Kyoto Garden Sushi Cape Town | Review

This Wednesday we received an unexpected invitation to visit Kyoto Garden Sushi for dinner. The weather was, as it has been all week, less-than-appealing. Given any other set of circumstances, I would have rather declined and stayed in bed with my hot water bottle - however, after spending the afternoon searching for reviews (this one in particular) I knew we had to brave the weather.

To be clear from the start - despite their name - this is not a sushi restaurant. This is Japenese fine dining at its most delicious and refined. Not one ingredient lands on your plate without an explicit need for it to be there. No unnecessary garnishes, condiments and flavourings - and, with ingredients of this quality, you don't need them.

We started with their signature Ginger Mizuwari cocktail - made with  root ginger, fresh limes and a smooth whiskey - it heaven for my ginger and whiskey loving husband. 

With our drinks, we were offered a selection of snacks - clean, refreshing flavours which included bamboo, baby clams and mustard pickled cabbage. All were delicious, with the bamboo being declared the favourite. 

Most often described as 'zen', the interior of Kyoto Sushi Garden is clean and refreshing, softened with beautiful ambient lighting and the gentle trickle of a waterfall in the garden of the bathrooms - if it hadn't been a little creepy, I would have taken my camera to the bathrooms to show you.

We arrived between cloud bursts, sat down and arranged for the first order of business - drinks. However, after that, we openly admitted we had no idea what to order - to the extent that we couldn't get past the first page of the menu. Thankfully, the owner Scott was there to intervene. Suggesting that we both start with soup - to fight the chill of the evening - Luke enjoyed Alaskan King Crab with Seaweed and Egg, while I had 'the sea' -which featured prawns, clams, octopus, mussels, scallops and seaweed in a clear broth.

As we both adore Asian flavours the clear, flavourful broth and slivers of seaweed were a heavenly start for us. Luke's soup had a generous portion of Alaskan crab (claw included), and mine was packed with the sea. Generous portions of both meant that our hunger was almost satiated - from this point onwards, we were only eating for the delicious sake of it.

What followed was a Japanese twist on a fish course - Cob ceviche - with the sweetest lime juice, and phenomenal tuna tartare. As we are mostly accustomed to the Peruvian version of ceviche - cured for almost 24 hours in lime juice with red onion and coriander, the Japanese version was delightfully fresh. Squeezed with fresh lime just before serving and topped with a bare sprinkling of snipped chives, it was light, sweet and elegant.

The tartare arrived, a mound of deep red tuna - and looked rather unassuming. However, on first bite, we were met with flavours of light soy and fragrant wasabi - and could not stop eating it. If this could be lunch, every day, we'd be the happiest, healthiest people in the Cape.

(PS please note the general lack of carbs in the menu thus far.)

Next, in keeping with the sea theme, we were brought oysters. Each with a different flavour - my favourite was the ginger and cucumber. Obviously, they knew I had to prepare for the Knysna Oyster Festival next week. It was a refreshing interlude to the meal, and enjoyed with a Dirty Ninja Saketini.

We then toured through a plate of ecstacy - scallop, prawn and octupus saute with mushroom and seaweed. Clean flavours, beautifully cooked - there's really not much more to say.

The next plate was a rare treat - salmon roe sushi topped with a quail egg yolk and fresh wasabi on the side. Gently dragging the piece through fresh wasabi, before a quick dip in soy sauce, it is meant to be eaten by hand and enjoyed whole. Surprisingly creamy and filled with texture, it was one of the most memorable dishes of the meal.

The seafood feast continued with the ocean delight salad - prawns, squid and octopus in a light white dressing, it was light and fresh but not my favourite meal of the evening. 

Next, tempura mussels - light, crunchy batter encasing steaming mussels, with a light soy dipping sauce. A bowl filled with these would make a great dinner any night of the week. Winner.

With the promise of Wagyu style beef, black sesame ice cream - and many other delights on the menu, we had to leave. We simply couldn't eat any more - another bite would have been wasteful - and honestly, disrespectful to the care and attention shown to each plate.

We left, filled with gratitude (and an assortment of Japanese delights) and genuinely happy. It's amazing the effect an exceptional evening has on your emotions. Kyoto Garden Sushi has been consistently serving exquisite Japaneses food for seven years - we only hope they continue.

Note : We enjoyed our meal as guests of Kyoto Garden Sushi. All views and images are my own.


  1. Wow, looks so delicious! Your photos are always so great too. x



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