Dining in your hotel while traveling can seem like a cop out, the hallmark of someone uninterested in engaging with the local culture. However, in provincial Japan at least, the international hotel chains often provide rare opportunities to access a culinary culture that can be difficult to navigate. This is no more so in the case of those with special dietary requirements that are rarely accommodated for even at high quality local restaurants. A hotel dinner in your own hometown can also be something of a treat, where great food is accompanied by a vicarious sense of travel.
Miyabi-tei [雅庭] on the 7th Floor of the Sheraton Hotel next to Hiroshima Station’s shinkansen exit is where the hotel showcases its best Japanese cuisine. Being the Sheraton, they pride themselves on being able to meet the particular needs of their customers. So, with this is mind our group sampled not only their teppan, sushi and kaiseki traditional multi-course meals, but also decided to set the chef the challenge of producing a vegetarian kaiseki selection.
Miyabi-tei is a stylish space which features a sushi bar, an intimate teppan-yaki corner, individual tables and private rooms, all within the same space. The design is Japanese contemporary, and, although we couldn’t quite make out how it exactly it took its inspiration from Miyajima’s Itsukushima Shrine, very pleasant. Wood tones predominate, the lighting (after dark at least) is subtle and we particularly appreciated the very cool wrought iron features.
On arrival our group of four were seated in one of the private rooms, which had some of the smoothest sliding doors imaginable. The staff were polite, but very friendly and quickly put us at ease as they confirmed who was having what and explained the general outline of our meals in more than acceptable English. Although we all ordered separate courses, they did a great job of pacing the courses so that our group felt that we all progressing at the same time.
The regular kaiseki course started with one of Hiroshima’s summer specialities, koiwashi anchovies prepared namban-zuke style. The remaining courses consisted of delicious fish and seafood paired with carefully prepared seasonal vegetables the names of which were largely recognizable in either Japanese or English.
Vegetarian Kaiseki Course
Vegetables were the center of the vegetarian kaiseki course. Our vegetarian diner looked somewhat longingly at the standard course and commented that she would have enjoyed many of the same dishes, minus the fish. Kaiseki is all about ingredients and seasonality, so it’s unclear whether the chef just assumed that a vegetarian would prefer dishes almost solely made up of vegetables, or that the chef had these vegetables were the best of the season. That said, all the vegetarian dishes had been prepared specially without fish-based dashi stock and were very tasty.
The sushi course began with a couple of lovely cooked dishes before a selection of nigiri sushi, featuring some locally caught fish and seafood, was presented on a wooden board.
Although the dedicated teppan room looked very lively, our teppanier received his course in the private room. After a delicate appetizer and a well presented white fish, he was more than pleased with his steak.
The drinks menu includes a good selection of local sake.
All in all, our group had a very pleasant evening. We were made to feel very welcome and thoroughly enjoyed all the dishes. You do pay a premium when you eat at Miyabi-tei (a draft beer will set you back around ¥1000), but I would definitely recommend it to people who are looking to enjoy traditional Japanese food, but don’t have a good command of the language. It is also the best place I know of in Hiroshima where vegetarians and vegans can enjoy a kaiseki multi-course meal with full confidence that their dietary requirements are being met.
- Kaiseki courses approx ¥5600-¥10,000
- Sushi courses Dinner approx ¥5000-¥15,000 Lunch ¥2000-¥5000
- Weekday teppan lunch ¥3500
- Teppan lunch courses ¥5200 & ¥8800
- Teppan dinner courses ¥8800, ¥12,800, ¥16,800
- A la carte also available
- Lunch 11:30-14:30
- Dinner 17:00-22:00
- Call 082-262-711 for reservations