If you love everything green tea, then Kyoto Uji Fujii Chaen is for you. Here, green tea is not limited to a refreshing beverage, but is also used as a main ingredient in various savory dishes like soba noodles, cakes and desserts.
Kyoto Uji Fujii Chaen's family-owned parent company has been cultivating high quality tea leaves for 480 years in Uji's verdant countryside in Kyoto, the green tea mecca of Japan. Now, a branch of this long-established traditional tea garden in Uji City, Kyoto, has opened at Tokyu Plaza Shibuya.
Customers are welcomed with conventional Kyoto hospitality. Diffused light emanating from papered panels, dark wood furniture, and plants dotting the restaurant make you feel like you have stepped into a tea house. I availed of the cha kaiseki zen. Originally, cha kaiseki means "a light meal served before a Japanese traditional tea ceremony." This particular menu is called obanzai, a cuisine style native to Kyoto. It consists of ichiju-sansei (one soup plus three dishes), served with pickles, tea-steamed rice, tea salt, and of course, tea.
There are eleven dishes to choose from, making it extremely difficult to pick only three. I ended up selecting the following (in the photo, clockwise from the rice): deep-fried meat stuffed lotus root flavored with sanshou Japanese pepper, chicken with spicy walnut sauce, and deep fried Spanish mackarel served with a thick sauce made with yuba (tofu skin). No matter which side dishes you pick, you are guaranteed a refined meal consisting of fresh seasonal ingredients with subtle natural flavors.
The vegetal taste of green tea with its slightly nutty undertones work so well with savory dishes. Matcha's full body, and rich and creamy texture work well with lattes and desserts. Enjoy both at Kyoto Uji Fujii Chaen.