Ankyu (安久), Kyoto

December 2, 2014

Ankyu (安久) is named after a restaurant that was run by the young owner-chef’s grandmother. Opened a few years ago, Ankyu received its second Michelin star in 2012. The inside is modern, bright and clean, with only 6 diners an evening, seated at chairs comfortably spaced at the counter. Hiroshi and Harumi joined us there for dinner on October 25, 2014.

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The four burners can each be converted to specific uses. Here you can see the steamer on the left and the charcoal grill on the right. 

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Lovely serving dishes are kept right at hand.

The sake was poured from a magnum into crystal carafes for us.
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The starter was a prawn and wasabi soup.
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There was just the right amount of fresh wasabi to make a statement without dominating.

The next course was anago eel, sesame sauce, little cucumber crescents (the green you can just see the in the back right,) topped with almonds.
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Anago, sea eel, does not have as much flavor or firm texture as the more popular unagi, or fresh water eel. The mild sesame sauce was a perfect match for it.

Mackerel sushi with fried and salted gingko nuts.
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The mackerel had a definite flavor which was refreshed by the excellent ginkos.

Here the chef and his young sous-chef are preparing our turtle soup.
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The turtle had a mild, unique flavor brought out by the umami of its broth. We were supplied with a small dish  on which to put the bones as we picked off the meat around them.

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We were advised to use a lot of wasabi and daikon to cut the oiliness of this tuna cut.

I did not record properly the name of this fish served as sashimi.
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Matsutake mushrooms in a tempura style.
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Seasonal and lovely. Tempura is one way to capture the aromas of this special mushroom.

The crab was presented to us alive. It was then steamed and presented again before being flaked.
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Underneath the crab was cooked mizuna. This was simple and excellent.

Turnip and nodoguro, black throated sea perch, in a viscous sauce topped with a lot of julienned yuzu peel.
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Interesting textures and elegant mild flavors.

Slices of tender, flavorful, grilled beef with watercress, garlic chips and a dab of mustard.
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We had choices for the rice dish. Linda chose grilled salmon, Harumi had bottarga with shiso and I had oysters, which resulted in a soupy rice.
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To finish we had a slice of ripe persimmon and two large grapes.
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The excellent meal was interesting in its unusual ingredients and pairings. The chef is presenting his own style and dishes among the many kaiseki restaurants in Kyoto, whose offerings can seem to be repetitive. There are only three working at Ankyu. Harumi told me that when the sous-chef arrived two years ago, he could do little, but now he can do everything needed.

This was a very enjoyable evening.

Ankyu (安久),
3-283 Miyagawasuji, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto.


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