If you go down to the woods today you’ll find a big surprise…
Nestled into the depths of Ueno park, you’ll find a beautiful traditional restaurant – Innsyoutei.
It’s almost like a treehouse, hidden within the growth of trees and the beautiful natural surroundings.
The view from the seating area is incredible – if you dine upstairs, you get the view of the park and the trees surrounding you, amost as if you are enclosed in a secret room!
I was lucky enough to have the traditional course meal of kaiseki ryori. It was my first time having it and I’m hooked – not only is the food and harmony of flavours incredible but the beauty of each dish comes through and everything is so intricatly plated.
Also, can we just take a moment to look at the placemat?! It is probably the most beautiful piece of paper ever.
We first started with a plate of bite sized foods. At the top, we have an amazing creamy salad made with cucumber and sesame. Next to that was an incredible namafu dengaku – chewy wheat gluten topped with rich and sweet miso. a piece of what seemed to be frittata bursting with fresh summer vegetables, lemon flavoured sweet potato and a piece of plum to cleanse the palate.
The next course (unpictured) consisted of a slice of winter melon and light king prawn dumpling which was so light and in a smooth dashi broth. I’m normally not one for dumplings in soup as I find that they are soggy, but this was truly another experience!
Speaking of experience, the picture above shows my first yuba experience – almost like burrata, it melts in your mouth while remaining creamy and rich.
The sashimi we got next couldn’t be more fresh – the squid melted in your mouth whilst I was lucky that my two favourite fish came out – tuna and yellowtail, both of which had incredible flavour and texture: so simple yet delicious dipped in soy sauce.
The next fish course was a salt grilled mackerel fillet that was perfectly oily and tender and delicious when paired with the two sides: grated daikon with knotweed to give a fresh and almost mint like flavour and the baked okara (a salad made from the by product of tofu – much tastier than I described it!).
Before heading onto the final course, we had a chilled chawanmushi (egg custard) that was pudding like and so wobbly yet easy to eat and flavoured with the perfect amount of dashi.
The final savoury course consisted of deep, dark and rich miso and some light pickles that came with the large pot of rice that got placed on the table. The rice was cooked in a traditional pot and filled with fresh corn, scallops and herbs to give the most fragrant rice!
Ofcourse no meal is complete without dessert and although I only pictured the matcha mousse here, I actually loved the more traditional wagashi of a mochi like substance, made of wheat, filled with red bean paste.
Innsyoutei is definitely a restaurant where I’ll be back – the food and the service was top quality (nothing less than expected in a beautiful restaurant like this)! They are also known for their nabe dishes where you cook chicken and vegetables in a shabu shabu like manner, so I guess I’ll have to go back to try that! ;)