Kinmata Ryokan's Treasured Tableware
Kinmata sits along narrow Gokomachi-dori, just north of busy Shijo. It serves traditional Kyo-kaiseki to its overnight guests, as well as diners, who can sit in the restaurant or even in a private room at the inn (should space be available). Having dined at Kimata a few years back during early spring, I recalled the beautiful tableware, especially coveting its delicate imari, but every season brings a new set of dishes, both to taste and to gaze upon.
In fact, Japanese restaurants and inns need seasonal dishes in many shapes and sizes, and the more specific the motif, the more restricted its use. A dish depicting momiji (maple) leaves could not be used in winter or spring; only autumn. Luckily, blue and white nabeshima, sometsuke and multi-color imari can be safely used year-round.
The art of moritsuke is where the tableware comes alive, and the combination of food and vessel is another art form that takes many years to perfect. Luckily, chef Ukai has the deep roots, an expansive repetoire and an excellent array of instruments on hand to create music for the eyes and taste buds for many an admiring customer.
Visit the Kinmata slide show for more photos of food and tableware.