This shrine to Japanese cuisine offers much more than sushi and sashimi. At Kyoto Garden Sushi 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 Alaskan king crab, deep-sea scallops and wild salmon. 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 green-tea crepes or toasted tofu with ginger and cherry blossom ice cream.
Elegant and refined, this calm oasis in busy Kloof Nek is heralded for authentic Japanese cuisine. The small space gives you the opportunity to view a master at work, chef Koshi Koyama, who trained as a sushi chef in Japan, coming to Cape Town more than 20 years ago. Koshi loves using his Japanese knife to slice and dice, making sushi and sashimi, and his ingredients of choice are bok choi and their special rice imported from Japan. Memories of his childhood and the support of owner Scott Wood, inspire him. He is proud of every aspect of the restaurant, “I think our decor and environment we have created is soothing and calming, trickling water, lovely low lighting and lots of pale wood is a part of our experience. We also have a lot of bamboo outside of the restaurant. People like that. Then the food and our people do the rest,” he says. His tuna tartare is always a big hit, and some diners return regularly, only ordering sushi. He sources only the best produce. Some comes from outside the country like scallops and the Alaskan king crab. With an unwavering commitment to quality and consistency, theirs is a recipe for success. Start with a zesty cocktail, savour the sushi and dishes like the simple steamed fish, seaweed salad and tempura – and dont leave until you have treated yourself to a whisky from owner Scotts connoisseurs collection. “Growing up in Japan has had a profound effect on me. Food is central to our culture and there is a way of doing things based on tradition.” Chef Koshi Koyama