Kyoto Garden Sushi – Cape Town

By Marica Fick

Okay, so The Design Tabloid just moved into our new office, an adorable Victorian building in Gardens, Cape Town.

On exploring our new backyard we made an awesome discovery – a little Japanese restaurant, beautifully designed. Determined not to let this opportunity pass us by we dropped in on our new neighbours to ask a few questions & take a couple of photos.

We popped into Kyoto Garden Sushi one cold, miserable Friday evening and were amazed to find ourselves in a little Zen Sanctuary.Stepping into the restaurant, leaving the bustling Kloof Street and noisy Rafiki’s behind, we were immediately enveloped by the restaurant’s warmth & tranquillity.We sat down and had a chat with owner & restaurateur Scott Lee Wood, an American and world traveller. He said his goal was to create a space with an atmosphere that speaks to your soul; calms you from the stresses of life and helps you recharge.

We were quite surprised to learn that Scott designed the interior himself, finding inspiration in his travels to Asia – particularly the Zen Gardens of Japan.

The restaurant interior is designed in a Japanese orient style with the use of natural elements and materials. It is a perfect balance of organic texture and the simple elegance of minimalistic design. The style can be described as “Wabi Sabi”, directly translated from Japanese means – Wabi: roughness, quietness or rustic simplicity & Sabi: beauty or serenity that comes from age. Wabi Sabi – Rustic Beauty.

The restaurants main focal point is the beautiful Sushi Bar, which glows shades of greens from a glass feature wall behind, and is crowned with a dropped bulkhead wallpapered in a textured finish reminiscent of the patterns of a Zen garden. Woven pendants lights hung from the ceiling casts a warm blush over the sushi prep area where you can watch the chef prepare your food.The main eating area has beautiful solid beech tables that have been high pressure hosed to appear more rustic, the resulting grooves in the timber serves as a constant reminder of the restaurants Zen Garden roots. Rattan woven dining chairs complement the beautiful tables and comfortable bench seating, in natural cream cotton upholstery, hug the inside walls. Shoji screens bridging the gap between the low wall and the ceiling emit a green glow.

As strange as this may sound, the restrooms deserve special mention.  The restroom lobby is a little indoor Japanese Garden complete with stone path and a small cascading water feature with bamboo saplings and bonsai trees. Beautiful natural finishes; simplistic palm leaf wallpaper; and dark timber floating vanity units insures your trip to the oasis loo to be rather memorable.

Scott’s amazing eye for detail, balance and quest for perfection has truly made this restaurant a magnificent example of serenity in design. If he ever gets tired of the restaurant business I’m sure he could quite easily become a very successful designer! Not to forget Scott himself is there most nights to meet and greet the customers adding a personal touch to what he does. What a character!

Kyoto Garden Sushi is truly a must visit – go sit down, have some awesome food, drink one of their heavenly cocktails and just enjoy the ambiance!

P.S. Try the “Ecstasy”…it is a dish well named.

Kyoto Garden Sushi, 11 Kloof Nek Road, Gardens, Cape Town.  Give them a ring: 021 422 2001


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