By Cathy Cawood
My obsession with the perfect panko crumbed oyster and pork cutlet, crisp on the outside, tender on the inside, has found its destination here in Dontsuki.
So, if you are like me, you just had a big day of bargaining for some bric a brac at Teramachi (Temple Street Antique markets), and wanting somewhere to nourish yourself and recharge your camera while admiring your latest purchase?
Or are you hanging out for some local beer or shochu and a chat with the barman? Well I was thinking the same thing before getting ready for an afternoon of discovery in Kyoto.
After trying unsuccessfully at a number of eateries, the bright idea came to my head. How about a supper bar that is better known to night owls than early birds? That proved to be a great idea, as going against the crowd can yield great rewards. The owner welcomed us with open arms and quick service, and before you knew it I had a beer and a delicious izakaya (Japanese pub style) set lunch for just 650 yen. They also have bottles of beer from 350 yen and appetizers from 300 yen.
This hole in the wall bar/ izakaya literally has no windows, but the simple raw wood décor and a light breeze means no thoughts of claustrophobia. There is a counter where you can admire the various types of beers, whiskies and shochu, all at very reasonable prices. Or sit yourself at one of the booths, where you can admire the sake box lights and the slightly Scandinavian like décor.
The highlight for me was the kaki fry (lightly battered oysters) which was totally melt in your mouth goodness, perfect with a beer and had me wanting more. The oysters are dipped in egg and then lighted crumbed with panko, and voila, amazingly delicious. You can dip it in tonkatsu sauce of mayonnaise. The barman tells me men who want to conceive should have plenty of oysters, and who am I to argue.
And just in case you need convincing, oysters are excellent sources of selenium, zinc, iron, calcium as well as Vitamin B12. Some people even say that oysters were considered to be an aphrodisiac.
The crumbed pork cutlet was also beautifully fried, and went well with the pickles, miso soup and rice. The barman tells me, 'If you want to sell it, crumb it'. He is of course referring to the addiction we seem to have with hot food, crispy on the outside, tender on the inside.
The word panko comes from the Portuguese word for bread, and the Japanese word for crumb. A perfect marriage of west and east. It is made from Japanese wheat bread, which is slowly dried and then shredded into crispy flakes. Because they are crispy to start with, they are super crisp by the time they come out of the fryer.
My friend had the marinated sardine and rice set, which was delicious, but looked too healthy for me! Speaking of healthy, they also serve alcohol free beer!
Located in the fashionable Teramachi district, Dontsuki is a great find. This is a popular place for after work drinks, so give them a call just in case you have a big party. They have counter sitting for ten people, which makes it very intimate and comfortable. It is just a two minute walk to the subway, which is all important should you want to make it for the last train at midnight.
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I knew my future was destined to be with Japan the moment I flew from Sydney to experience the atmospheric lane ways of Kyoto last century. From the skies above Sapporo to the old charm of Naha's alleyways, I have been enchanted by the beauty and variety on every island. I am humbled to have met many distinguished people in my role as Regional Partner, especially the national living treasures of Japan, such as the doll maker to the Imperial Family. From sushi cooking classes to Ninja training grounds I welcome your ideas on what you like from JapanTravel.com. Please visit us in Kyoto or Osaka and have some green tea or sake with us.