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Isshin Beef Specialties @ Kyoto


I decided to try something completely new this trip, well not entirely new new but to go for a solely beef omakase is a first. Thankfully Isshin accepted concierge reservations and we were lucky to get seats so close to Christmas.


We were shown to a private room for 2 and pretty much left to our own devices. I was definitely disappointed not scoring counter seats but those are apparently reserved for Japanese speakers and the Chef strictly does not allow the usage of phone.


Our appetizers of sea grapes, kiwi and beef in vinaigrette was promising. This tantalized the tastebuds a fair bit and I was surprised the appetizer had such a strong start - what could be up the chef's sleeves next?


The trio of appetizers that got some getting used to - by this course I still hadn't gotten the hang of eating all things beef.


Various cuts were presented, some with herb and even crushed nuts and a tofu was also served with ikura.


Pink, juicy and lightly seared, this beef packs umami in every bite and really, there is just something extra delicious about Japanese reared cows.



Cod Roe Sperm in Egg Tofu and Beef Tongue

Clean tasting course with creamy bursts of roe. Who'd have expect that slab of tofu to spring surprises and this broth course was already a winner.


Beef Salad

Beef Tongue with sweet nad juicy tomatoes. Perfect balance with orange and cream sauce. Beef sashimi unlike fish, has alot more flavour and bite.


Beef Sashimi and Seaweed

Chewy almost crunchy with a savoury finish from the seaweed. With eyes closed I'd never have imagined it would be beef.


Roast Beef and Daikon in starchy broth

Comforting soup for winter, the roast beef had that crusty exterior and sear which gave it a smoky flavour even when eaten with the broth. Until Japanese cuisine, I probably did not view daikon as a favourite vegetable.


Flaky goodness.


Sushi platter with beef sashimi presented three ways. Nigiri, maki and also pickled beef. Between the nigiri and maki, the former proved more satisfying.


These were cubed and marinated, so tasty!


Beef Tongue and Rice cake was also a favourite. Almost like beef curry with the gravy and a single crispy pan fried rice cake to balance it all out.


Miso Sponge was gingerly served with grated radish. I wonder what theatrics were next.


Wagyu grade seared with cracked pepper.


And so this was it, the miso sponge would melt into a sauce when placed on the hot plate. It was ingenious to watch and tasted just like a slice of heaven. Spot on, so delicious.


Homemade pickles with such insane precision. I stopped marveling at their attention to detail because it is a way of life but each time I am still impressed.


A simple porridge course with seaweed and of course beef. We started off with a stunning tofu soup, somewhere in the middle got blown away with a hearty winter favourite and now this light (in every sense of weight with popped rice grains, seaweed and beef slicces) broth.



I joked about dessert having some element of beef. A french classic of creme brulee and gelato was served up and I was a tad disappointed my musk melon was nowhere in sight.


Clearly I spoke too early since this persimmon icecream was the first ever eaten and the best I dare say. Refreshing and sweet, this was persimmon extracted!


And this creme brulee had a surprise in store for me, red bean paste at the bottom. Too delicious.


Nothing like a cup of roasted tea to end off my meal so perfectly.

JPY 13,000 and we left with such awesome memories of this very first beef omakase. My only gripe is, no explanation was given since their grasp of the English language was limited and we shared the air space with a boisterous neighbour who announced their business matters to the already small restaurant.

Isshin Beef Specialties

A foodie born to eat, shop and travel. Forced to work.

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