Good Eats: A-Womb (Kyoto)

There is sushi and there is design. And then there is designer sushi.

There’s no better way to describe the beautiful seafood and vegetables on offer at the minimalist restaurant A-Womb. The eatery specializes in high quality, DIY hand-rolled sushi (temaki), featuring many local vegetables and unique food combinations not often found at your standard sushi joint.

A-Womb offers only one standard sushi platter in three size options, ranging from about ¥1400 to ¥2800. I opted for the largest set, while my husband settled for the middle-sized one. There wasn’t too much different in the plates at all. We both received a small bowl of rice and about 4-5 small squares of nori. Then bite-sized seafood and vegetable combinations were arranged in rows along a beautiful stone tablet, with a row of spices and condiments at the bottom. I had about 18-20 separate combinations on my slate, while my husband had about 15-16.

The mid-sized plate of DIY sushi at A-Womb
The mid-sized plate of DIY sushi at A-Womb

The combinations are quite unique. The explanation alone took about five full minutes, and unfortunately, I didn’t write anything down. But tt was fun to see what tastes went well together and truthfully, I didn’t find any combinations I truly didn’t like. The addition of the flavored salts and the baked garlic chips went a long way to making anything taste good but I still relished the unusual ingredient selection. My only complaint would be the very tiny bowl of rice they provide. I didn’t have enough rice OR nori to accommodate all of the ingredients and I walked out feeling like I could eat something more.

The interior of the restaurant is very Scandinavian, all clean lines and blonde wood and white walls, but the restaurant is actually housed in an old machiya (Kyoto townhouse). There are two levels of dining – on the first floor, you can either be seated at the counter or at one of the tables that offers views of the simple Japanese rock garden; I never got to look at the second floor so I’m not entirely sure of the seating arrangement.

The main dining area overlooks a small garden
The main dining area overlooks a small garden

You can’t make reservations for lunch so be prepared to queue up, even on foul-weathered days. You CAN make reservations for dinner, starting from only one person, and as the price is the same for lunch as for dinner, if you’re determined to eat here, dinner might be your best choice.

Queueing in the rain for lunch at A-Womb
Queueing in the rain for lunch at A-Womb

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