両親の計画していた有馬温泉ツアーの欠員埋め要員としてかり出されました。こんな穴埋めならいつでもお呼び頂きたいものです。It was my mother and father’s idea to head off on an Arima Onsen tour, and when someone cancelled we were asked if we wanted to take their place… Alright!

夕食は宿併設のレストランで懐石を頂きました。ひとつ、ひとつ、繊細に小さな綺麗な器に入れられて来ます。こういう時、しみじみと日本料理の良さを想います。美しい四季が有る日本。旬の物を使って料るのは勿論、器でもそれを表現します。 まだまだ残暑厳しいこの日の有馬(36c!)は目にも涼やかなガラスの器が良く使われていました。まず先附け、左からとろ湯葉べっこう餡。海老と煮穴子とをほんのり甘い醤油味の餡で頂けます。隣はチーズ粕漬け。そして、帆立/アスパラ/新レンコンの胡麻ドレッシング。歯触りも楽しく、上に乗っているラレシトマトの葛豆腐、これがまた美味しかった。We ate in the Kaiseki restaurant attached to the rather palatial residence in which we were staying. One after the other, on came the carefully crafted dishes, served on, well, carefully crafted dishes (and plates, and glasses). It was still extremely hot up in Arima (36 degrees c), so it wasn’t accidental that they served everything in cool, clear glass. So… let’s start our explanation with the sakizuke ‘antipasto’. From the left we have: Yuba with shrimp and anago loach; cheese pickled with sake lees; a salad dish of scallops, asparagus and fresh renkon lotus root with sesame dressing (great textures here, and I loved the tomato and kudzu tofu topping).

進んで、左より生麩白和え。中央は椀物で、くずした卵豆腐仕立ての吸い物を結び鱚と明石海苔の真薯で。梅肉がぽっちりと美しい。右は、加賀太胡瓜のボートに乗った鱧の湯引き。浪華昆布と塩で食べたのは初めてでしたが美味!And now, from the left, aemono of namafu gluten; kisu whiting fish twisted into a knotted-shape topping a crushed egg savoury custard (the dab of plum paste was a pretty touch); and a ‘fat Kaga cucumber boat’, in which the marrow-like vegetable serves as a platter for hamo pike-conger sashimi. The latter was the first time I had ever eaten hamo with konbu kelp and salt. I liked it!

凌ぎに移りました。マグロの上に乗ってるのはなんとカエルの形に切った胡瓜!可愛い!!次は、茄子飯蒸し鰻蒲焼き添え。そして冷やし鉢の、黒毛和牛の煮込み夏野菜添え。お肉はかむ必要がない程柔かでした。Keeping on… from left to right, maguro tuna sashimi topped with cucumber carved into the shape of a frog; unagi eel and aubergine topping steamed rice; and, the cold dish, stewed Wagyu Japanese beef with summer vegetables. The beef was so tender that you hardly needed to chew it. It melted in your mouth.

焼き物は、阿波の鮎。ただの塩焼きではなく煎り酒掛け。付け合わせのイチジクシナモン揚げなんかも斬新でした。〆は新生姜御飯か播州もち麦麺かが選べます。Next came something quite new, grilled ayu sweetfish from Tokushima prefecture, accompanied with deep-fried cinnamon-flavoured figs. For the finale, you could choose cold mochimugi noodles or ginger rice.

あー!お腹いっぱい!でも、そこは別腹。小鉢デザートも豪奢に3品出て来ます。左から黒糖タピオカ餅焙煎きな粉添え、クリームあんみつ(生姜と蜂蜜の寒天/白玉団子etc…)最後は夏らしく酢橘の葛切り。Aah… I was so full, but I can always keep a space for dessert. From the left we had: tapioca dumpling topped with brown sugar; ice-cream, sweet adzuki bean paste, honey and ginger, agar agar and fruit; and the very summery kudzu jelly with sudachi citrus.

本当にご馳走さまでした!!下が本日頂いたメニュです。Gochisousamadeshita! Here is the menu in full:

有馬温泉は太閤秀吉が開いたという日本三古湯の一つらしいです。15年ぶりに行って赤湯を堪能しました!Arima Onsen is one of the three oldest hot-springs in Japan, purportedly founded by none other than Hideyoshi Toyotomi. It had been fifteen years since I last enjoyed its dark red hot-spring waters.