Sunday, February 21, 2010

The day the jellyfish became a cloud: Cool restaurant in Kanazawa

Dining for 2 overlooking the floodlit garden

Well after 10 months of living here I thought I'd sampled my fair share of some of the wonderful eatieries in Kanazawa but none that could quite match this little hidden gem. I say hidden because this really isn’t a restaurant any tourist or gaijin resident of Kanazawa would simply stumble upon, unless you get totally lost down the back streets down the back of the samurai district and even then you wouldn’t know it was a restaurant!

And I say gem because, well....I’ve not been to anything that mixes contemporary cool with the traditional so brilliantly, it made me feel totally untrendy! My only caveat here is that I’m not a tourist in Kanazawa, I live here on a measly ALT wage and quite possibly there are many other top hidden gem restaurants in Kanazawa that I just can’t afford to go to. Cue the boo hoos...

So a few weeks ago I was sat in a bar with my friend Maylee and she showed me this cool little wooden ketai chain (like a keyring for mobile phones) explaining that a work colleague had taken her to this fab restaurant with a wickedly bizzare name..wait for it.... "The Day the Jellyfish became a Cloud" (くらげが雲になる日 or in romanji : kurage ga kumo ni naru hi) that had a member/loyalty scheme. Basically the first time you go to the restaurant you get given a blank key ring and a first timers menu, the 2nd time you get the next menu up with a few more dishes added and even cooler they engrave your little wooden key ring with a kanji symbol. Not just any kanji either, it’s the first kanji symbol for the The Day the Jellyfish became a Cloud.

Anyone looking for a break from Japanese cuisine but still wants modern Japanese style and ambience then this IS the place well that’s if you can find it, hehe.

I mean even as you enter through the Japanese courtyard it’s hard to know whether you’re not wandering about in some randoms garden...blink and you’ll miss the sign outside and no signs for anyone who walks into the courtyard. Just follow the stepping stone path to the right and through the door to the deceptively large and beautiful Japanese garden all lit up, it gives you a good feeling of a place.

Floodlit garden, sorry only had my mini camera

Although Maylee had been once before she started walking across the garden but I had an intelligent moment (first time for everything) and noticed that she was making fresh footprints in the snow and questioned whether that was the right way. It wasn’t!

Anyway round the back we found a tatami screen door, no sign or anything, and cautiously entered. Yep this was it, hallelujah. After literally unchanging..well shoes off, coats off, and then multiple unpeeling of layers we had a chance to marvel the inside of the restaurant.

A superb place with a orori (traditional fireplace) in the middle centrepiece, urban Japanese style, a long dining bar and a unique 2 seat dining set up exclusively overlooking the beautiful garden. How romantic, check it out! Even the table accessories were very cool. See pics

Menu was quite simple, about 5 choices of noodles and curry “pan asian” according to Maylee who was now looking at her members menu…I was so jealous, she had more choices! I opted for the Beef noodles which were sensational and really woke up the taste buds again. Awww fresh lemongrass and coconut, close your eyes you’d think you’re in Thailand. Well sort of.

Anyway didn’t want this to turn into a long, gabbling post but if you’re in Kanazawa and fancy a wonderful “pan Asian” dinner (especially if you’re a couple) then this is the place to go. Oh and apparently they’re open every evening apart from Sunday 5pm-10pm.

I could only find websites and blogs with more photos in Japanese but feel free to have a look at these fab pics

What are you waiting for?!

PS Google map below

View The day the jellyfish became a cloud restaurant in a larger map

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