9-4 Noboricho, Naka-ku, Hiroshima, Japan

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This kaiseki restaurant is in a quiet side street in central Hiroshima, and was awarded two Michelin stars in the 2013 Michelin guide. It is traditional in style, with four counter seats and several private rooms with sliding doors with your own dedicated waitress. The chef here has 40 years of experience and trained in a ryotei, a luxury private restauant. A team of husband, wife and daughter manage Kodama.

The meal began with a very pretty set of appetisers, steamed abalone, salmon caviar, autumnal leaf wheat gluten, kuwai (three leaf arrowhead) and mukago (little potatoes). The abalone was reasonably tender, the vegetables pleasant rather than exceptional. Shimeji mushrooms and wheat gluten was served on the side (13/20).

Sashimi comprised cuttlefish, turbot, halfbeaks, crab and fatty tuna. This was good, the cuttlefish avoiding chewiness, the tuna having nice fatty flavour and of high quality (16/20). Next was a teapot containing a broth with slivers of mushrooms and sea bream; you poured the broth into a little cup, then opened the teapot to eat the mushrooms and fish. This was enjoyable, but not a patch on the version at Nakashima the night before, though sashimi of mackerel on the side was good (15/20).

This was followed by a gratin of oysters served in a hollowed out yuzu fruit. The oysters had reasonable flavour, the cheese gratin working quite well with the shellfish (15/20). The following course had a steamed prawn and assorted steamed vegetables: tender mange tout, courgette, mushroom and yam, flavoured with yuzu peel (14/20). 

Vinegared scallops, ark shell clam and cockles had pleasant scallops, though the ark shell clam was chewy as it often can be, the cockle harmless enough (13/20). Rice porridge with a little wasabi and a sliver of crab concluded the savoury courses. For dessert there was persimmon, melon and strawberry. The melon was excellent, the strawberry having lots of flavour.

Service was from waitresses in traditional dress, all very charming. The bill came to ¥27,390 for two, which works out at £85 a head with beer to drink. Kodama was a pleasant experience, but the ingredients and cooking were not of the calibre of really top kaiseki restaurants in Kyoto, and indeed was a step down from nearby Nakashima

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