Friday, March 13, 2015

伊右衛門サロン Iyemon Salon : Traditional Japanese Breakfast in Kyoto

Most of us don't take breakfast too seriously especially on working weekdays but not for my father who takes his meals regularly. This is also a good thing when we are traveling together as we would wake up early to have proper quality breakfast. 

One good place that I would highly recommend for breakfast is Iyemon Salon, a modern Japanese cafe that pays tribute to the history and tradition of tea. Opened since June 2008, the cafe has always been embracing the concept of designing a new lifestyle through the language of tea.

As a traditional staple of Japanese breakfast before the westernization took place, rice is commonly served with simple grilled fish, miso soup and some pickles. This is available as the Breakfast Platter Set that includes kyo-tofu by Gion Nakaki served with matcha sauce. 
薩摩赤玉の玉子かけごはん (¥615) 
My favourite was this simple bowl of rice served with egg. Do not let the sight of raw egg daunt you as this is the key that make this dish extra flavourful with the shoyu dashi.  The eggs are AKADAMA (赤玉), which literally translates into RED EGGS. They are actually no different from white eggs in terms of their nutrition but look different because their mother consumed different types of grain. I highly encouraged anyone to try this at least once in the lifetime! 
We were figuring why the rice grains were exceptionally tasty, only to realize that the rice belonged to the top brand Aizu Keishoumai Ujisato from Fukushima prefecture. You can read how much work goes behind the rice production here

In addition, the rice is cooked in Kamodo-san rice cooker, not those modern electric cookers but a traditional ceramic pot which has been created since 1832!
Though I like my rice, I still prefer to have bread for breakfast and this egg sandwich fits what I want. It is not just any ordinary sandwich on the streets as it is stuffed with the special CHA-BI- pork from Kagoshima. Warm, creamy and only lightly seasoned, this is one of the best sandwiches I've had and the portions are generous too!
However the Ochatsuke (¥972) aka "tea-soaked rice", is rather bland and mediocre. I wished the hot green tea could cooked the slices of raw tai fish, which could have merged better with the hot soupy rice. 
とろ湯葉のお刺身 抹茶醤油
Yuba Sashimi with Matcha Shoyu is another very intriguing but beautiful side dish at only ¥356. If you are familiar with the Japanese architecture, you will also notice that the interior is designed like a machiya, traditional woodtown houses found typically in Kyoto.
The morning menu is only up till 11am and they serve lunch till 3pm, Oyatsu (sweets) till 5pm and dinner till 12 midnight. But it doesn't mean there is no desserts beyond the 3-5pm afternoon sweets time. Some of the sweets such as the Seasonal Iyemon Parfait are available ALL DAY. And of course I took the opportunity to order some for my breakfast as well. 
Quality sugar to start the day, why not right? The matcha ice cream was good but not for the black sesame ice cream which was too sweet. Thankfully there was the crispy Monaka wafer on top and a cup of unsweetened matcha latte brew to alleviate the sweetness.

Cheese and matcha lovers CANNOT step out of the door without trying this unique Matcha Fromage that is impossible to find elsewhere. Scattered with bits of crumbles, the fromage is quite a superb creation despite looking so deceivingly simple. The touch of savouriness is a bliss. 

Try out the morning menu first if you can, before tackling the lunch and dinner. Almost anything here is going to set your day in right way.
伊右衛門サロン Iyemon Salon
〒604-8166 京都市中京区三条通烏丸西入御倉町80番地 千總ビル1階
Kyoto 604-8166, Nakagyo-ku Sanjou-dori, Karasuma Nishi-iru Ogura Cho 80, Chiso Bldg 1F
Access: 2-min walk from Karasuma-Oike Station Exit 6
Breakfast 8am-11am
Opening Hours 8am-24am

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