Food (that’s big) in Japan – Kyoto Garden Sushi

Japanese food isn’t all sushi.
It’s also a weird memory from a house in Kimberley plus dishes that aren’t raw at all.

When I went to DM and book a datenight table for two at Kyoto Garden Sushi I noticed that the last time I had chatted to them to try arrange a table (that never happened – mostly because sometimes I get distracted) was exactly a year ago. So… to say this meal was a long time coming – well, you get it. I was so excited. Not one bad word had ever been said about the place (but then again, why would I go to somewhere if bad words were spoke about it?… Oh wait, there was that time we went to Racine.)

I didn’t even know where we were driving to on our big (but actually small) night out from the burbs. Pulling up in Kloof Nek Road made me smile (skew-half-not-that-funny-to-mention smile) because my blackboard list of places to visit (yes – I have a blackboard with a list) included tonight’s venue, plus the place next door (Hallelujah). At least on our next datenight we’ll know that parking is a nightmare and that all the cool kids (at The Power & Glory next door) took an uber. Granted all the cool kids aren’t living in the suburbs with a pool, a dog, 3 bedrooms and a neighbourhood watch and where uber would cost them the same as the meal itself. Also, sidenote – all the cool kids still smoke apparently. STILL. I know, I didn’t believe people still did that either. Kind of makes me wish I smoked, just so that I could be less offended about how hideous it was. Yes yes. Anyway.

Winter specials are the best way to try restaurants. Considering earlier in the day (in a marketing team discussion) I wasn’t sure I’d choose Tokyo as a destination to visit (I mean I wouldn’t say no to a free holiday there, but I wouldn’t choose it if I had a free ticket to anywhere in the world if you see what I mean?), a winter menu at a Japanese spot (that doesn’t serve coffee but does serve the most lethal -ninja-something about a shit load of alcohol-tini) is a great way to trial if you should be back for the real deal.

So trial we did.

I’ve never had miso soup before (and cue childhood memory of flat edged spoons and lanterns in a garden in Kimberely as soon as I tasted it. Ok – so maybe I have had it). Weird déjàvu (or was it an actual memory?) aside, being a little daring (need more of this in me) and ordering something I wasn’t sure of, paid off. Heavenly! In a full meal kind of way. Tuesday night in, and that’s all I’d eat.

And that was just my starter.

Ambient lighting. Clearly.

Mark had scallops – which I was invited to try (under duress and negotiations I should probably add). But I don’t think I quite get scallops. I was expecting something like a muscle or clam, but instead got the softest piece of white fish in the world. What even is a scallop? (makes note to google stuff I eat before I get bollocked by all the pescatarians in my timeline).

I chose fish and special rice (or was it rice and special fish?) as my main. Special. Why is it always ‘special’? Like menus with special fried rice (which is more Chinese than Japanese I guess but still reminded us of that ‘special’ dish we had in Hong Kong – all chicken feet and broth. Special it said. It was, but not in the right way). Mark had noodles and prawns and I can safely say I won, but let him think he did so I didn’t have to share-share. (Yep, I’m one of those girls. I don’t know when last I ordered something and didn’t expect to share half of my companions food too.)

Special. But actually really Special I mean. 

Actually I believe, besides the knock-me-down ninja sake-tini I had, I won in all the food choices this evening.

Strategically placed Ninja-tini. This was pre tasting it and discovering that a something-tini – is PURE ALCOHOL.

The highlight however, must simply be the icecream that is.. Icecream, with… Icecream. Mixed with some amazing something. Ok, just back off and trust me. I’m no food blogger type, with a vocab of foodie adjectives. I take dimly lit food photos with my iPhone. And yes, it’s only an iPhone 5. But I do know a good thing and this was it.

The icecream highlight

In fact, it was all a good thing. Flavours that were different to anything we have ever had before – this isn’t Thai, Asian, Chinese… this is unique, sensational even. Filling without the awkward unhealthiness. In fact, the food felt a perfect fit for our detoxing-juicing selves we now are. And at R170 for the Winter Special which included a glass of wine – it was great value too.

There’s more to Japanese food than just raw fish I now know. But having read other reviews, I sort of feel like I missed out on the sushi (as well as a range of other dishes we need to try!) I guess it’s time to book a table again (and hopefully not only in a year’s time), and go back to try the higher grade version of the menu.. that includes the place’s namesake .

I’m ready for that level of Japanese.

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