Kikunoi is located in Tokyo’s Akasaka district, this establishment combines the essence of both kappo and ryotei style restaurants. It serves proper Kyoto cuisine without pretension or affectation. The food, the tableware, the furnishings, the teahouse-style façade . . . all represent the utmost in refinement, embodying the grace of Kyoto hospitality. Michelan awarded 2 star to Akasaka Kikunoi
Following are from the book “KAISEKI” The Expquisite Cuisine of Kyoto’s Kikunoi Restaurant by Yoshihiro Murata.
What is Kaiseki?
The word kaiseki originally had little to do with cooking or tea. The kai means “bosom” and seki means “stone,” and the term comes from the habit of monks in training to carry a heated stone in their robes, the warmth of which was intended to stave off hunger. Over the years, the word came to mean light mealsto ward off the pangs of an empty stomach.
The cuisine’s connection with tea began with Sen no Rikyu(1522-1591), the most renowned master of the tea ceremony. The high caffeine content of the powdered green tea was almost too intense to drink on a empty stomach, so tea ceremony practitioners began serving snacks to better enable guests to enjoy their tea.
Rikyu’s course was very simple at first – a bowl of miso soups and three side dishes – but the cooking became more elaborate as other side dishes were added. Although the style of kaiseki created in restaurants like Kikunoi is based on Rikyu’s philosophy, as chefs we mus focuson our customers’ enjoymenht of the food, so the structure of our courses differs greatly from the tea master’s.
Today we distinguish between courses specifically for the tea ceremony -cha- kaiseki – and restaurant courses, known simply as kaiseki. There is another styel, Kyo-kaiseki, based on Kyoto’s traditional local cuisine, including shojin-ryori vegetarian temple food. In a ciry as small as Kyoto, of course, we have seen much overlapping of kaiseki and these local dishes, so I would have to say my meals are part of the Kyo-kaiseki traditions. (Murata)
In this book, chef Yoshihiro Murata illustrated seasonal format-the style of cooking that began as tea ceremony accompaniment and developed into the highest form of Japanese cuisine. Spring, summer, autumn, winter . . . nature delivers her finest blessings through the changing face of the four seasons. At Kikunoi, they treat each of our dishes as an expression of life itself, never forgetting how much we owe nature.
At Akasaka Kikunoi, lunch kaiseki starts from 10,000 yen and dinner starts from 15,000 yen up to 20,000 excludes tax, service charge and drinks. Not only food is fabulous in every way, but also it entertain your eye just look at how it is artistically assorted in beautiful Japanese ware. Price of 20,000 which is about $160 in today’s exchange rate is a bargain whey you think of how much time chef spent to prepare those delicate dishes. Please try Kikunoi Akasaka or Kyoto Honten when you visit Japan.
6-13-8 Akasaka, Minato-Ku Tokyo 107-0052
Tel: 03-3568-6055 http://kikunoi.jp/english/store/akasaka/
Murata, Yoshihiro. Kaiseki: The Exquisite Cuisine of Kyoto’s Kikunoi Restaurant. Tokyo: Kodansha International, 2006. Print.