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2014 Best Asian Restaurant: Kyoto Garden Sushi

It’s easy to miss Kyoto Garden Sushi, on Lower Kloofnek road, a couple of doors down from Rafiki’s and The Power and The Glory. But this unassuming eatery was named Best Asian Restaurant at the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards in November 2014.

The judge for the ‘Best of’ category – which recognises eateries that are at the top of their game, but don’t fit into the fine-dining category –
Caro de Waal, explains. “At Kyoto Garden they create quite wonderful taste sensations using simple ingredients,” says Caro. “Dishes are cooked with delicacy and perfection. This is Japanese food at its clean and simple best in South Africa. It’s a very special place to go for an extraordinary experience. Quite stunning.”

The restaurant owner, Scott Wood, labels Kyoto Garden Sushi’s food philosophy as one of fresh flavours, visual harmony and elegant simplicity. “We have a very skilled Japanese chef and a menu that is unique, consistent and full of quality and surprises.”

Currently Scott and his team are working on some exciting new dishes. “We’ve been working on one that uses sweet prawn and giant clams. Japanese drinks have always played a big part in what we do; we have some new sakes and Japanese beers added to the menu. And we’ve finally managed to get our hands on a very rare Japanese whisky, which will hopefully wow whisky aficionados.”

Sound like the business to you? Read the full review below.

Food

This shrine to Japanese cuisine offers much more than sushi and sashimi. Fresh seafood is the specialty, with no net unturned in sourcing top-quality, unusual ingredients from around the world, from farmed abalone to Mozambican conch, eel, sea urchin, and even king crab, deep-sea scallops and wild salmon from Alaska.

salmon and tuna sashimi

Kyoto Garden Sushi. Photo courtesy of restaurant

Exquisite combinations – imagine sake-steamed clams – capture the subtle tastes and textures of Japanese cuisine. Enjoy superb sushi from the bar. Try the signature clear broth called ‘the sea’ or crayfish miso soup, and the feather-light tempura scallops, vegetables, prawns and oysters.

The combinations are innovative, the flavours fresh and delicate. The fare reflects the savoury essence of umami in stocks and dressings infused with mirin, dashi, ponzu, ginger and soy. Vegetarians are spoiled for choice with fresh seaweed salad with shitake mushrooms, vegetable tempura and exotic mushroom dishes.

Leave space for delicious desserts of sesame seed ice cream or toasted tofu with ginger and cherry blossom ice cream.

Kyoto garden sushi

Kyoto Garden Sushi. Photo courtesy of restaurant

Drinks

The cocktail menu tempts with Green Tea Destiny or a Ginger Misawari infusion. An unusual beverage list includes Japanese beer, sake and twenty Japanese single malt whiskies, as well as wines from top Cape estates.

Drink at Kyoto

Kyoto Garden Sushi. Photo courtesy of restaurant

Service

The owner offers hands-on advice on specialties and combinations for initiates to the world of fine Japanese dining. Note that that every dish is prepared freshly on order, so it might take a bit of time.

Ambience

This is sushi for sophisticates, against the backdrop of very cool, minimalist decor. Expect an intimate, tranquil setting in the Zen zone with light wooden and paper textures, white blinds and screens.

Chef at Kyoto

Kyoto Garden Sushi. Photo courtesy of restaurant

And…

Book a private room for a special occasion – your dinner guests will feel like they are at home in a Japanese villa.

Have you been to Kyoto Garden Sushi? Let us know what you thought by sharing your experience.

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