Born from the near impossible to book kaiseki favorite Tominokoji Yamagishi, Nijo Yamagishi is a chance to enjoy premium quality in a more casual setting, with hot pot cuisine from an exciting young chef. So much to look forward to with this Kyoto restaurant opening in autumn 2019 – a great choice, even if you’re dining alone.
Nijo Yamagishi is located just minutes from Nijo Castle, built in 1603 as a sign of shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa’s prestige with its famous nightingale floors warning of possible intruders. As dusk falls in the quiet neighborhood, exterior lighting emerges like the rising moon, beckoning you to come to this place. Alongside the restaurant name, the main signboard contains the characters for a zen saying read “nikon” and meaning right now or “the time to live is now”. It is an invitation to step inside and savor this unique moment.
The sister store of a Kyoto kaiseki favorite, Nijo Yamagishi offers the chance to try a brand-new style orchestrated by a highly accomplished chef and managed by a young husband and wife team carrying on true Japanese hospitality. Tradition oozes from the exterior of this former Japanese home and belies the sparkling new interior featuring washi Japanese paper walls and rooms that can be divided or expanded to cater to different group sizes. Removing your shoes is the first step in unwinding for your evening here. The Japanese-style interior lets you feel the tatami flooring underfoot, and guests will find extra comfort in the sunken tables with space to stretch and rest tired legs.
The main restaurant Tominokoji Yamagishi was opened in October 2015 by Takahiro Yamagishi – a veritable master of Japanese culture who holds licenses in tea ceremony, Saga Goryu flower arrangement, and calligraphy, as well as Kyoto Expert Certification. The popularity of his initial foray can be seen in the reservation books which extend years in advance and in his new Hong Kong establishment. So, where did the idea for a hot pot restaurant emerge from? The chef’s pure and simple love for the cooking style and acclaim from the many members of his team who frequently enjoyed hot pots for staff meals.
Within the more casual style of Nijo Yamagishi are endless elegant touches, including superb tableware shared with the main restaurant. The restaurant’s many fans will delight at the plans for an adjoining shop space to sell side dishes, offering the chance to enjoy signature Yamagishi flavors at home and to select a souvenir for those who weren’t able to dine with you.
Kaiseki x hot pot
Guests planning a visit to savor hot pot deliciousness will be delighted with the full-course cuisine as beautiful and delicious as at the main restaurant. In addition to monthly-changing seasonal hot pot varieties, the course includes Japanese-style appetizers appealing to both the eyes and taste buds, as well as freshly steamed plump grains of rice accented by an array of delectable toppings. In between are other kaiseki style dishes and a fried seasonal bite, and the meal concludes with sweets inspired by traditional Japanese confections.
An appetizer of kuruma prawn and white taro stems with vinegar gelee has great acidity, and with the addition of a lotus leaf, is a very cooling and calming dish. The crisp scaly surface of tilefish contrasts beautifully with the succulent flavorful middle and is complemented by aromatic toppings of myoga and green onions. Umami abounds in the beef cutlet made from A5 wagyu using a cut from the inner thigh. Close to the top sirloin cap known as ichibo, it is tender red meat with a beautiful grain, served with a sauce that has stewed for three hours made from sansho pepper buds and soy sauce.
The inaugural hot pot at Nijo Yamagishi features hamo pike conger caught that morning in Awajishima. Prepared in the traditional honegiri manner, the pieces of flesh open beautifully like flowers in the delicious dashi alongside onions, Aomori turnip, Kochi myoga and Kyoto yuba soymilk skin. Chef Yokoi has gathered exquisite ingredients from around Japan in a brilliantly cohesive hot pot. It is served with three sauces: pickled plum, white miso sesame and a salted ponzu based on shiitake dashi with kombu and sudachi and yuzu citrus for tart, refreshing flavor. Upcoming hot pots featuring ingredients that speak beautifully of the season include an autumn wild mushroom creation and Kyoto beef hot pot.
To make sure you leave with belly-filling satisfaction, Chef Yokoi serves rice dishes so incredibly good you keep eating even though you know you are full. Steamed and served in a clay pot, the plump grains can be enjoyed standalone or with toppings of shredded yuba with dried sardines, enoki mushrooms, and spicy cod roe. And for dessert, nestled in ice is a charming bamboo grass package, which when opened reveals the plump, springy texture of brown sugar mochi.
The foundation of flavor in the hot pot dashi is well-water from the Tominokoji main restaurant. To it is added two-year aged Rishiri kombu supplied through longstanding kombu trader Fukui Okui-Kaiseido and premium bonito flakes from Makurazaki. Only the best Koshihikari rice from the Kyoto Tango region is thoroughly immersed before steaming in a clay pot timed to serve at each group’s dining pace. Carefully chosen ingredients feature in each seasonal hot pot. From starring ingredients like Awaji pike conger and yuba made from soybeans grown in Miyama, Kyoto, to vegetables like turnips from Aomori, and even the smallest condiment like myoga from Kochi, Yokoi is extremely fastidious about every component that makes up a meal at Nijo Yamagishi. To complement the delicious food, the well-rounded beverage list includes wine, sake, shochu and beer.
Fans of a favorite dish called Utoi-ae from the main restaurant will be delighted to learn that they can also enjoy it here. Essentially a sashimi platter with sea urchin, fatty tuna and squid, it is accompanied by seaweed topped with rice. It can all be enjoyed as individual components or as the chef suggests, even more delectable as hand-rolled sushi. The original flavors of this playful cuisine at a slightly more casual price are evidence of the style of warm hospitality Yokoi has inherited from Tominokoji Yamagishi.
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥4,000
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥4,000