The name Kyoto Garden Sushi has been on the back burner of my brain for quite some time. It was first brought to my attention by a fellow bloggers recommendation that this was THE place to find the best sushi in Cape Town, but, as we are parents with limited time for the delights of dining out, I had never quite made my way there, despite the fact that I adore sushi!
So when an invitation presented itself to spend an evening enjoying a taste of Japan I jumped at the chance…
We arrived at Kyoto Garden Sushi on one of the most beautiful evenings in Cape Town: wind-free and warm it embodied summer holidays.
We were fortunate to arrive before sunset (generally unheard of for parents) and this allowed us to appreciate it’s glorious location below Table Mountain on the trendiest corner of Kloof Nek Road!
We were invited to enjoy the new 6 Course Set Menu for 2 and after snapping a few photos of the authentic Asian decor we settled in with a drink, I opted for a Pink Grapefruit Margharita, to enjoy an evening of Japanese cuisine…
Kyoto Garden Sushi is not only known for it’s authentic Japanese food, it’s also the best place in Cape Town to find Japanese whiskey and their collection is extensive… One checking out the menu we also realised that the prices are too! BUT if you’re a Japanese whiskey fan, or even just a whiskey fan, then you’ll want to head here to sample some of their selection.
Our first course was a Tuna Tartare which was a delicious appetizer and set the tone for what was to come… To be honest as I’d heard (and as the name hints) Kyoto Garden Sushi was all about sushi. What I was to discover was that I was very wrong! Yes, sushi is most definitely on the menu, and highly recommended, but the restaurant also prides itself on delivering the best of other styles of Japanese cuisine… tempura, ramen, sesame seed ice cream!
After the tartare we enjoyed a Seaweed Salad – salmon, baby spinach, enokitake mushrooms and seaweed – served with soya sauce. This was possibly my favourite dish of the evening…. before I tasted dessert!
Next a small selection of the freshest sushi, sashimi and california rolls arrived… with REAL wasabi. This is not the wasabi served at most sushi restaurants or in pre-packed supermarket platters! This stuff means business. Whew!!! A palate cleanse to make your eyes water!
During our time at Kyoto Garden Sushi we were lucky enough to meet the owner, a Californian native who moved to Cape Town “for a year or 2” way back in the 90’s and never left!
He does regular trips to Japan to research the current food trends and to make sure that Kyoto Garden Sushi is on the mark when it comes to their offerings. They get their tempura right! Our deep friend vegetables were crisp and delicious.
As the evening progressed the atmosphere enlivened and it was great fun seeing the regulars and the returnees all enter with anticipation. This is a place people come back to, whether it’s been a week since their last visit or it’s an annual visit on their holiday itinerary. And that tells you something!
Our main dish of Ramen Noodles with Prawns arrived and we gamely attempted to eat soup and slippery noodles with our chopsticks… I think I managed pretty well, my husband resorted to a few less elegant methods, his excuse was that it was so delicious he didn’t want to waste a drop!
And then it was time for dessert… white sesame seed ice cream. I had never heard of this flavour but apparently it’s an favourite in Japan, and I am always up for ice cream. It was such a unique flavour and it disappeared of my plate terribly fast!
The beauty of dining out in restaurants that capture the cuisine of a foreign land is that for a few hours you’re transported to a different time and place. We thoroughly enjoyed our evening in Japan. It felt like we’d stepped off a side street in Tokyo while on holiday… except we’d only had to drive 20 mins instead of fly for 20 hours!
If you’re a fan of sushi, love Japanese food, have an interest in Asian cuisine or just want to try something new, then I highly recommend a visit to Kyoto Garden Sushi for a taste of the East.
Kyoto Garden Sushi
11 Lower Kloofnek Road, Cape Town
Tel: +27 21 422 2001
Monday to Saturday
Images: Kathryn Rossiter