Japan Mar 2011 Day 4 – Macarons @ Jean-Philippe Darcis Kyoto & Unagi don dinner
After our little tour at Nishiki Market, we found ourselves at Daimaru Kyoto, located in between Kawaramachi and Karasuma stations. Won’t miss the chance for a little “tour” of the depachika as well. True enough, the basement is filled with little takeaway corners representing various big names which have found themselves in Kyoto. The one that struck us most was a small little booth by the famed Belgian patissier cum chocolatier, Jean-Philippe Darcis.
According to the counter staff, this is Darcis’ only “shoppu” in the Kansai region, with one other “very far away” at a place which I could not remember in Kyushu! Not tokyo for sure if not I would have known. 🙂 The booth had only two things, macarons and chocolates. Out of the 15 flavours on Darcis’ macaron menu 9 flavours were available that day.
Framboise, Citron, Caramel, Cafe, Pistache, Cassis Violette, Orange Chocolat, Vanille, Chocolat. Not a bad spread we thought, since we aint gonna buy up everything anyway! LOL
We brought back 3 flavours, namely from the top, Cassis Violette, Citron and Framboise as I’m partial to fruit-themed macs and always favoured tart flavours to those which would give the buttercream more lift and less heft. So blackcurrant, lemon and raspberry would be ideal.
The macarons are quite sizeable and made using the italian meringue method. Shells were shiny with very decent feet. But that’s only to be expected I guess. The shells are by far the best we’ve had in Kansai. But how do they fair?
First the cassis violette. Scores very high on aromatics. The shell has a very nice crunch to it and went very well with the blackcurrant-infused white chocolate ganache filling. I would have expected it to be very sour but no, it was much more tamed that what I had anticipated but very good nonetheless.
The framboise too had very well-made shells. Very consistent texture and quality of coques. this tasted more delicate than the cassis violette and again, less tart than what I had hoped for. Perhaps it was done so to suit the tastes of the Japanese crowd.
Citron didn’t shine as much as cassis-violette, hardly tasting of lemons at all with it being more sweet than astringent. once again, seemed like very “safe” moves made by the Belgian chocolatier.
Didnt try the assortment of bonbons and pralines but I’m sure they would fare better than his macs. Darcis is afterall more known as a chocolatier than a patissier. But still, I think fared satisfactorily in the macarons I’d tried. Not the best but surely not the worst.
We were absolutely famished after leaving Daimaru. Need to look for a place to eat and we had one listed on our itinerary, an old shop which is well-known for their grilled eel, unagi cuisine. We had a hard time finding the place but when we were there, we were shocked. The menu was way too pricey than what we had expected to pay for dinner. Thankfully there were other eateries nearby and we chose one which was more like a family restaurant. And we had unagi too! At a modest fraction of what we would have paid otherwise.
Unagi don, thick slabs of grilled freshwater eel glazed with kabayaki sauce. The latter is a concoction of mirin, shoyu and zatou in the ratio of 2:2:1. The sweet and savoury flavours accompanying the juices that oozed out was much welcomed for an empty and growling stomach.
Potato and Pork Stew, a very “homely” Japanese dish known as “Nikujaga” which every Japanese housewife is capable of making. Its simplicity is so gratifying, especially with a piping hot bowl of rice.
Tori karaage, chunks of fried chicken thigh meatmarinated with sugar, grated ginger and shoyu. pretty standard and nothing much to shout about.
pickled vegetables to go along. I love this stuff!
The highlight of J’s set meal, a very succulent hamburger steak. minced beef with onions and an assortment of condiments. Very juicy and tender. Not wagyu for sure but its good enough for me. Overall, a very delicious dinner without all that pretentious pomp and circumstance. A shop diagonal to the famous unagi shop in Kyoto. We would be back again, if we are in the area.