Thursday, February 3, 2011

Guilo Guilo Hitoshina (Giro Giro) ギロギロ ひとしな

A really good entry point into contemporary Kyoto Kaiseki/Kappo style cuisine - the staff here are relaxed, friendly and welcoming to foreigners and even speak a little English so you are not completely in the dark about what you are eating if its all new to you. The website could make it look a little intimidating - but its not so don't be put off. 

Sometimes the kind of establishment that serves this level of nosh can be a little stiff but there is a real sense of fun at Guilo Guilo - which comes through in the food. While there is some experimentation with flavours - mostly it works and doesn't come across as too "try hard".  

There are two sittings so if you don't want to feel rushed opt for the 8:30  time slot. Its located on the western side of lower Kiyamachi - closer to Gojo than Shijo. You can see the chefs working their magic through a large window wall into the restaurant from the river running along the western edge of Kiyamachi - but you actually have to enter the restaurant from the street that runs parallel to and west again of the river. There is also seating upstairs so if you like to be part of the action - request a seat at the counter. 
The menu changes regularly but our February menu involved a starter plate of baby ayu, duck and bamboo, yamaimo and yuba,  beans with creamy natto dressing, an unusal bubbly seaweed and a jellied ginger palate refresher.  Ingredients ranged far and wide - turtle, chinese lily bulb, deep fried fuuki leaves, various shellfish, daikon, greens , nama fu, quails egg. 

Although it looked gorgeous, the dish that was least successful for me was the oyster baked in the little fish shaped ceramic below with apple, cheese and a chrysanthamum leaf sauce (that's edible Chrysanthamum so don't run out to the garden just yet). The sauce was pleasant but the apple a little sweet with the oyster , masking its flavour , and the cheese just confused it even more - but it wasn't unpleasant. 
Dessert was a charming but tiny selection of houjicha panna cotta with raw grated apple and red beans, a cumquat bavarois and a cassis ice cream. All lovely and a perfectly refreshing end to the meal.

The whole experience was most enjoyable and both my dining companion and I agreed we would have expected to pay twice the actual cost which was about 4000 yen each including sake.  


  1. Is that herring roe on kelp in the fourth food picture down? The pieces that are leaning against the bowl?? I can't remember the Japanese name for it, but we used to eat that in Alaska, around this time of year, maybe a few months later, but anyway, I love the stuff!! Love you! xo

  2. I don't honestly know Jess - they just said it was "naturally occurring". It didn't taste like roe - but having said that it did have quite a firm texture like the salted herring roe here. I will investigate and get back to you x

  3. How beautiful! And now I wish we were heading to Kyoto again...

  4. Gorgeous isn't it Injera. I am surrounded by such beauty on a daily basis here and will be sad to leave in a couple of weeks but hope to be back soon.