This entirely vegan Japanese cafe is one of my favourite vegan spots that I visited in my last Japan trip. It’s convenient location means it’s accessible by train and within close proximity of the famous Nishiki Market and Imperial Palace, two spots that are a must on your Kyoto sightseeing list.
The sign isn’t very big and the restaurant isn’t on the ground floor, so keep a keen eye and make sure your Google Maps is precise! But it is only a five minute walk away from Karawamachi station.
With an interesting menu, amazing flavours and healthy, vegan meals – totally my kind of place – it’s no wonder why customers que outside long before opening time.
No wonder this place is so popular! The restaurant is quite spacious and has decent seating, but even still, a que has formed before opening time.
There is even special seating for families with small children, with a play area.
Mumokuteki 3 Types of Special Set, ¥2150.
This set combines all three mains.
The menu at Mumokuteki offers a range of Gozen, set meals that consist of a main with side dishes, miso soup and rice. There are three mains offered: Vegan hamburg steak made with tofu, okara konnyaku and various types of veggies, Vegan fried chicken (karaage ) made with Okara konnyaku, and a Miso cutlet that is made with crispy fried okara konnyaku slices in a rich miso sauce.
All Gozen come with a large serving of rice and free refills.
I wanted to try all three mains so I ordered the ‘Mumokuteki 3 types of special set’ for ¥2150.
The vegetable side dishes are supervised by the owner of Kyoto Blanca, a very popular Izayaka (Japanese bar) beloved by foodies in Kyoto. These dishes change from time to time. When I visited, I had a green veggie Shiraae which is a traditional Japanese dish that usually features a tofu sauce, however at Mumokuteki this sauce is mixed with pistachio and black olive. It’s a fusion shiraae!
The rest of their side dishes are also interesting fusions foods like: shredded potato salad seasoned with vinegar and sansyo pepper, shredded tofu salad with almond paste, and curry flavoured pumpkin. Modern twists on traditional Japanese dishes, very interesting!
The menu said I’d get three side dishes but I got four! (I think the pumpkin was a substitute for the pickles)
This thick hamburg steak had a great texture – made from the goodness of tofu and okara konnyaku with a demi-glace sauce.
Both the humburg and sauce were rich and full in flavour, my Mum was shocked at how yummy they were!
The Vegan karaage and miso katsu are both deep-fried foods. But, both are made from okara konnyaku which is super healthy and plant-based, meaning cholesterol-free so they are guilt-free! Okara konnyaku has great texture that Mumokuteki has used to mimic the texture of meat fabulously.
Tofu Yuba Omurice, ¥1500.
The fresh yuba was such a delight, as it’s impossible to find in Australia.
Omurice is a Japanese dish consisting of an omelette made with fried rice and thin, scrambled eggs. Substituting the eggs is fresh yuba, tofu skin, with a perfectly soft egg texture.
Usually, I’m not a huge fan of scrambled tofu pretending to be a scrambled egg, in the past I’ve found the tofu flavour too overpowering to be an egg substitute, even though the look and texture is quite similar. However, this yuba not only looked like the perfect egg, but had a very subtle soy flavour and a beautiful demi-glace that made for an overall delicious dish!
Inside of the yuba egg is well flavoured fried rice with a rich demi-glace sauce – just a gorgeous combo.
In Australia I can only find dried yuba, not fresh, that isn’t the Japanese style and is more prevalent in south-east Asia. I was very happy to be able to have fresh yuba, cooked with the perfect combo – just divine.
Now time for some dessert!
Vegan Sweet Potato Parfait, ¥1500
I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but this desert was just divine!
When I saw the autumn special dessert page on the menu at home, I was determined to try it no matter what! Still very full from lunch, we decided to share the sweet potato parfait.
It was the same price as the Omurice, but was so worth it! A special, organic sweet potato from Kagoshima is used. Inside of the glass rests a gluten-free sponge cake made using rice flour, roasted nuts, a beautiful soy ice cream that doesn’t taste like soy at all, sweet potato cream, and crispy, sweet potato chips – just DIVINE!
I don’t have a sweet tooth but this dessert, I may have enjoyed it more than the meal… that is how amazing it was.
Vegan Chai Latte and Coffee, ¥600 each
Even the drinks are perfect – fussy chai lover Yoshiko is super happy!
To wash it down, I ordered a vegan chai latte and coffee. I love chai lattes, perhaps too much as I’m quite fussy with how they should taste; not too sweet or too little spice, which is most common. I was brave enough to order a chai latte and… it was perfect! My coffee-loving mum was also pleased with her soy latte. We were both so full and happy after our meal at Mumokuteki.
Not only is the restaurant conveniently located near the train station, but is also in close proximity to some of Kyoto’s famous sightseeing spots. Mum and I went to the famous Nishiki Market and the Imperial palace and garden, Kyoto Gyoen.
Baskets of Japanese Tsukemono, pickled vegetables, at Nishiki Market
Just a four minute walk away, Nishiki Ichiba is a very famous market where you can find amazing Kyoto foods like colourful tsukemono, freshly roasted and brewed tea, and many traditional foods. The market is known as Kyoto’s kitchen and sells everything from fresh, local produce to traditional Japanese items.
Furoshiki is a traditional wrapping cloth used to transport goods
I got this rice ball furoshiki, isn’t it so cute? In Kyoto, you can easily find very Japanese items which you can’t find ordinarily in department stores.
It’s a bit of a longer walk to the imperial palace for those of you so inclined, but you can easily catch a train or take a taxi.
Kyoto Gyoen – Kyoto Imperial Palace and gardens
It’s also quite the walk around the entire garden as it is quite big, make sure you’re prepared for a light workout! My mum is 80 years old and walked a lot; I’m glad she can do that at her age. We ended up walking 15km in total! (mum actually walked more than me since she had gone for a morning jog with her friend).
There are many vegan places to eat in Kyoto, unlike other places in the Kansai area like Osaka and Hyogo prefecture, where my parents live. My hubby also loves Kyoto so we make sure to always visit, but this time I wasn’t planning on going since he couldn’t join me on this trip. He spent 6 weeks in Ireland and was not able to take another break, even though he was absolutely desperate to come back to Japan. I was also busy doing so many things: domestic trips to Tokyo and Gunma, catching up with friends and spending time with my family, cooking healthy meals at home… and of course a lot of shopping. But Mum had free tickets to Kyoto, so I ended up visiting after all and I’m so glad. We ended up having a lovely time visiting the royal palace, Nishiki market and enjoying a wonderful vegan meal together!
Watch my experience of Mumokuteki on my Instagram:
Mumokuteki café & foods Kyoto
604-8061 Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, Shikibucho, 261
2nd floor Human forum honsya building
Website : https://mumokuteki.com/cafe
** There is a translate function on the bottom of the page
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