Ryokan Kurashiki, Day Two, part one

May 14, 2013

While dinners at the Ryokan Kurashiki are served in each of the eight individual guestrooms, or in the tatami dining rooms upstairs for outside private parties, breakfasts are served in the restaurant, which also serves lunch to people who are not staying at the inn. And so we started March 24, 2013, Linda’s birthday, in the restaurant with a view out into the ryokan’s garden.
kurashiki 2 001 (480x174)

kurashiki 2 016 (480x225)

Kiyoko brought us a glass of fruit juice and then put a small charcoal grill on the table along with a square plate of fish to be grilled. She put on two pieces.
kurashiki 2 002 (400x287)

kurashiki 2 004 (480x298)

They were followed on the grill during the course of the breakfast by two other kinds of fish, a large chunk of roe and strips of nori.
kurashiki 2 006 (470x318)

The breakfast tray then arrived with eight different small dishes.
kurashiki 2 008 (480x255)

Kiyoko then served a porridge made with rice left over from our dinner the evening before.
kurashiki 2 011 (419x550)

This was accompanied by a miso soup.
kurashiki 2 012 (400x310)

We were kept very busy during the breakfast turning the fish on the grill, then deboning it with our chopsticks and enjoying its lovely aroma, flavor and crisp skin.
kurashiki 2 009 (480x228)

We finished in the coffee room with some fruit and tea.
kurashiki 2 014 (460x192)

The rambling complex of old buildings housing the ryokan blends in with the architecture of the well-preserved old merchant quarter of Kurashiki. Its streets are lined with former warehouses and other traditional wooden buildings dating from the seventeenth century. Shops and restaurants occupy them now, some with tourist junk and others with interesting items, including the local brown pottery, some of which we bought.
kurashiki 2 024 (480x193)

kurashiki 2 018 (480x282)

kurashiki 2 023 (480x278)
A canal cuts through one side of the historical area.  The Ohara Museum has an outstanding collection of European and Japanese art. The Folk Art Museum is the second largest in Japan.

After our museum visits, some successful shopping and just wandering in the streets, we ended up in Sakura Restaurant for lunch at the recommendation of the ryokan’s manager.
kurashiki 2 034 (480x316) 

We were seated at the counter at the end of the dining room looking directly into the kitchen.
kurashiki 2 032 (480x260) 

Sakura’s two specialties are soba noodles and tempura. The chef does all the cooking himself; he is obviously passionate about doing it right. He has five assistants: one peels and chops, one does the plating, two serve and clear and the fifth cleans up. (It isn’t really as neat as that.) Here he is cooking tempura in the big vat in front of him.
kurashiki 2 026 (480x331)

Here he is dipping cooked soba noodles out of the vat of boiling water.
kurashiki 2 028 (480x286)

We ordered the luncheon special, which included two tempura shrimp and soba. We were unable to read the menu so just had to point at the picture.
kurashiki 2 035 (480x282) 

The soba was in a very good broth with various vegetable garnishes. The shrimp was laid on top of it. I think this is a dumb idea, but it is done a lot in Japan. The crisp, hot, cooked, tempura batter quickly gets soggy in the broth. On the left you can see chopped scallions to scatter as needed; at least they got to stay crisp until used. Nonetheless, we enjoyed the dish a lot.
kurashiki 2 030 (480x224)

I had some sake served in a picturesque bowl with a spout.
kurashiki 2 027 (480x192)
This was a very enjoyable, light meal with kitchen theater accompanying a well-executed, typical Japanese dish.

After lunch we continued our exploration of Kurashiki before returning to the ryokan for some rest and blogwriting. Dinner that evening was superb, but that is the next blogpost here.

To see all three of our blogposts on Ryokan Kurashiki click here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s