Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Komame Ya こまめや : Tofu and Yuba Izakaya House

A trip to Kyoto would always feel incomplete without trying the tofu and yuba. I wanted to check out the historical tofu establishment Okudan but went to Omame-Ya instead since Okudan doesn't serve any meat. Komame-ya is not the oldest tofu restaurant but is one of the four restaurants by Ueda Yuba, a tofu supplier in Kyoto. Besides the elaborate multi-course menu, there is a whole list of ala carte dishes that is incorporated with tofu, yuba or both.
Most of the dishes here are not mind-blowingly delicious but at reasonable quality for the price. In fact, some dishes stood out for its unique texture and flavours. For instance, the Komameya Salad (¥820) contains plenty of crunch from the bits of fried Yuba and tangy Caesar dressing while the Baked Chicken and Eggplant in Miso Cheese(¥820) is simply divine beyond words.
Baked Chicken and Eggplant in Miso Cheese(¥820) and  Namafu Denraku (¥720)
茄子と赤どりのみそチーズ      湯葉と生麩の田楽
 Yuba Manju 
Along with some classic tofu nibbles like the Namafu Denraku (¥720) and Yuba Manju (3 for ¥930), we also had the signature soy milk hot pot (see top pic). This is enough to feed our group of 6 as many films of Yuba can be lifted off from the simmering soy milk as long as you have the patience to wait. Dipped in shoyu, the taste of fresh yuba is simple but nothing special.
Kumiage Yuba Donburi
汲み上げ湯葉いろいろちょっとずつ 820円
I will stick to the Kumiage Yuba Donburi, a popular rice bowl at Komameya that is topped with a rich gloopy form of Yuba and garnished with raw egg, chopped scallions and nori. Ever since I've had rice with raw egg at Iyemon Salon, I have fallen in love with it and this healthy Yuba Donburi is definitely right up my alley. 
Hikiage Yuba
Do you know that there are two kinds of Yuba? One is called Hikiage Yuba, the other is Kumiage Yuba. Hikiage Yuba is commonly referred as nama (raw) yuba and is more resilient to cold temperatures. On the other hand, Kumiage Yuba is more delicate, albeit squidy or not in a proper shape of a sheet, as it is only lifted from the heated soy milk once it is formed. Komame-ya served both kinds of Yuba. This black or greyish sheet that I found in the Komameya Salad belongs to the Hikiage family.
The menu should have warned diners in advance that the Burdock and Yuba Gratin (¥830)  was spammed with cheese as this created a temporary chaos at the table. 
Stir fry Kyoto beef in Mushrooms
Simmered Pork Belly in Soy Milk
The Yuba dishes is no doubt the main star but as soon as the meats arrived, everyone revealed their carnivorous nature again. The Simmered Pork Belly in aromatic, light brownish soy milk gravy and the Stir fry Kyoto beef in kinoko (mushrooms) are fine examples of izakaya B-grade gastronomy.  But the winter fish buri lacked the appeal as the meat was too dry while the yakisoba in a savoury transluscent yuba ankake sauce was highly misleading. It reminded of those Cantonese style deep fried noodles topped with gravy instead of the truly authentic "mee-goreng" style yakisoba. Now it is clear why there is a word "kata" written before "yakisoba" (kata means hard in Japanese, thus "hard noodles")
Kata-Yakisoba with Crab and Namafu
Winter Buri Steak 
Located few minutes walk away from Kyoto's kitchen "Nishiki Market", this outlet is a convenient place to chill out after navigating through the maddening tourist crowds in the market. Do note that it does not accept credit cards and the amuse bouche (about 400 yen for each pax) is served at the start of the meal is automatically charged into the bill. This would have been less annoying if they have spelt in out in advance.

こまめや Komameya
Nishiki Outlet : 
〒604-8127 京都市中京区錦小路東洞院東入る西魚屋町619 リベルタス錦小路3階
Lunch 11:30am-2.30pm
Dinner 5.30pm-10pm
Closed on Wednesdays
English Menu : Yes

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