Japan Times labels the cuisine served as Modern Kaiseki. I have to agree. It is extremely good fine dining but accessible even to those who do not speak Japanese and is relaxed to the point that some may call it an Izakaya. But the food is just too fine. It is Kaiseki dining of our time.
We did not ask for a set course when we made the reservation but asked our friendly waiter who spoke American to put something together for us for about JPY5000 per person when we got there. He gladly obliged.
What resulted was an excellent 10 course dinner which used the finest ingredients of the season.
- spinach and chicken in sesame sauce
- bonito, sea bream and squid
- Chinese cabbage salad and ground peanuts in a soya sauce dressing.
The use of honey roasted ground nuts balanced against the salty dressing and the crunch of the peanuts combined with that of the cool crisp cabbage made for a refreshing but zesty taste.
Kyoto Taste (a reflection of owner-chef's Keiji Mori's roots):
- A Kyoto traditional bun (made from yam) and stuffed with wild duck and lily bulbs in a dashi stock. Clean tasting despite the fried bun and wild duck confit but warming to the soul from the great dashi.
- grilled special free range chicken with salt and yuzu pepper. A clear winner.
- japanese omelet including soup stock. Juiciest omelet I've ever had and a clear sign of the high standards in culinary skills.
- grilled mackeral preserved in rice bran. So lightly grilled we could have mistaken it for a broiled dish. And the sweet potato was an excellent contrast.
- assorted autumn vegetable tempura. The maitake mushroom and sweet potato were my favourites.
Special rice (cooked for 30 minutes) - served with dried sardines and green peppercorns, salmon roe and braised mushrooms and konbu. The rice is specially cooked in a Japanese claypot and is served fully and soft but not mushy. Perfect use of the season's harvest. Since we did not manage to finish it all, they kindly made the remainder into rice balls and put it in the prettiest doggy bag with white sakuras monogrammed on an orange background.
- cheese cake with dark cherry sauce
- steamed custard pudding with a Japanese black sugar syrup
Both were great in their own right and a perfect sweet ending to the night, accompanied by their fragrant genmai ocha.
Immense quality for the price - impossible value!
For directions and other contact information, go to http://maru-mayfont.jp/info/index.html
Aoyama KT Building B1F
5-50-8 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
(03) 6418 5572