Across the street from the east gate of Daitoku-ji Temple sits Cafe Du Mon, an amazing little gem of a restaurant. A fusion of Japanese, French and Italian cuisine creates a unique palette of flavors and textures, each dish more striking and intriguing than the last.
The only place we have visited twice in nine days in Kyoto, we’ve enjoyed two superlative meals. We stopped by the other night for a second meal and they were closed. We thought the owner told us 7pm for dinner. We arrived at 7:15pm tonight, only to find it yet again closed – we did not realize that the closing time was 7:30ish, as it is long after the foot traffic from the temple dries up, certainly on a lightly rainy night.
They saw us walking away and called us back in. We had a private dinner as they prepped in the kitchen for the next day. It was so kind of them to invite us in, and we were rewarded with our second outstanding meal. After, we were asked where we were from, and talked about travel, cuisine, the Japanese and Kyoto for an hour. At the end of the meal, they wanted to take a photo with us, so we asked to take a photo with them. It is those special moments connecting with beautiful people from other countries that make travel such an enjoyable experience.
A few notes on the two meals:
- the “set” including a light herbed broth, a large salad with a delicate sesame vinaigrette and edible flowers and three small dishes including pressed soybean with greens, meatballs with mashed potatoes and eggplant with prosciutto.
- the dry green curry was a risotto, pungent and hot with ginger, filled with fresh vegetables, chicken and a soft egg yolk set gently in the center.
- the bolognese had a light chunky tomato sauce, and noodles just thicker than capellini, dressed with a bright olive oil
- the chicken bowl balanced seasoned rice and the most tender chicken in a soy balsamic reduction.
- the bruschetta featured three large slices of the freshest toastiest baguette, one with tomato basil, one with caponata and one with a soft basil cheese lathered with honey.
- we were brought the nicest little biscotti punctuated by dried salty natto, and soft, chewy pastries sweetened with honey.
In a city where the food is generally exceptional even at the smallest little noodle houses, Cafe Du Mon is a destination restaurant.
Earlier in the day, we hopped on a bus for just a few stops to Kinkaku-ji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion. The skies opened up and dozens of umbrellas dotted the paths. A small lake surrounded the temple, and the trees continue to turn ever more red in the soft mist of the afternoon. Remarkable and beautiful. (click to enlarge)
And here’s a photo from the back window (sliding door, actually) of our little studio in Murasakino, about three miles northwest of downtown Kyoto and a three minute walk from the amazing Daitokuji Temple.