We overlooked a flowing river and were surrounded by mountains. It was all too serene.|
|With a quick knock on the door by our server, the tofu started to arrive. First an appetizer, a tofu which they served to us with some sweet plum wine. It was very creamy and had a custard like texture. Then came the assorted tofu which was almost too pretty too eat. This dish included tofu as well as some seafood and vegetables. The next dish was the "special" which was inspired by the owner's artwork and calligraphy. The Kyo-ryori seasonal selection that followed was this beautifully made tofu stacked from endless paper-thin layers of soy bean curd. We were blown away by the craftsmanship. The Yudofu that came next is the signature dish of all tofu cuisine in Kyoto. I would also say that this is probably the simplest dish of the entire tasting menu as it involves cooking silky smooth blocks of tofu in a pot of boiling water until the tofu starts to jiggle (or dance as our server explained). This is then followed by an Agedashi tofu and finally, some awesome tofu ice cream.|
|We were both so full and satisfied after this meal. Needless to say, this was an amazing experience and for the price, it was well worth it!|