It was close to 8pm and i found myself looking slightly lost waiting in a dark narrow alleyway. Had this been anywhere else but Japan, you might’ve been a little worried for me. But finally i found it and arrived at Giro Giro, the first dinner reservation of the
Kyoto is known for its rich culinary tradition and in particular for its Kaiseki dining style. However unlike traditional kaiseki meals, Giro Giro offers something described as a “punk Kaiseki Ryori”, which is less formal and more relaxed multi-course meal. It’s also a lot more affordable than traditional Kaiseki meals where they offer a more intimate lively atmosphere. Instead of table service, the food is directly handed over the counter from the chef. There is no menu here but the dishes are all based on seasonal produce.
The first thing i noticed when i sat down was the open kitchen. I was very impressed as the space was incredible small yet the chefs were able to efficiently maneuver around each other.
A neat box arrives with various mini cold appetisers. This was my first trip to Japan and one of the things i noticed was the Japanese emphasis on presentation. So much detail and attention is taken when preparing each ingredient, it almost an art in food form.
Every piece was enjoyable even the cold tempura which usually i would’ve preferred hot.
Next up, we were each served a bowl of Chawanmushi. The egg was very smooth (a lot more runny than the version im used to) and was served with a firefly squid (hotaru ika) burried underneath.
The next course was prepared with a focus of the seasonal Spring Sakura theme. In Japan they really do take this seriously, there was a lot of sakura themed thing everywhere in my soft serve, in sweets etc. and here i found it in my sushi.
The Sakura flower here is just for decoration but was a pretty addition to the dish.
This was my personal favourite of the evening, a crispy fish tempura paired with a cream sauce. The batter is light, thin and really crispy without a heavy oily aftertaste. The batter is so light that it does not distract too much from the actual taste of the fish.
Next to arrive was a light clear broth, but the real hidden gem inside is actually grilled pieces of Shirako. Earlier on that day, i had my first piece of Shirako served raw at the Nishiki Markets and it’s been a life changing moment ever since. That wonderful creamy goodness and flavour. (If you dont know what Shirako is, maybe its best to google it rather than have me explain), all i can tell you is that it is delicious even more so when grilled !
The clear broth itself did not have much flavour, but rather allowed the flavours of the grilled Shirako and mushrooms to come forward. A comforting warm broth perfect for a cool evening.
We moved onto a more substantial dish involving pieces of fatty pork served with seasonal vegetables. The pork was incredibly tender and melted in the mouth, however i did find some of it overly too rich for my liking as most of my cut was mostly fat.
Like most traditional Kaiseki meals, the final course is also a rice dish. Ours arrived topped with eel and served with a side dish of pickles. It might be hard to see from the photo but the rice itself contained “small pieces of pink” which was actually Sakura sugar keeping in theme and added a nice touch to the dish.
Here are the pickles which come served in the most adorable plate. Hello tiny human emerging from my food.
Last but not least we finish off with something sweet, because a meal is not complete without dessert.
A small serving of a simple dessert was provided as the final course. Sticking to the seasonal Sakura theme, the pink reappears again in the form of a jelly served with a sponge and vanilla icecream.
Our meal concluded and feeling satisfied, warm and full from the meal, it was time to head back for bed before another day ahead. Apart from the good food, service was also efficient and polite. The staff understand English and they also have branches in Honolulu and Paris.
E i l e e n.