Hiro Tawara Kaiseki Pop-up

As a food writer, do you have a secret place that you just want to keep to yourself? <ponder on this for a second before answering…>

Chef Hiro Tawara is a gem. His monthly kaiseiki pop-up in Pike Place Market serves up an elaborated multi-course menu, showcasing his years of experience as a kaiseiki chef in Kyoto, while incorporating local seasonal ingredients from the Pacific Northwest.

I learnt about this once-a-month event from my friend Takako. It was not well publicized, perhaps for a good reason – there are only 24 seating available: 12 at noon, 12 in the evening.

Menu changes each time based on a theme. Seating is communal style. Chef Tawara and his wife take care of everything – from cooking to sake/tea pouring, all you do is eat, drink and have a good time.

To give a better idea, I documented below dishes from April, May, June, July and September 2016. (click on a photo below to get a description of the dish, or just enjoy the beautiful presentation)

Theme of April: Spring has come!

Theme of May: Children’s day celebration

Theme of June: The beginning of summer

Theme of July: Star Festival

Theme of September: Moon viewing and Mum festival

Event is announced here on chef Tawara’s website. You can also join the mailing list by filling out the form here, or receive updates by liking chef’s facebook page. Follow the link provided in the announcement to purchase tickets. Double check that you signed up for the right seating time (noon or dinner).

Kaiseiki is often very expensive. Dinner at Naka, the only other place in Seattle I know of offering kaiseiki food, costs $120 not including drinks, tax and tips.

At $60 all inclusive, this is a screaming value, not to mention free tea/sake pouring.

Now you understand why I struggle to let the world know about this place 🙂

Chef’s Bio

Right after graduated from a university in Kyoto, Japan, Hiro Tawara started his career as an apprentice in one of the famous “Kaiseki” restaurant called “Kyoyamato. Also, he worked for several Japanese restaurants for about 10 years to improve his cooking skills, and then became an executive chef and general manager in 2002. 

Back in 2005, he made a big decision to move to Seattle. He had worked for “I Love Sushi”, “Shiro’s” and “Sushi Kappo Tamura” since then. While he worked for those restaurants, he always wanted to introduce more variety of Japanese Food, not only “Sushi” but also “Kaiseki” to the people in Seattle.

In 2015, he started up his own business, “WA’S Kitchen” and is doing monthly events, “The Beauty of Kaiseki” to introduce Kaiseki culture. He is also doing some private dinners, collaboration “Kaiseki” events, and party caterings. 

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