With an outpouring of love for his hometown of Miyama and a familiarity since childhood with its wild grasses and wild game born from his mother's work making deli-style dishes, Chef Futa Kanda has opened his own restaurant in a highly dignified former bar in Gion, Kyoto. Antique rosewood chairs await the patronage of geisha quarter regulars in this introduction-only restaurant, where the chef's emphasis on valuing connections is apparent in everything he touches from cuisine to ingredients, furnishings, and hospitality.
Follow an especially atmospheric cobblestone lane of the Gion pleasure quarters to Gibier MIYAMA, where the stroll dotted with paper lanterns tells you, this is Kyoto. Here, you can savor a full course of wild grasses and wild game from the Miyama region of Kyoto. An L-shaped counter with antique rosewood chairs make up the comfortable dining space. With the charcoal grill front and center, you can see, smell and hear the gentle pops of cooking — a live performance for the senses.
Owner/Chef Kanda comes from a cooking and service background at wine bars and other establishments in the geisha district. He succeeded in going independent in 2018, but that does not stop him from constantly polishing his skills and challenging himself, including entering the largest Japanese culinary competition for young chefs. Having grown up familiar with the wild grasses and game of Miyama, Kanda is well-versed in each of their flavors and peak seasons, and excels at highlighting the unique elements they offer.
Accentuate the flavours
Chef Kanda declares his mission to be putting in some extra effort to ingredients with potential to accentuate their flavours. The course consists of four dishes followed by as much as you like of your choice from 30 small plates. It is an homage to the pleasure quarter style of enjoying many delicious foods in small portions. You may or may not be surprised to hear that some guests try all 30 dishes.
The four main dishes of the chef's creations using the best ingredients from that moment: in early spring fried fish pregnant with Roe; from late autumn through winter, dear bear and other wild game chargrilled or in unique preparations like shabu shabu. The dishes mostly change monthly, but vary based on the produce sourced. After the form means a menu listing the 30 small plates is presented to you. Beef tongue stew, dear cut but, deep fried horse mackerel, salted tile fees Roe, and other meat and seafood creations. There are finishing dishes like pepper and chino of Pacific cod soft Roe, abalone in glutinous steamed rice, and even desserts like gelato and chocolate cake. It is an incredibly appetising lineup that makes it almost impossible to choose and urges you to return for a chance to try other dishes.
Fried fish containing row with watercress salad Honmoroko is a fierce native to Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture bordering Kyoto. In this dish it is lightly salted and flowered before frying in Oriel, and served on a fresh magnolia leaf with white miso and cream cheese dip. The wild watercress and sansho Japanese peppercorn barred salad has refreshing flavour accented by edible flowers.
Wafer thin slices of moon bear meat is quickly dunked in hot consommé to cook and served with XO source home-made from Q would bear meat and dried tomatoes, accompanied by nobiru Japanese garlic flowers, myoga Japanese ginger, and red shiso inflorescence.
Biwa trout and asparagus crispy skinned chargrilled trout served with a pine nut and watercress pesto. The decorative green maple leaf leaf was picked by the chef himself in Miyama.
Magnolia leaf rice. quail mince and chopped pickled red Turner is mixed through clay pot cooked rice then wrapped in a freshly shifted Magnolia leaf and tied up like a gift with blank grass. The Dese arrives wafting of the refreshing aroma of Magnolia leaf.
When it comes to ingredients the focus is not on securing the most expensive, highest end items, but on who they are coming from. Taking it a step further, chef Kanda says that for him produce is not something you procure, but rather something that is shared with you by the people who made or caught it. Dear, wild boar, duck, bear and other gibier primarily caught in the region of Miyama is shared with chef Kanda by trusted hunters. Gibier that has undergone precision bloodletting has a distinctive wild character but no unpleasant smells, prompting they didn't like it is awakened to with deliciousness here. When it comes to ayu sweetfish, honmoroko, Biwa trout and other lake fish caught by Lake Biwa fisherfolk, Chef Kanda places utmost importance on who made or caught it.
Kanda heads into the woods on restaurant holidays with staff to forage form mountain vegetables and wild grasses and plants, such as watercress, Japanese garlic, Magnolia leaf, and bracken. This is where he was raised so he knows just where to find each item. The ingredients sourced in the mountains like this are reached in aroma, deep in flavour, and so very press. Portions not used in the seasonal dishes are preserved as sources, pace and many saw — highlighting their flavours.
The extensive wine collection includes sparkling, white, red, and orange winds mostly from France and Italy. This effort has wine pairings for 8000 or 18000 yen, and wines by the glass. If you prefer a bottle, you are invited into the seller to choose your own. All with clear price labels, you can see is one to fit your budget.
Kanda’s journeys into the woods on holidays to collect wild grasses and mountain vegetables with staff are motivated by a wish to have younger generations feel the wonder of the mountains and the bountiful blessings of nature. He continues this work even though he knows it easier and less expensive to order such ingredients. For gibier, wagyu, lake fish and river fish, Kanda gains hints on the best preparations through direct contact with the hunters, fishers and growers. He feels it his role to share their feelings with diners. Kanda is compelled to use each ingredient ever so carefully, filled with gratitude for nature and knowing the producers’ ardor. He spares no effort in using every part of an animal even making cured ham from wild boar and bear.
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥5,000
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥5,000