For lunch at Harimaya I was joined by my son, who was celebrating a birthday, of sorts. Six months. He’s a good kid, but let’s face it, he’s a baby — so a six-course lunch could have been more a pain than a pleasure. Two things worked in our favor though. First, the food was a color fest: Imagine a kitchen where the chef works with a chopping board and a color wheel and you might get the picture. Second, we were tucked away in an anteroom room to the front of the restaurant; each time our waitress peeled back the sliding screens to bring forth our food it was like an elaborate game of peek-a-boo.
Harimaya sits just below street level at the antique-shop end of Gion. If lunch had a subtitle, it might be “The Color and the Taste,” or “Sight and Savory.” There was a luminosity to each dish: bright citrus hues offsetting winter browns, reds and holly greens. This was food alive to the possibility of color.