Oh I'm well and truly in "Japan zone" right now.... we are about 9 days into shooting my new book with just 3 more to go (exhausting - but it is looking amazing thanks to some very talented people) and its now only 4 weeks until I'll be winging my way back to Kyoto. Its only appropriate that I add a few pics here of one of my favourite izakaya's - Shinme (on Senbon Dori). Excellent food - including some of the freshest seafood I have eaten in Kyoto. Delicate textures, very well balanced flavours, friendly family run business ( although they are a little wary of foreigners at first but if you speak a few words of Japanese you will get by), old school vibe. Oh, and the sake ain't bad either.
A little starter of seafood, broad beans and seaweed simmered in dash
Yawaraka (tender, melt in the mouth i.e. not chewy) Sashimi and a rather large oyster..
Terrific tempura including fish spine
My friend nodoguro - "black throat" fish - best fish ever - flesh tastes as though it has been poached in butter!
Rice, tsukemono (pickles) and chirimen jakko - tiny, teeny sardines with soy and sansho
**To find the restaurant - go the the Senbon Dori and Nakadachiuri dori intersection. Walk north on the left (west) side of the street for about a minute and its on your left - an older style building with stonework around the base and the upper half is painted white with black Kanji (Japanese characters) on the front. If at the Senbon Dori/Imadegawa dori intersection - walk south and it will be on the right hand side of the street.