Food must be a big factor when you travel in Japan. Japanese cooking requires using fresh seasonal ingredients without adding too much to it. “Shun,” which means the best timing of the season to savour vegetables, fish and fruits and all the ingredients, is considered to be the most important element in it. 'Shun' has fostered variations of delicate Japanese cuisine that you will be able to enjoy when you come.
Mr. Dai Sekiya opened his restaurant in Gion known as Geisha district, or 'Geiko' more properly, in 2018. He is an absolute expert who knows this Shun of all the ingredients and provides outstanding and artistic combination of dishes in front of you. What makes Dai special is that he is doing his work just like easy daily chores. There might be many top chefs who are proud of their technique or special background to become famous figures, and try to boast of it. Dai’s approach is the opposite. He considers that his presentation is nothing new, nothing special. He says that he likes cooking very much, that’s all. His work shows it to you!
Here is the magical 'kaiseki', Japanese traditional course menu, thanks to which I have extended my life several years by enjoying it. As a starter, I opened a persimmon and found persimmon salad with mashed tofu and flower buds that woke up my stomach gently for the next one. Then in front of me was a plate of chestnut, ginkgo nuts, Matsutake mushrooms, sweet potatoes with a bit of simmered fish. At the time, I was surely in the middle of the autumn forest by a comfortable stream. Dai showed me two river smelts swimming to give me time for a short prayer to them. Fish appeared later but were not dead, still alive! It does not mean half-cooked and alive. Totally cooked still alive. Have a look at the picture! Before you believe that you must be in paradise, you will come across sashimi right in season, a subtle taste Japanese truffle Matsutake and conger soup with squeezed citrus juice, just a little steamed sticky rice with chestnuts, the best tempura in your life, and another white meat fish that you cannot tell its name but is awfully delicious with various condiments. This will tempt you to order another bottle of best sake in this restaurant! Kaiseki always ends with a little bit of rice and soup with pickles. It is like a period of a sentence. Dai places this period at the right time in the right way. I had not known the taste of rice, taro, kelp and salt was this gorgeous.
His dessert has become the prologue of your next visit to Gion SEKIYA . You always find “Shun” in it. It is not heavy at all, just right and tasty which makes you totally happy. I come to see him and find myself in Gion SEKIYA, not just to eat something delicious, but to live better and become happier in future!