Food, Glorious Food

Kyoto has lots of restaurants.  All kinds of restaurants.  All kinds of food.  We like many places that we’ve tried, happily returning each time we visit.  The standards are high here.  The food is always well prepared, of high quality and very fresh. You won’t find overcooked fish.  The offerings are usually a seasonal celebration. Expect bamboo shoots and mushrooms as soon as they’re in season.  Contrary to popular opinion, sushi comprises only one small option of food that’s available.  Sashimi is usually served as a small appetizer.  Unless you’re at a sushi restaurant, the menus are diverse.

Many restaurant are small, so reservations are often essential.  Having a restaurant here is a labor of love, never a get rich quick scheme. That said, given the number of small restaurants, I assume the start-up process to open a restaurant is not prohibitively expensive.

My husband has stacks of business cards from the places we’ve eaten and enjoyed.  Unfortunately, most of them are written in Japanese, so they’re of little or no use. We’re always interested in discovering “new” places to eat when we come to Kyoto as well as returning to our old familiars. Our neighborhood is ripe with opportunities.

One of our dear friends here, Robert Yellin, has a particularly keen talent to find great restaurants with great chefs. His ability in seeking out fine restaurants rivals his ability to find the best Japanese ceramics to sell and display in his wonderful not-to-be-missed-if -you-like ceramics-gallery near the Philosopher’s Walk!. A highlight of our visits to Kyoto always includes our dinner with Robert.

This year, he outdid our expectations, sharing an extraordinary new restaurant in his neighborhood called  Farmoon.

Masaya-san at work in Farmoon

The revelatory experience begins when you enter Farmoon. The atmosphere of the remodeled machiya is unlike any other I’ve experienced.  The lights are dim and dramatic, highlighting different areas of the open space, while leaving others in mysterious shadow. Chef Masayo Funakoshi is never far away, preparing her  at a long counter, a stone’s throw away from our seating at an old large wooden circular table.

She herself brings each dish to the table.  Chef Masayo has created a dreamlike yet functional space in which to serve her seasonal, exquisite combinations .  A native of Tokyo, she has cooked with the Best at restaurants around the world, so the food has an international accent.It’s presented family style and each dish is a delicious discovery created by her experienced, assured talent.

persimmon salad

Each serving is a gift to the diner.  Masayo-san’s pleasure in cooking and serving the food is obvious.  She radiates happiness and hospitality.

We received it with equal joy, appreciation and pleasure!

Masayo-san

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