Firstly, let me say that Kyoto is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. I’m so glad that a group of us stayed on the for the weekend and headed down there after a business trip to Tokyo. We also had amazing weather. Warm and sunny which made the Kinkaku-ji Temple shine. But after a busy morning sight-seeing, we were all in the mood for a hearty lunch…
Given how close we were to the Kinkaku-ji Temple, we were a little worried that we’d only be able to find a tourist trap. But after a little internet research, we found a recommendation for Hanamakiya.
I should let you know that the restaurant name is not in English so you’ll need to look out for the flags that say 花巻屋. It’s also down a little alley way in an area that looks like it’s residential.
We arrived about 12:30pm and the restaurant was heaving. We added our names to the list and sat outside, sunning ourselves until they called our name and we were shown to a table near to the front.
Hanamakiya feels like family lounge room. You can see straight into the kitchen and it’s tiny! Given that the restaurant name and the door list was all in Japanese, I was gearing up to have to translate the menu but thankfully, they did have one in English.
We ordered some beers and sake and started to think about the food.
Hanamakiya does soba noodles – which are thin-ish buckwheat noodles. They can be served hot (in a soup) or cold (in a pile) and then they all get served with different things on the side. I opted for the tempura don don hot udon (come on, it’s holidays!) and boy, I was not disappointed.
Shortly after we ordered, a delicious tray arrives with a giant bowl of steaming noodles, rice with crispy vegetables and a sour pickle for the soup.
I love tempura! And they gave me my favourite type – shitake mushroom. The tempura was soft in the middle and super crispy on the outside. I love the slightly sweet dipping sauce that comes with tempura and I poured it all over my rice to finish it off. It was gorgeous and hot and perfect!
The soba was really good. The soup had beef, mushrooms, gerkins and shallots – to be honest, I could have just had soba or the tempura but it was nice to a little piggy and have both. The noodles were soft, a little bit chewy and really, really yummy. The soup was nice – and I dropped in a bit of the pickle and some chilli to give it a little heat – and I loved all the other bits in the soup as well.
We all left feeling full, happy and ready to hit up the Bamboo Forest. If you’re in Kyoto I would definitely recommend finding this soba house. It’s an authentic Japanese experience and you won’t be disappointed.
Kinugasa Goshonouchicho, 17−2
603-8378 Kyoto Prefecture