It’s very unlikely we would have known this restaurant if it wasn’t recommend by Yasuko’s friend Mayumi, a food fanatic who travels hundreds of miles for a good meal and who, unfortunately, couldn’t join us. It would have been close to impossible to find that hidden gem in the picturesque backyard of Ishibei-kōji without our friendly guido-san Yasuko.
But then we stood in front of Mame-cha. A pretty, old building, lit like any other, with just a small sign in Kanji on the left. That’s it. No big banner shouting at you to get in, no menu open for your evaluation in front of the door. No plastic food display. Nothing of the usual stuff at all. Originally, restaurants in this area accepted guests based on recommendation by existing clients only. It has changed since. Yasuko hesitated two seconds as she wasn’t sure if we were at the right place. That was enough for the sliding door to open and for the host to bow followed by the usual “Irashaimase” (welcome).
A (food) journey was about to start.
Food experiences are hard to put in words. But we all agreed, that this was probably the most refined meal, with attention to every detail, without overdoing it, we remember. Prime raw material turned into a series of sublime dishes. The pictures speak for themselves.
We were just knocked out. Next Time in Kyoto, we will go again.
Funny little side story: We were sharing the room with a Paris loving Japanese Facebook group. The room got a bit quiet when we started to talk in French among us. After a while, one group member had the courage to talk to us in French, which is very rare in Japan, we exchanged a couple of sentences and, not that rare in Japan, restaurant recommendations.