I ate my lunch at Ajiro in the company of a bewildered farmer with a comical Donald Trump-like mop of hair. But looks were the least of his concern; rather it was a bull that had got the better of him, escaping from the herd and hightailing it to the hills. Luckily he finally found the animal hiding behind a rock, lassoed him and triumphantly led him back to the herd. Was there something in my miso soup you might be wondering?

This was the simple but satisfying scene painted on the six fusuma (papered sliding doors) that surrounded me while I ate lunch at Ajiro. This restaurant specializes in shōjin ryōri, traditional vegetarian Buddhist cuisine. And that painted bull was the only trace of meat at this restaurant, which serves only vegetarian meals.

Ajiro is located north-west of central Kyoto on the southern edge of the Myoshinji Hanazono complex, a sprawling district with a total of 46 temples and subtemples. It's not surprising that chef Yoshitaka Senoo chose to focus on Buddhist fare — particularly considering he worked in the kitchen of one of the complex's temples prior to opening Ajiro.