Enjoy the peaceful air of Kaiseki Komuro with flavors of cha-kaiseki, a meal served during a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Since opening in 2000, the two Michelin star restaurant has become a gem for urban gourmands that long to immerse themselves in the beauty of the seasons. Presented like paintings on antique tableware, every single one of Chef Mitsuhiro Komuro’s dishes makes you pause and embrace the moment.
Riding on his experience as the catering chef to the head family of the Enshu-ryu school of Japanese tea ceremony, Komuro opened his restaurant with a vision to serve guests with authentic cha-kaiseki cuisine. Also a former chef at Wako, a kaiseki establishment, he has also authored several cookbooks, in which he shares his extensive culinary knowledge and ideas.
Relocated to the current location in 2018, Kaiseki Komuro is hidden inside a house on a quiet residential block in Kagurazaka. The long walkway of bamboo hedges lead guests to the picturesque entrance. Designed by a Kyoto architect Tetsu Kijima, the sukiya-style architecture uses traditional craftsmanship and authentic material like hinoki wood and Juraku walls.
On the first floor, the main room with the open kitchen is set with an L-shaped counter that seats just ten guests. The counter is adjacent to a window that looks onto a lovely Japanese garden where you can enjoy the view of seasonal plants. The row of Niels Moller chairs adds an elegant feel to the space. There are also three private rooms on the second floor that are perfect for small gatherings. If you remove the dividers, the rooms can be converted into a bigger room that fits as many as 18 people.
Thanks to the experience at Wako, Komuro has accumulated a depth of knowledge about tableware, making him a serious collector. He has shelves of antique pieces as well as contemporary works of artists such as Suda Seika and Tosai Sawamura. He also has a number of Wajima lacquerware with maki-e gold powder designs and donabe pots by Ippento Nakagawa from Kumoigama.
Enjoy the peaceful air of Kaiseki Komuro
Kaiseki Komuro’s omakase meal celebrates the beauty of four seasons. The menu follows a traditional style, beginning with an appetizer, followed by soup, sashimi, grilled dish, kuchikawari, boiled dish, rice, and dessert. Thanks to the chef’s bottomless curiosity to find new ingredients and create new recipes, his cuisine is constantly evolving.
“My mission is to find ways to convey the arrival of each season using ingredients in their most natural forms,” he says. “I’m constantly asking myself, ‘How do I create the most authentic cuisine?’”
The chef first devotes himself to making dashi, the heart of traditional Japanese cuisine. He bathes kombu seaweed from Hokkaido in water to infuse its elegant umami, and adds freshly shaved hongare bonito flakes from Makurazaki to deepen the flavor. Depending on the season, he also uses additional ingredients like grilled pike conger bones.
Served in a marble-patterned glass bowl is a beautiful sea urchin appetizer. Morsels of fresh sea urchin are mixed in a clear tomato-flavored jelly with an assortment of seasonal ingredients like corn, pen shell, matsutake mushrooms, tiny micro tomatoes and cucumber, hasu-imo taro stalk and myoga ginger. Every bite brings about different combinations of textures and flavors.
The hassun platter is a tapestry of seasonal delicacies. Packed neatly in a narrow rectangular plate are pieces of slow-cooked octopus, pike conger and kuruma shrimp hidden inside a hoozuki lantern plant, pike conger and cucumber salad in sesame vinaigrette, egg squares, shrimp with pickled blowfish eggs, monkfish liver in plum wine jelly, Manganji chilli pepper stuffed with salt-water eel and a sweet piece of apricot.
The day’s sashimi is Japanese flatfish. Caught off the shores of Miyagi Prefecture, the soft white fish is served next to pieces of skin and fin, offering a variety of textures. The sashimi is served fresh, not matured, to bring out its delicate flavor, and drizzled with soy-citrus sauce and plum paste.
One of Komuro’s favorite summer ingredients is pike conger. In a broth dusted with kuzu root starch, a piece of the seasonal fish is wrapped around into a thick roll. Soaking up the umami of the broth, the fatty fillet is moist, tender and sweet. The slices of muskmelon add a refreshing accent.
Sweetfish from Katsura River, which runs through the western outskirts of Kyoto, is grilled to perfection on top of a portable shichirin charcoal grill. Cooked over a bed of bamboo leaves, the aromatic smoke fills the room.
For the rice dish, he steams pike conger rice in a large black donabe pot. Infusing every drop of umami from the dashi made using fish bones, the grains are mixed in with shaved gobo burdock roots, deepening the flavor even more.
Besides the central Toyosu market, Komuro sources many Kyoto vegetables from local vendors. Matsutake mushrooms are shipped directly from a grower in Tamba in Hyogo Prefecture. Fresh seafood comes from a fishmonger in Akashi, also in Hyogo. The variety of pike conger that he likes is fed with small fish known as konago, or sand lance, and the season lasts until about the first week of September.
The chef visits growers in local communities in search for the best seasonal produce, and tries to convey their passions through the cuisine. He loves the shirako takenoko bamboo shoots grown by a farmer in Tsukahara in Kyoto and has found excellent vendors for wild suppon softshell turtle, Japanese eel and various kinds of mushrooms. He also loves the quality of the rice he sources from Onoda Farm in Hakushu, Yamanashi Prefecture.
“I chose this particular brand because of the water,” he explains. “Rice grown with good natural water is simply so delicious.”
The exclusive sake selection is made by Sakacho liquor store in Kasukabe in Saitama Prefecture. They send the restaurant some great vintages including seasonal sake. “I visit multiple breweries during the peak fermentation season to hear about the sake makers impression on the year’s vintage, while sensing their passions and the energy in the space,” he says. The restaurant also stocks a number of vintages from Katsunuma wine region in Yamanashi Prefecture such as Grace Wine. “I think wines made in Japan pair best with Japanese cuisine,” the chef comments.
Be mesmerized by shelves of a century-old Baccarat glassware that Komuro collected from an antique store in Kyoto. Without hesitation, he loves to serve sake to his guests using his favorite pieces. His dishes are also served using fine tableware, including some that deserve to be displayed in a museum. “I have an addiction for collecting things,” he confesses, adding that he has at least 50 different cutting knives. “I want my guests to experience what honmono feels like.”
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥8,000
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥8,000