In sixteenth-century Japan, a Buddhist monk places a hot stone (seki) in the pocket (kai) of his robe to soothe the hunger pains in his belly, a common practice among his fellow monks. The warm sensation is as satisfying as a filling meal. This could perhaps be the reason why kaiseki cuisine, though frugal, fills the soul as much as it does the stomach.
The meticulous beauty of kaiseki cuisine is often equated to French haute cuisine in that it involves the careful yet artful preparation of fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients to create dishes of exceptional quality and appearance. Said dishes are to be eaten in a particular order to enhance the eater’s taste experience. Their ingredients include soups and servings of sashimi, as well as rice dishes, a course or two of vegetables or meat, and, of course, a side of dessert.
The seasonality of these dishes and their ingredients makes kaiseki dining almost a thing of ephemeral beauty, an art form best appreciated in its best state. Fortunately, the Filipino diner would derive satisfaction that is far from ephemeral at Kyo-to, a new and one-of-a-kind Japanese restaurant in Makati’s Legazpi Village that services its clients with the best of kaiseki cuisine.Ninety percent of the dishes’ ingredients in this multiple-course experience are shipped straight from Japan, and this ensures that these very dishes are served fresh and authentic in their cultural origins.
Speaking of which, much of the Coyiuto House restaurant imbibes and exhibits what is authentically Japanese not only in its food and dining experience but also in its interior design and masterful chef, Ryohei Kawamoto, who crafts such appetizing dishes under the discipline of kaiseki cuisine. Amazingly, Kyo-To does not offer menus to its guests as Kawamoto, in true hospitable nature, hand-prepares dishes tailor-fit for every person at his table. Not a single patron is spared these unique and artfully displayed gastronomical delights.
And that is what kaiseki is—an art. The true beauty of kaiseki dining does not merely lie in the high quality of its components but in the creative arrangement of these same high-quality components in the humblest of servings. Whether simple and delicate or ornate and plentiful in color or flavor, each kaiseki dish is a welcoming assault to the senses.