Thursday, August 30, 2018

Tempura Mizuki 水暉 (Kyoto, JAPAN) ★★★★☆

Like Hanagatami (花筐) at Ritz Carlton Osaka, Mizuki (水暉) at Ritz Carlton Kyoto offers four distinct experiences within one space, kaiseki, sushi, tempura and teppanyaki cuisines in an elegant, modern Japanese setting.

I was really looking forward to my meal at the 8-seat Tempura Mizuki which has just garnered their first Michelin star in last year's Michelin guide.

But first a quick tour of Mizuki before we reached the tempura bar hidden inside this spacious dining area.

I really like the traditional Japanese decor with a fine touch of modernism. The highlight is their incredibly stylish sushi bar overlooking a beautiful rock garden with the waterfall in the backdrop.

On the opposite side of the sushi bar were a number of well-appointed private rooms for those looking for some privacy.

Finally, we settled ourselves down at the tempura bar. Like I said before eight seats only so very exclusive.

Before the meal, our chef carefully went through the ingredients with us one by one.

Now, time to sit back and enjoy the show~

While our chef started to work on the first dish, we were offered a refreshing appetizer with black sesame marble tofu, sea prawns and vinegar jelly.

As soon as we finished our tofu, the first item was ready to be served. But first, a small introduction on the four types of salt to complement each tempura. From left to right, green tea salt, seaweed salt, pepper salt and lake sea salt (A dipping sauce and lemon juice also available).

Prawn head was our first dish and we were supposed to enjoy it with some sea salt and lemon juice. Very crispy, very nice.

Sea prawn - One thing we noticed immediately was how thin the batter was. It tasted as if the batter didn't actually exist. I had it with seaweed salt and lemon juice as instructed. 

Very nice and what set it apart from the other prawn tempura was the paper-thin batter.

White corn - Undisputedly the best dish of the afternoon. The white corn was so sweet and delicate working extremely with the thin batter. It's much better to eat it plain without any salt.

Sauger fish - Not bad.

Abalone mushroom - While we couldn't afford abalone, we did have the consolation prize of abalone mushroom. This was best to be eaten with the dipping sauce (and radish). 

Scallop - One of the few times I have a scallop tempura. The batter was again so thin that for a while, I felt like having a piece of lightly fried scallop.

These were best enjoyed with green tea and seaweed salt so I decided to decorate each piece with its own flavor of salt.

Eggplant - My second favorite dish right behind the white corn. This was very sweet, juicy and melt-in-the-mouth. Perfect with the Japanese miso sauce.

Beans - Had it with the dipping sauce. Not bad.

Sea perch - Slightly better than the previous sauger fish. I'm not a fan of fish so...

Green pepper - I'm guessing it's shishito pepper. Very thin and tasty with the crispy batter.

We got a break from action with a small salad which I barely touched.

A delicious prawn roll with Japanese pepper leaf soon followed.

Like any good Japanese meal, it's not complete without an elegant serving of steamed rice (For kaieski, it would have been with some Japanese pickles).

For a tempura meal, it's only fitting that it came with a kakiage, Japanese vegetable and shrimp tempura fritters. This was served with a warm broth made with kombu and bonito. A very heart-warming dish.

Dessert consisted of a couple scoops of homemade ice-cream and a macaron stick. A simple but nice wrap on a wonderful tempura meal.

Tempura Mizuki is widely considered the best tempura restaurant in Kyoto and it's not difficult to see why. Apart from the well prepared tempura dishes and impeccable service, one gets to enjoy all of that at a peaceful, resort-like vibe right in the heart of the ancient capital city of Japan. And the best part of all, the cheapest set came at a very affordable price tag of 5,000 yen only. Need to say more?

Food Rating: 7/10
Price: ¥¥¥
Address: B1F Ritz Carlton Kyoto, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, 604-0902 Japan
Closest Metro Station: Jingu-Marutamachi
Tel: +81 (0)7 5746-5522


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