Dusit Thani Kyoto redefines Thai fine dining with Ayatana: a one-of-a-kind multisensory culinary journey with Japanese influences
15 October, 2023
Dusit Thani Kyoto, a new luxury hotel managed by Dusit International, one of Thailand’s leading hotel and property development companies, officially celebrated its grand opening on 1 September unveiling Dusit’s unique brand of Thai-inspired gracious hospitality and a range of exciting dining and wellness experiences – including the hotel’s signature fine-dining restaurant, Ayatana.
Conceived exclusively for the hotel by acclaimed Thai chefs Duangporn ‘Bo’ Songvisava and Dylan Jones, who earned global recognition, including a Michelin Star, at their former Bangkok restaurant, Bo.Ian, Ayatana offers a sensory journey unlike any other.
Taking inspiration from the rich cultures of both Thailand and Japan, every element of the restaurant has a story to tell, starting with the name – Ayatana – a Sanskrit word, which, in Buddhist philosophy, refers to the six senses: sight, sound, scent, taste, touch, and mind.
Ayatana’s unique multisensory culinary journey integrates all of these senses to deliver dining experiences that excite and delight on multiple levels – delivering a symphony of sensations from start to finish.
The journey begins the moment a guest arrives at the hotel. Upon entering the property, each diner is warmly greeted and presented with a traditional Japanese fan infused with essential oils (representing scent). They are then gracefully guided through the hotel’s peaceful courtyard garden (body, mind), before taking part in a traditional handwashing ritual with water infused with offcuts of organic Thai herbs that will be featured in the dining experience to come (touch, scent, sound, mind).
The gastronomic journey then begins in the restaurant’s open kitchen with a first bite that pays respect to the amazing bounty of Kyoto – specifically kyo-yasai (the prefecture’s famous vegetables) – with a tasty morsel of vibrant kyo-yasai aubergines and a pepper relish inspired by a Northeastern Thai speciality.
Guests are then seated and the story of Ayatana further unfolds with the serving of five amuse-bouches that reference Shojin Ryori, the traditional dining style of Buddhist monks in Japan, which focuses on seasonal vegetables and wild mountain plants, believed to bring balance and alignment to the body, mind, and spirit.
The amuse-bouches also pay homage to the five elements of nature – Water, Fire, Air, and Ether (Space) – through five cooking techniques (grilled, smoked, steamed, boiled, raw), five distinct flavours (sweet, salty, bitter, sour, umami), and five colours (green, red, black, yellow, white). Ayatana’s talented chefs curate various combinations based on the season and the availability of fresh produce, ensuring a dynamic and ever-evolving sensory experience.
The dining journey then continues with a fine-dining homage to the typical Thai-style family dinner, with six flavoursome Thai dishes arriving at the table, comprising organic rice, salad, traditional curry, a stir-fry, a steamed dish, a soup, and assorted relishes. In the spirit of authenticity, the spice level of dishes cannot be altered. However, a non-spicy selection of dishes is available for those seeking minimal heat.
Highlights of this season’s menu include Nashi pear and sweet prawn; Southern style rice salad; Peneang curry of short ribs; and Coconut soup of Hirame and vermicelli.
To complement its dishes, Ayatana takes pride in presenting more than just beverages; it offers a purposeful beverage experience.
Alongside a special wine pairing menu, the restaurant will also soon offer a selection of exclusive food-based mocktails created in collaboration with Intangible, a renowned non-alcoholic cocktail bar based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Championing the idea of “mocktails with soul,” the mocktail menu promises to celebrate sustainable Thai and local produce and deliver a symphony of vibrant flavours and aromas.
As part of the dining journey, diners will also experience Thai-inspired wagashi (a traditional Japanese confection) served with organic green tea specially created for Ayatana by the Dusit Tea Garden in Wazuka, which Dusit has set up in collaboration with TeaRoom Inc., a renowned sustainability-focused tea manufacturer. Adding to the sweetness of the experience are delectable small bites from Kati, Dusit Thani Kyoto's unique dessert atelier. It proudly stands as the city's first establishment to offer sweet treats crafted using fresh organic coconut cream sourced directly from Thailand.
The entire dinner experience takes around 2.5 hours, with each remarkable journey culminating in an auditory delight: the soothing tones of a singing bowl. This melodic touch is not just music to the ears; it's believed to enhance digestion and promote a tranquil, rejuvenating slumber.
“From the gentle illumination to the thoughtfully designed seating to the fine Thai and Japanese ingredients and unique multisensory experiences we offer, each facet of Ayatana is a testament to the pursuit of ultimate guest comfort and enjoyment,” said Mr Makoto Yamashita, Area General Manager Kyoto, and Cluster General Manager, Dusit Thani Kyoto and ASAI Kyoto Shijo. “Ayatana is a space that cradles diners in its embrace, inviting them to linger, indulge, and immerse themselves in the harmonious blend of Thai culinary artistry and the time-honoured elegance of Japanese traditions. We look forward to delighting our guests with this memorable culinary journey.”
Dusit Thani Kyoto is located in the city’s vibrant Hanganji Monzen-machi district, only 850 metres from major transportation hub Kyoto Station. It is Dusit’s second hotel in Kyoto, following the lifestyle-focused ASAI Kyoto Shijo, which opened in June.
Ayatana is open daily for dinner journeys (except Tue and Wed) from 5:30pm – 10pm (last orders at 8pm). Price starts at JPY 24,800 / USD 170 per person (including tax and service charge). Wine/mocktail pairing options are also available. A lunch journey menu will be available beginning in November. Seating is limited and advance reservations are highly recommended.
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