517-3 Kamiosakamachi, Sanjo Agaru Kiyacho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 604-0961 , Japan
Tousuiro is situated in an alleyway that houses a number of degustation places and bars. It has a tiny doorway which leads to a large dining room with a counter where patrons can interact with the chef or individual rooms with sunken seats. As we have a large party of five they put us into a semi private room (there is only 2 tables in a room) overlooking the river. It was a very hot day that day and looking out across the river with the air con turned on high was the best thing ever.
I chose one of their special multi-course menu which costs approx $38 AUD. what i love about this multicourse meal is that you get to taste a lot of different flavours and textures without being overly full, because true to the traditional Japanese cuisine, there are a very few meat dishes on offer in this whole menu and even when i said meat dishes, i mean seafood, not red meat or chicken.
First up was a trio of appetizers. Prawn jelly w peas, pumpkin tofu and tofu mousse with wasabi. I dont normally eat prawns so I only had a bit of the jelly and pea. The pea was firm and very fresh and the jelly tasted like dashi. The pumpkin tofu is slightly sweet with a mashed up pumpkin/ tofu texture and it’s slightly crumbly. The tofu mousse didn’t taste very strongly of wasabi, but it was quite creamy with a fluttery texture like wood ear but slightly softer. Even with these small bites we could tell that we are in for a treat. We have never tasted tofu with such flavours and textures before and even my carnivore husband was nodding with approval.
A tofu chawanmushi with trout was next. The chawanmushi was not like any chawanmushi I have eaten before. The trout was minced and mixed into a slightly firm paste and steamed with the egg, tofu and trout pieces.
Yuba- tofu skin that is served with shiso, ginger and microherbs which is super refreshing and the texture tasted like a very creamy scrambled eggs.
The main dish was next. Large wooden boxes were placed onto the table and plugged into the electric sockets. The waitress took off the lid and what’s inside was a pot of water with tofu and spinach. To the left there was also a jug of dashi and they were both being heated in this wooden bath. The waitress instructed us to leave the tofu in this water for exactly 7 mins. Not that we listened of course. At 7 mins my MIL took a bite and thought that the tofu was not very warm, so we decided to wait for a bit longer. By the time we wanted to grab some the next dish came and we got distracted. The result? We wondered why the tofu is so firm and has so many holes through it!
Thankfully this particular dish has free refill and we decided to try some more, and this time, as the water was warm already, the waitress told us to wait 2 mins, and exactly 2 mins later I got to try some softer, silkier tofu with the excellent dashi sauce.
If you look at the pic, the thing on the right is not a lollipop, but a rather popular sticky rice cake snack in Kyoto that is smeared with miso. Yum. The one in the middle is some vegetable pickled with salt which tasted way too salty. I think I left most of it. Perhaps it would have been better with rice?! The one on the right is boardbean with a smear of uni (sea urchin). I am not sure how they cooked it but sea urchins are normally creamy and smooth but this one just tasted like dried crumbly nothing. Hrm.
Vegetable Tempura was our second last savory dish. Tofu tempura balls with Sakura flavored coating and seaweed flavored coating were the 2 pink and green balls. To be totally honest with you I STILL couldn’t figure out what Sakura taste like… Or does it just add a pretty pink colour? Anyway the seaweed flavour was yum, and the tofu was mixed with tiny bits of seafood before deep frying. There were also tempura mushroom and capsicum.
The Last dish of a multicourse meal is always a rice dish. In Kyoto it seems they like their rice in soup. our rice in soup was seasoned with a small handful of whitebait type fish and you also get pickles to add flavour to the rice. I quite like this dish because it was warming to eat rice with soup and I really enjoyed the subtle flavours of the broth.
Our little dessert is a brown sugar and soy bean sorbet. The sorbet was delicately sweetened and although it was quite an icy sorbet but I can really taste the underlying creamy soy bean flavour. I could have another ten scoops of this easily I think!
Overall, I wouldn’t say I have converted my hubby to eating tofu every day which is near impossible, but even he thought that the tofu cuisine at Tousuiro was very very good, which said something about this place 9/10
For a round up of where I went and what I ate in Japan, please click here