Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Adventure #115: Okutan 奧丹 (Kyoto)

We didn't want to leave Kyoto without having a tofu meal.  The one we had back in 1996 was incredible but sadly we didn't remember where we went.  So, here we were, back in Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka near Kiyomizu temple to Okutan, a restaurant famous for its tofu.

We had a table by the window with a view of the very nice courtyard. Just like this picture. A very nice dining experience.

The lady showed us 2 set menus.  This one, Special Tofu Course for Yen4,200.

And this other, Yudofu Course for Yen3,150.  It appeared from the pictures that there were more to eat in the former. So, we ordered 2 of the Special Tofu Course for ourselves and a Yudofu Course for the older one.  The little one (who is not a veggie eater wanted to wait and see)

Yam soup (left) and sesame tofu (right).  The yam soup which was served cold was nice although the texture was a bit unusual - slimy.  The older one liked it though but G didn't.  G and I preferred the sesame tofu.

Grilled tofu with sweet miso. An interesting combo.

Vegetable tempura. Light and crispy.

The tofu came in simmering hot water. The accompanying sauce was kept warm by submerging in it in the pot.  We were told to start by eating just the tofu - to taste the favour and texture of the tofu. Then eat with the accompanying soy sauce and chopped spring onions. 

The tofu was good but was a bit more rustic than we had expected and remembered from our last visit.  The tofu we remembered from 16 years ago was silky smooth. Maybe our memories playing tricks....

By now, I am getting a little curious as to the difference between the Special Tofu Course and the Yudofu Course because we got 3 of everything. I reopened the menu and started counting the dishes. Exactly the same! So, why the difference in price? Tried to make sense of it by reading the Chinese characters. The only thing I can see was "無農藥" (no insecticides) in the description for the Special Tofu Course. So we paid more for "organic" tofu???

The lady must have thought we were such bad parents as we ordered organic for ourselves and non-organic for the kids!

Rice and pickles to eat with the tofu.

The ambience and decor of the restaurant was certainly top notch and so was the very attentive service by the kimono clad waitresses.  On the food front, the quality was definitely pretty good but I think our expectations were set much higher.  If you are looking for a traditional tofu meal, we would recommend this place and as long as you don't set the bar too high, you won't be disappointed.

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