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Rakushin

The kamonasu takiawase (a Kyoto heirloom eggplant simmered in dashi) was served with sukiyaki-thin pork, and melded together in a lemon sauce. The futamono (covered dish) was a clear soup containing fish paste studded with sweet corn and Hokkaido scallop — a delicate combination of sweetness and texture. Also worth singling out was the chirimenjako (semi-dried sardine) sandwich. OK purists, it was not exactly a sandwich, rather, the sardines were deep fried, molded into two wafer-thin strips and, rather like an obi, were used to tie a piece of snapper coated with a layer of yuzu sauce. It was as inventive as it was delicious. Lunch ended with black bean ice cream: Katayama managed to deliver a sweet taste, similar to that of porter beer, from this auspicious bean. Rakushin is full of promise and surprise. and the Katayama husband-and-wife team give austerity a deserved following.