Our tendency to define any dish by its country of origin does a disservice to its uniqueness. In every country, regional dishes differ and their variation is often lost in the national label. In Japan, Kyoto has its own cuisine known as ‘kyo-ryori’ and encourages diners to experience the meal with not only just the sense of taste, but also all the other senses. Local ingredients and subtle flavors define this cuisine. However, presentation is equally held in high regard. It is also said that each dish in kyo-ryori contains inspirations from nature and the seasons and formed to reflect them to diners. KINU by Takagi at the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok brings renowned Chef Takagi Kazuo over to Thailand and with him, his unique ‘kyo-ryori’ dishes.
Chef Takagi inherited his life philosophy from his grandfather, which is rooted in respect and appreciation. This philosophy is reflected in his cooking philosophy as well, as he respects every ingredient and aims to waste as little as possible. At KINU by Takagi, every dish is created out of a commitment to true Kyoto cuisine, which is rare even in Japan nowadays because of the complicated nature of preparing and serving it. For diners, the chef creates a 10-course menu based on Japan’s and Thailand’s seasonal ingredients and transforms them into delicate and delectable dishes for a ‘kaiseki’ fine dining experience. Each dish is plated for a stimulating visual experience. The meal is bookended by high quality tea.
A meal at KINU by Takagi also immerses one in Japanese culture. The interior is accented with Japanese design and traditional wares. The dining counter that seats 10 people is made from a single teak tree and crafted by local Thai artisans. The flooring is also made of the same wood to harmonize the space. Ancient Japanese arts and crafts are also on display, including beautiful ‘shibori’ silk fabrics, made using a world-renowned Japanese ancient dying technique from the Edo period in the 17th century. Restaurant staff dressed in elegant Japanese ‘Kimino’ guide guests through a wide selection of Japanese sakes to complete the immersion.