Traditional kaiseki restaurant Kissui on the 15th Floor of the Sunroute Hotel which overlooks Peace Memorial Park and the Motoyasu River is currently offering a special GetHiroshima kaiseki multi-course dinner.
We treated ourselves to the ¥4500 meal at the end of the last year, and (mostly) this is what we were served.
It being the end of the year, when we stepped out of the elevator we were greeted by this pretty, but typically understated Christmas decoration at the entrance to the restaurant.
We took our seats at a table next to the window. It being mid-winter, it was already dark, the view wasn’t as impressive as it is at lunch or in the early evening of at other times of the year. We could, however, make out some of the illuminations along the river.
We sat down to this very nice place setting, complete with the evening’s menu printed on Japanese folded Japanese paper. The menu was labelled shiwasu no go-kondate [師走の御献立]. Shiwasu means December in classical Japanese and is made of the characters for master, priest or teacher [師] and run [走] and refers to a time of year when there is so much to do that even such normally dignified figures have to hustle.
The menu unfolded to reveal a long and detailed list of dishes and ingredients. Luckily, Kissui had also prepared a handy English version, which although not perfect, was perfectly understandable and a great help.
First came the appetizers.
Accompanied by a very sweet seasonal fruit liqueur, the plate of appetizers included squid, leeks with egg sauce, scallop with yuzu miso paste, stewed duck with lotus root, baked burdock with prawn paste, an apple compote and crab “miso” paste on a spicy red pepper. The reaction to the crab paste was mixed, and this was the most (and I should say only) challenging part of the meal.
One thing to remember when you go for a kaiseki meals, is not to dive in as soon as the food comes as your server will most likely launch into a detailed explanation of the dishes or dishes presented and their ingredients, pointing out any seasonal significance.
Next came the sashimi course. This was beautifully presented, with some lovely edible flowers and finely sliced vegetable garnish. Along side the box of sashimi were 3 different kinds of dipping sauce.
While waiting for the next course we decided to order some local sake. The chef recommended a bottle by Miyoshi brewery Miwazakura and it came in a charming bottle, in a box surrounded by ice. (Note, drinks aren’t included in the price of the course)
Back to the food. The sashimi was followed by a steamed dish, made of salmon, egg and topped with mushrooms.
Then cams a cooked fish dish. A piece of yellowtail was served with eringi mushrooms and some tiny “ebi” potatoes which a very interesting texture. The yellowtail was topped with a creamy tofu sauce which I could have sworn was made with cheese.
The fifth course is one that is specially included in the GetHiroshima course – premium Japanese beef. This is to give visitors the opportunity to enjoy some high quality local beef, and to add some volume to what is usually a very light course. Kissui substituted vegetable tempura for myself and the other pescetarian in our group.
Now, I don’t know if it was the delicious sake or the fine company, but from here on out I forgot to take any more photos. There did follow a serving of anago-donburi sea eel on rice, and a light Japanese dessert to round out the delightful meal.
The whole experience was very pleasant overall. We were made to feel very welcome and the food was both delicious and interesting. And, of course, it looked great. You shouldn’t really go into a kaiseki meal expecting to come out stuffed, but I wasn’t running to a convenience store to fill up on rice-balls after we left, so felt very satisfied. I would definitely recommend Kissui as a place to sample some traditional Japanese cuisine in a smart, but relaxed atmosphere.
Kissui is located on the 15th Floor of the Sunroute Hotel on Peace Boulevard. Read more about Kissui in English here.
Address: 15F Sunroute Hotel, 3-3-1 Ote-machi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi
Address in Japanese: ホテルサンルート広島15階 広島市中区大手町3-3-1