What foods come to mind when you hear of Kyoto’s specialties? The major ones in Japan are Nishin-soba, saba-zushi (mackerel sushi), yudofu (tofu), pickles… If you like ramen, Kyoto ramen might be an option.
Then, have you ever heard of “Piné rice”? If you are from outside Kyoto, this is probably the first time you have heard of it. This time, I would like to introduce you to the restaurant where this Piné rice originated. This menu item, which was born from a long-established Western-style restaurant that has been in business for nearly 50 years, has become a Kyoto specialty, and can even be called Kyoto’s soul food….
Kitchen Gon Nishijin Branch｜Kyoto’s new soul food “Piné rice” has been rearranged and is now available in 8 varieties
Piné rice was born at Kitchen Gon, a Western-style restaurant that has been operating in Nishijin, Kyoto. Founded in 1970, the restaurant has a long history and currently has three locations in Kyoto City.
Now, it is time to reveal the true identity of Pineraice. Piné rice is a one-plate combination of curry, fried rice, and tonkatsu, a popular restaurant menu item among the general public. It seems that “pinet” is a French dialect word for “thin cutlet. So, the original meaning of the word is “thin cutlet topped with rice.
“I want to eat curry, fried rice, and tonkatsu all at once!” This is a masterpiece of Japanese Western cuisine that answers our greedy cravings for curry, fried rice, and tonkatsu all at once. However, the mystery remains as to why they serve fried rice instead of pilaf in a Western-style restaurant.
This Piné rice…did not stay in one form, but the rich ideas of Western-style restaurants led to the creation of a number of different versions, including a demi-glace sauce version and a garlic fried rice version. Furthermore, the menu has evolved to include versions with omelets and hamburgers, which are popular regular menu items, and currently there are eight types of Pinelaisu listed below.
- Curry Piné rice 780 yen
- Demi Piné rice 820 yen
- Spicy Piné rice 820 yen
- Wild Piné rice 880 yen
- Garlic Piné rice 800 yen
- Omelet Piné rice 880 yen
- Half Sauce Piné rice 880 yen
- Hamburger Piné rice 980 yen
Try curry Piné rice, a standard menu item, at Kitchen Gon Nishijin, the restaurant that gave birth to Piné rice.
Kitchen Gon Nishijin is located in a quiet residential area on the west side of Marutamachi Street from Kawaramachi direction and a little north of Horikawa Street.
Upon entering the restaurant, you will first see a long counter extending from the entrance to the back. It is a so-called “Unagi no Nedoko” in Japanese, and the restaurant is wider in the back than one might imagine from the entrance. Although the restaurant has a long history, the interior is beautifully furnished in a classic style, creating an atmosphere where young people can dine without hesitation.
What I ordered here was the standard menu item, curry Piné rice. This is served with a small potage soup. Image here…
The cutlet laid on top is crispy and fried, and although thin, you can taste the flavor of the meat. The fried rice underneath has a simple salty flavor with onion, ham, and egg as ingredients. Each grain of rice is perfectly coarse and not greasy, and the high level of quality of the dish is evident even when eating this dish alone.
Then there is the curry roux, the sauce that goes on top of all this. The curry roux, which has soaked the cutlet thoroughly, is not enough and permeates into the fried rice below, coating each grain as if it were a coating.
With curry and fried rice, the taste of curry inevitably prevails. But the curry that fully soaks the parapara rice is fresh in texture and feels almost like eating a curry-flavored risotto.
To get to Kitchen Gon Nishijin, the birthplace of B-grade gourmet Piné rice produced in Kyoto, take the city bus from Karasuma Station on the Hankyu Kyoto Line.
Kitchen Gon also has a take-out menu, including Piné rice and beef cutlet sandwiches, so you can use it for take-out to your home or office.
Now, here are the details of the restaurant.
Address: 613 Ukida-cho, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto, 602-8104, Japan
Phone number: 075-801-7563 (delivery service is no longer available)
Business hours: 11:00-22:00
Closed: Open daily
It is a 4-minute walk from Shijo-Karasuma Station on the Hankyu Kyoto Line, transferring to No. 12 city bus and getting off at Horikawa Shimo-Tateuri bus stop. 15 minutes on foot from JR Nijo Station, which is a bit far, but within walking distance.
P.S. If you are looking for delicious Western-style dishes in Kyoto, please stop by this article below…
P.P.S. Speaking of B-Grade gourmet foods that can only be found in Kyoto, there are also this…