Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Beef Donburi at the Market

On my last day in Kyoto, I spent time at Nishiki Market in the morning for some grocery shopping and to replenish my kitchen cabinet. The place was crowded as usual – with more tourists than locals these days – and after getting what I needed (some vegetables, rice and a few kitchen gadgets), I had lunch at a small restaurant nearby inside a narrow alley just a couple of blocks away.

The restaurant is called Oniku to Yasai Hachibei, which specialized in beef cuisine served in kappo-ryori style. I was going to come for dinner on my first night but unfortunately the 8-person counter was full (without a reservation), so I decided to return for lunch before I left town. The location is convenient but could be a bit tricky to find, in an alley not far away from Nishiki Market at Shijo-Kawaramachi junction with only a small shop sign outside, and inside there’s only a tight L-shaped counter that can seat 8. Food is prepared behind the counter and at the small kitchen right behind with private room upstairs.

At dinner they only have a single omakase menu with 12-13 courses of beef and offal dishes which change regularly depending on season and availability, and lunch is much simpler with a choice of 3 different courses – either burger steak or beef stew served with salad, or bowl of rice with beef and vegetables, which is what I ordered.

Took a quick 5 minutes for my order to arrive, and one can’t ask for a better-looking donburi (rice bowl). Inside on top of the cooked rice was thin slices of hanger steak (Harami in Japanese) cooked to perfect medium rare with gravy and grated daikon. There’s also a mix of seasonal vegetables – zucchini, bell peppers, pumpkin and asparagus – all pan-grilled. On the side there’s also a small dish of beef offal served as “salad” – on the day of my visit it’s ox tongue. It’s such a simple dish but done beautifully, and tasted great too. The Harami may not be the most tender cut but it surely is one of the richest and meatiest. The lunch set also came with hot drink and small pieces of chocolate truffles as petit fours at the end.

Most of the places along Nishiki Market are forgettable and swamped with people, so I am glad to have found this hidden place not far away but offered great food in the cozy space. You bet I will be coming back for dinner next time when I am in town.

When? July 5 2018
Where? Oniku to Yasai Hachibei, 577-17 Nakanomachi Shinkyogoku Shijo Noboru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
御二九と八さいはちべー 京都市中京区新京極四条上る中之町577番地17
Menu Highlights? Yasai no Harami Donburi (Rice bowl of Hanger Steak and Seasonal Vegetables)
Web: www.yagenbori.co.jp/hachibei/index2.html

No comments :