As we stood in front of Kanei soba restaurant a solid 40 min before the opening, a man asked us if this was a soba shop and I wondered the same thing. Kanei is located a short distance from the center of Kyoto in a residential area and it looks just like a regular house with no sign. The location of Kanei is not exactly a secret since it earned a star in the Kyoto Michelin guide.
By the time the door opened at around 11h40, the line was snaking around the corner and people were hoping to get one of the 16 seats. Kanei is a small gem of a restaurant.
We were the first so we sat right next to the garden. But that’s it, simple and beautiful.
Our table with soba tea
The hand written menu
I started by ordering a portion of cold zaru soba which is the simpliest of all soba.
The soba have a very mild taste and a great texture.
The dipping sauce has a really rich taste, very heavy on the katsuo. My wife says that it sometime to much for some Japanese customers but in my case, it’s heaven.
We shared the zaru soba.
My main dish was kamo (duck) soba.
It looks like nothing, but the duck and the soup were insanely delicious.
After the first sip of the soup, I was madly in love with this dish which is the most expensive on the menu at a 1600 yen. The broth is intense, complex and felt like a big band in my mouth.
My wife ordered the chicken soba soup which was also very good, but very tame compared to the duck.
I can understand how Kanei earned a Michelin star and if you are patient you can also enjoy a little bowl of ducky heaven.
It’s possible to reserve at night while lunch is a first arrived, first served kind of deal. I plan to come back for dinner and try some of the other stuff on the menu including an omelet only offered at dinner.
Kanei is the proof that patience in Japan is always rewarded.