Ceramics, sake bottles and patterned tiles embellish the minimalist modern Japanese design at Touzan. Private tatami rooms have been reinterpreted as dining alcoves created by suspended blinds, while the main dining area looks out onto a wide Japanese rock garden. On the Grand Menu, perennial favourites like tempura, nishin soba and Kobe beef sit alongside more exotic fare like seared sea cucumber entrails.
For that traditional Kyoto haute cuisine experience, kaiseki meals can be arranged on request. Grilled sesame tofu with freshly grated wasabi, a bream broth made only from the fish itself, and charcoal udon noodles on a bed of ice are intimations of the range of seasonal delicacies on offer. Expert hands have undoubtedly created these ingeniously prepared dishes but at times the flavours are very subtle.
It is rare to find a Japanese vegetarian these days but, for those interested in a time when Buddhists in Japan didn't indulge in sins of the flesh the Kiyomizu Vegetable Shojin Kaiseki lunch (5,000) is the set menu to choose. The sushi bar is a wood and bamboo altar to the art of raw fish and rice, and morsels start at 300yen each. There is no need to lament the ubiquity of the round white plate at Touzan. The ceramics were bought from a supplier at the Tsujiki fish markets in Tokyo and come from all over Japan.
And for after dinner, just off Touzan is the Touzan bar, a softly lit zone of comfort with a large range of local sakes and a late night conspiratorial atmosphere. Kaiseki at Touzan starts from 13, 000 per person plus a 10% service charge.
Touzan Bar: 5pm-midnight
by Justin Ellis