Osechi Ryori: French Osechi by Restaurant Okumura

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series O-shogatsu Ryori

In 2009 we brought you authentic Kyoto osechi New Year’s cuisine and while Japanese style is the norm there are some restaurants that do Western, Chinese or fusion-type osechi. I had a chance to meet Chef Shinzo Okumura of Restaurant Okumura who is said to have invented ‘French Kaiseki’ and talk with him about his unique French osechi cuisine.

Chef Okumura launched his French osechi 20 years ago. At that time people in Kyoto mainly had Japanese-style osechi but they were ready for something different and people were surprised but happy to try it. It is still a hit, every year hundreds of families celebrate the new year with Chef Okumura’s osechi.

Osechi Ryori: French Osechi by Restaurant Okumura おくむらのおせち料理 西洋膳所おくむら一乗寺本店

Restaurant Okumura's Osechi Jubako Box

Osechi Ryori: French Osechi by Restaurant Okumura おくむらのおせち料理 西洋膳所おくむら一乗寺本店

Restaurant Okumura's French Osechi

Osechi Ryori: French Osechi by Restaurant Okumura おくむらのおせち料理 西洋膳所おくむら一乗寺本店

Restaurant Okumura's French Osechi - Box 1

Ichinojyu Top Box Contents (from top to bottom, left to right)
Ham and Cheese Quiche, Karasumi Salted Mullet Roe and Sauteed Chestnuts
Amadai Poele Steamed and Grilled Young Sea Bream
Potato, Cheese, Kyoto Vegetable and Truffle Galette

Marinated Scallops with Julienned Kintoki Ninjin Carrots
Homard Lobster Ratatouille
Beef Terrine (and Gold Leaf)

Kuro Mame Black Bean, Lotus Root with Katsuo Powder
Wagyu Beef Roast Teriyaki
Wagyu Beef Chili Con Carne

Osechi Ryori: French Osechi by Restaurant Okumura おくむらのおせち料理 西洋膳所おくむら一乗寺本店

Restaurant Okumura's French Osechi - Box 2

Ninojyu Middle Box Contents (from top to bottom, left to right)
Aomi Daikon, Dill and Vinegared Lotus Root Wrapped in Smoked Salmon
Matsutake, Kinusaya Peapods and Kuruma Ebi Shrimp Vinaigrette

Vinegared Flounder Sashimi and Kabura Turnip Roll
Lobster and Plum Blossom Shaped Kintoki Ninjin Carrot and Nagaimo
Flounder Galantine

Ikura in Yuzu (Japanese citrus fruit)
Foie Gras and Truffle Terrine in Kabosu (Japanese citrus fruit)
Kazunoko, Simmer Ayu and Komochi Kombu

Osechi Ryori: French Osechi by Restaurant Okumura おくむらのおせち料理 西洋膳所おくむら一乗寺本店

Restaurant Okumura's French Osechi - Box 3

Sannojyu Bottom Box Contents (from top to bottom, left to right)
Marinated Sea Bream Sashimi, Wine Steamed Abalone, Kiku Kabura Pickled Turnip, Daitokiji Natto on Pine Needle and Hajikami

Marinated Sangoshi (Young Spanish Mackerel) Sashimi,
Ryuhi Maki (Kombu Wrapped Flounder) Chrysanthemum Petals

Yuzu Sauce Marinated Managatsuo (Japanese Butterfish) Grilled, Grilled Salmon Misozuke, Yellowtail Buri Teriyaki

Iimushi Sake Streamed Mochi Rice with Kabura and Kintoki Ninjin Carrot, Boiled Crab Legs

Osechi Ryori: French Osechi by Restaurant Okumura おくむらのおせち料理 西洋膳所おくむら一乗寺本店

Restaurant Okumura Staff Packing Osechi Boxes

The Osechi Rush
After our second interview on December 30th, I snapped this great photo of friendly and personable Chef Okumura. I asked him he wanted to put on his chef hat and pose but he said no thanks, as is is best. He looks tired because he just finished making more than 300 boxes of osechi!

Osechi is usually made on the 29th and 30th, and shipped by ‘cool’ delivery on the evening of the 30th to arrive anywhere in the country on the 31st. All the work has to be done in the space of about 48 hours, max. So, usually there is no sleep for chefs and kitchen staff making osechi.

Osechi Ryori: French Osechi by Restaurant Okumura おくむらのおせち料理 西洋膳所おくむら一乗寺本店

Chef Shinzo Okumura - A really nice guy!

We have a few more articles coming about Chef Okumura and his French kaiseki restaurants in Kyoto. Stay tuned.

17 Responses to “Osechi Ryori: French Osechi by Restaurant Okumura”

  1. kat says:

    wow that looked so good, was it expensive?

  2. Karla says:

    Mercy! French Kaiseki! The best of the two top cuisines in the world! I have had beautiful Osechi Ryori both in Japan, and here in LA, but I have to tell you… I am simply stunned!! This is beyond beautiful! What a perfect marriage! I have never lusted after any meal so much in my life!

  3. Peko Peko says:

    Hello kat, The sandanju (three box set) is 65,000 yen and the nidanju (two box set) is 48,000 yen. Not especially expensive for a famous restaurant’s osechi. Osechi doesn’t exactly offer good cost performance.

    Hello Karla, Really? It looks that great to you? Yeah, I guess so. I was hoping that it would be a little more French, but I guess that would make it less ‘Kyoto’. I am kind of thinking of getting this for next year. There is an Italian restaurant in Kyoto that also has an interesting Osechi that I am interested in trying. I guess I have about 11 months to make up my mind.

  4. Wow that looks fantastic! To be honest I’m not a huge fan of most traditional osechi dishes. Next year I’m definitely going non-traditional.

  5. Mora says:

    Happy New Year to everyone at KyotoFoodie! The osechi-ryori looks amazing. I understand your comment about it not seeming very French. Nevermind…I would have much preferred this to celebrate the new year. Can’t wait to hear about the Italian osechi nex year. Speaking of Restaurant Okumura, will you be interviewing the head pastry/bakery chef any time soon? I would love to know the genesis of the caramel bread cube the bakery makes that we enjoyed there while in Kyoto in November.

  6. Karla says:

    YUP.. it looks yummy! Don’t get me wrong, I truly adore the traditional Kyoto style Osechi Riyori. I have friends who have wracked their brains over just getting the “appropriate foods” into their boxes, i.e. Kuro mame. These days, it’s a long process, and I was blessed to have a friend whose Mom was still up for doing the whole production. My family comes from Missouri, and it wouldn’t be New Years without black eyed peas. I LOVE the symbolism of New Years Foods.

  7. Risa says:

    I love the combination of the two cuisines, and I agree, 65,000 doesn’t sounds very expensive when compared to other restaurants. I always seem to spend about $300 on ingredients alone. How many guests is the three-tiered box for?

  8. Peko Peko says:

    HI Marc @ NoRecipes ちゃん, Yes, I have never been blown away, or even close to it by osechi. It is much more a custom than a great meal. You can tell how people in Japan ate like 1000 years ago from eating osechi, which is nice. It is like conceptual art. What you see in front of your eyes isn’t the whole deal.

    Hello Mora, Yes, the square caramel creme filled bread cubes were very interesting and tasty. Thanks very much! I think the son is heading that up, not the father (Shinzo). I am planning to do an article about their other restaurants and the caramel cream pasty cube will likely make an appearance on KF one day pretty soon here.

    Hello Karla, Black eyed peas in Missouri on New Years? No kidding. I will have to Google that one. Yes, the symbolism of Osechi is really delightful. I really wish we had a New Year celebration in the US with a bit more depth, like Christmas.

    Hi Risa ちゃん, You made osechi in America too! Osechi is not budget food. If you spend $300 on ingredients and then spend 2 days cooking, you get to about $600 pretty easily, I think. As for the number of eaters for the 3 tiered box, I would say that a family of 4 could make a meal of that pretty easily, maybe six or eight if you augment if with my traditional New Year’s breaki: Veuve Clicquot and uni and ikura donburi.

  9. J2Kfm says:

    Such varieties, such colors.
    They make great party food, or for family get-together.

  10. Karla says:

    Hi Peko Peko, “Hoppin’ John” or black eyed peas are a big deal for New Years celebrations in the South. Collards also. I have a caveat here that I am born and raised in So Cal. But I have memories of my Grandma. Check out this article http://frederickdouglassopie.blogspot.com/2009/12/hoppin-john-and-new-years-food.html
    Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu!

  11. S Lloyd says:

    I am so happy to discover the marvelous food from Japan. The Japanese food is as tasty, varied, vibrant and colorful. Thanks to you, I am expanding my foodie passion more and more to the oriental world and the amazement is remarkable.
    And I also have a question for you: I love your pictures. With what Digital SLR + lens did you take them?

  12. TK says:

    Happy New Year. As always everything looks delish.

    I like your traditional New Year’s breakfast. Where do you get your uni and ikura from?


  13. […] Restaurant Okumura french osechi […]

  14. Marie says:

    Swoon. The daikon and lotus root in smoked salmon and the sangoshi mackerel in particular took my breath away!

  15. Yuko says:

    WOW!! I’ve never seen a French Osechi. That’s an awesome idea. I would love to try this. :):):)

  16. […] tel 075-541-2205 hours: 12-1:30, 5:30-9pm address: Kyoto, Higashiyama, Gion-cho Minamigawa 570-6 website: http://www.restaurant-okumura.com/takumi/ KyotoFoodie article: Osechi Ryori: French Osechi by Restaurant Okumura […]

  17. […] morning I stopped by Oreno Pan, a bakery owned by Kyoto chef Naoki Okumura of Restaurant Okumura, Gion Okumura and Takumi Okumura. I love Oreno’s maccha flavored ‘melon pan‘ […]

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