BLOGDining wisely at a Ryotei2019.02.19

Be a long-term, loyal patron of Ryotei, including the whole family members

ByTakako Satake

Celebrate important milestones of your life at a Ryotei. These will become the most precious times of your life. However, it is actually difficult for those who have not visited a Ryotei before to know why they can spend a special time there or what they can do at a Ryotei. Ryotei are usually considered to be hard to enter. In this feature, Takako Satake, the vice proprietress of Minokichi Honten Takeshigero, one of the most renowned Kyoto-style cuisine Ryotei, will teach Ryotei beginners how to use Ryotei to enhance your special days.

The third recommended occasion is family celebrations. The families of a couple are connected by their marriage. These families become bigger as a new baby arrives. This increases oppotunities to celebrate their important milestones. We, Ryotei can assist to make your important family celebrations memorable.

A ritual to celebrate your new born baby

The first occasion for your child to visit a Ryotei will be a Japanese traditional ritual named "Okuizome (literally baby's first meal celebration)". This ritual is to wish babies good health and have abundant food without hunger throughout their lives as well as to celebrate their growth as their first tooth appear around the time. Parents pretend to feed their babies solid food during the ritual. As the ritual is also called "100th day celebration", it usually takes place around the baby's 100th day of life.

Various items are required for this ritual. Although you can perform the ritual at home, I assume that new parents must be busy in child rearing. So, please leave the complete preparation to us, Ryotei, as we have everything required for the ritual. And, please enjoy celebrating your baby's growth with a clear feeling at the Ryotei.

Traditionally, vermillion lacquer tableware is used for boys and lacquer tableware coated in black on its exterior and vermillion on its interior for girls. Please inform us of your baby's gender when making a reservation. If you have specific tableware that your family have handed down through generations, please bring it with you. We will serve your baby's meals on it.

A typical Okuizome meal includes one soup and three simple dishes (a whole red snapper with head and tail intact, clear broth soup, a simmered dish, pickled vegetables, and red bean rice). To wish the baby's teeth to be strong, we deliberately include tough food such as simmered octopus and Okowa (sticky rice) on the menu. In addition, we always serve a stone called "Hagatame (literally "harden teeth)" on the side of the meal to wish the baby's teeth to be hard like a stone. We can prepare a grilled small red snapper for the adult family members. They can have it here or take it home with them. We ensure to make your baby's first visit here very memorable.

Making your children happy by celebrating boy's and girl's festivals (Tango-no-sekku and Hina-matsuri)

Various antique items other than tableware and utensils are preserved in long-established Ryotei. At Takeshigero, we have Hina dolls that have been inherited through generations since the Taisho era (1912-26). Unlike the staircase displays that are common, our Hina dolls are displayed in a miniature house, which is very unique. It will take about half a day to complete the whole setup. These elaborate dolls are so valuable that you can hardly see them now. We display the dolls at the hall around the time of the girl's festival every year. As we celebrate the festival in accordance with the lunar calendar, you can see the dolls until mid-April

We display a doll riding on a white horse called "Taisho-san (General)" on the boy's festival.
Unlike the dolls called "Gogatsu Ningyo (Dolls of May)", this figure was modeled after Minamoto no Yoshiie, who is said to have appeared as a reincarnation of Emperor Ojin. The doll is about 60-70cm tall.

Many families with three generations participate in family celebrations like these festivals. Seeing such precious, unique items up close will definitely satisfy your child's intellectual curiosity as well as your grandparents.

Special meals for children at celebrations of Shichi-go-san

Since the main person at the Shichi-go-san (ceremonies to celebrate children's growth when they turned the ages of 3,5, and 7) is children, we prepare most dishes based on their preferences. Since they are old enough to eat rice, if you select Washoku (Japanese cuisine) for the party menu, Ryotei are the best place to hold the party. The popular menu items for children at our Ryotei include grilled meat marinated in broth, shrimp tempura, and Chawan-mushi (savory egg custard). We serve these items putting in a lunch box

Understanding flavors of broth is very useful for dietary education. There is a saying that food experiences for children up to 3 years of age will determine their taste and flavor perception.
We will seriously take parents' and grandparents' wishes to have their children proper awareness of food by providing proper broth and dishes to them and carefully prepare their meals.

Nowadays, the number of houses with tatami rooms (traditional Japanese-style rooms) declines and we have less opportunities to spend time on tatami rooms. Even many Japanese don't know the manners at tatami rooms when they take international clients to a Ryotei. I believe that spending time at a Ryotei to celebrate something important in your children's daily lives since they are young will be useful for their lives.

The best age to plan a large-scale celebratory event for your parent's birthday

I believe that your parents will be pleased to be congratulated by you at their birthday, no matter what age they are. Recently, many customers usually reserve our Ryotei to celebrate their parent's 70th and 77th birthdays (named "Koki" and "Kijyu" respectively"). Celebrating parent's 60th birthday (named "Kanreki") at a Ryotei is becoming less because the parents are still very young.

or celebratory meals, we prepare a red snapper and red bean rice, not to say that the menu is as gorgeous as that of wedding reception. At celebrations of 99th birthday, we can score the ingredients of the meals with a knife to make your parents easy to eat. Many customers reserved our Ryotei without telling about memorial birthday celebrations like "Koki". Therefore, we always prepare red bean rice so that we can serve it on any occasion. If you inform us of such birthday celebration in advance, we can prepare sake or a flower bouquet as a gift from us. We try not to disturb a precious celebration of your family with our services but strive to support it as much as we can.

Ryotei will always support millstone events of customers.

As I mentioned in the previous feather of my column, many customers don't tell us their secret celebratory plans such as birthdays, and marriage proposals, which mentioned in the VOL.1, because they consider these events as a personal matter. Therefore, we keep our eyes open to notice the purpose of our customer's visit as soon as possible. After we notice it from their subtle signs on the day when they visit us or from their conversations, we will tell our chefs about it right away and prepare for assisting their celebration. For example, when we think it will be good to have flower after they arrive here, we will call a flower shop right away. Such urgent responses are frequently required. We often run errands from the Ryotei. We avoid noticing their secret plan around the time when they leave the Ryotei such as "Today was his/her birthday."

We, Ryotei, considerably value to act according to circumstances. We always think of how we can satisfy our customers and discuss it with our staff members. Please keep your mind that we, Ryotei, will always support your milestone events and please be relaxed when visiting us. We hope your family will become a royal patron of us through generations.

Takako Satake

he wife of Yoji Satake, the 11th generation chef of Minokichi Honten Takeshigero. She is struggling every day to operate the Ryotei with a history over 300 years as the vice proprietress. At Takeshigero, customers can spend a relaxing time while enjoying seasonal Kyoto-style dishes at the tatami rooms in the two buildings: the main building in Sukiya-style, inspired by tea houses and the annex in Gassho-style, which has steeply pitched thatched roofs. They can also enjoy great views of the bamboo garden with a stream from these rooms.

Editors' Choice

Editors' Choice

At ryotei, it is possible to experience the aesthetic beauty of “quiet” with the five senses in each space, including the decorations in both tatami-mat rooms and floored rooms, the garden scenery, the movements of the hostess and waitresses, and the colors of seasonal moods. With regard to “cuisine,” it is possible to experience the aesthetic beauty of “movement” as you watch the food preparation and presentation process before your eyes while you sit at the counter, observing the actions of the head chef and his first and second assistants. In this segment, we introduce ryotei and cuisine selected from among restaurants that Kyoto CHISHIN editing staff have actually visited and where we can guarantee you will be able to “experience the beauty aesthetic of quiet and movement.”