This premium-priced Kobe breakfast broke our brain, but did it make our heart sing or just our wallet cry?

In many cases, a hotel breakfast is just a quick meal to fuel yourself up before heading out for a day of sightseeing. But on our recent trip to Kobe, a hotel breakfast itself was the sight we’d come to see (and eat).

In an idle moment a while back, our Japanese-language reporter Go Hatori decided to Google “world’s best breakfast” to see what would come up, and the top result he got was for the Kobe Kitano Hotel.

Now, we should note that Go did his Google search in Japanese, so technically he searched for 世界一の朝食 (sekai ichi no choushoku), which may have skewed the results towards an in-Japan location. The hotel also charges 7,920 yen (US$62), which is quite a bit more than the 150 yen or so we at SoraNews24 often drop on a too-lazy-to-cook-for-ourselves-convenience-store-pastry.

Still, with Japan being a nation of unabashed foodies, any place that’s getting that much buzz must be pretty special, and so Go made the trip from Tokyo to Kobe to see if the hotel’s breakfast lived up to the lofty Google-provided expectations.

As the name implies, the Kobe Kitano Hotel is in Kitano, a neighborhood of Kobe famous for its historical manor houses, many of which were built in the early Meiji period when Japan ended its centuries of enforced international isolation. As Go stepped into the lobby, he was instantly immersed in an aura of old-school luxury and hospitality. It’s the kind of place that makes you feel both relaxed and dignified.

After posing for some classy photos, Go made his way to the dining area. After giving his name (he’d made his reservation two months in advance), he was led to his table.

As he took his seat, he was puzzled to see that a bag had already been placed on the table.

Inside was a packet of the same granola specially produced for the hotel’s breakfast, to take home as an edible souvenir. At this point, of course, Go hadn’t actually eaten the Kobe Kitano Hotel’s granola yet, so this was an impressive show of confidence on the hotel’s part that had Go looking forward to the morning meal even more.

Breakfast at the Kobe Kitano Hotel is served at your table, not as a buffet. When the staff brought out Go’s food, though, it almost looked like they’d put together a personal buffet just for him.

Oh, and that picture above is only half of it. Here’s the whole thing.

As a set menu, Go didn’t have to do any ordering, but the spread is accompanied by an illustrated booklet explaining each item.

Go started off with what the hotel calls its “drinkable salad,” a flight of five mixed fruit/vegetable juices.

▼ From left to right: bell pepper/mango, carrot/pineapple, spinach/mixed red berries, dill/green apple, and orange juice

The order you drink them in is up to you, so Go lifted one unique combination to his lips after another…

…and was amazed by the delicious flavor of each and every one.

Already, Go was ready to call this a great breakfast, so long as the rest of the items were of at least average quality. That turned out to be a hurdle easily cleared by the next dish, the tapioca au lait.

This is a gourmet rice pudding with dried fruit, coconut, nuts, and just a bit of chocolate. It was, quite simply, the best tapioca Go has ever eaten, and the immense joy overloaded both his taste buds and his brain, sending him into spasms of breakfast bliss.

When he’d recovered from the tapioca frying his brain, Go moved on to baked goods, with his croissants and financier almond cakes.

Yes, they were amazingly tasty, but what really impressed Go were how warm they were. They’d been sitting there on the table the whole time he was drinking his salad and eating his tapioca, and when you add in the time he’d spent taking pictures, shouldn’t they have gotten cold?

But you don’t become the best breakfast in the world without thinking of these important details. The Kobe Kitano Hotel gives you a double-decker bread box…

…and at the bottom is a heating plate, set low enough to keep from singeing the bread but high enough to keep them warm until you’re ready to eat them!

Now, you might be thinking that looks like a lot of bread, but don’t worry, because you’re also provided with a bag for any leftovers, so you can enjoy them and the souvenir granola at home.

▼ Once again, Go’s mind was overloaded with happiness.

There’s quite a lot of variety here, as in addition to multiple types of bread, you also get three kinds of butter: tomato, parsley, and plain.

You can even add a spot of jam, honey, or almond paste, or you can save them all for the granola (which we’ll get to a little later).

Go’s cup of soup was savory and satisfying…

but what really got him excited was this thing.

Go had no idea what it was for until he looked at the menu booklet again and saw that it’s to be used when eating your soft-boiled egg.

Smacking the eggshell on the table would be far too uncouth for such an elegant dining environment. So instead, you use this apparatus to make a precise crack for you.

Once the ball drops, you can easily lift the tip of the eggshell away with your spoon, while the rest is left intact with no jagged edges.

▼ Go may need to look into buying himself one of these things.

Next, Go turned his attention to the granola, which he’d built up high hopes for.

Hi mixed it into some yogurt, added some of the jam, honey, and almond paste, and…

…oh, sorry, looks like he bliss-glitched again.

Go managed to pull himself together long enough to sample the remaining items, a seasonal fruit selection

…and mixed ham plate.

And with that, Go figured he’d done his journalistic duty and simply let the waves of pulsing pleasure wash over his body and soul.

But was it “the best breakfast in the world?” The answer to that is subjective, and Go can’t speak for anyone but himself. For him, though, this was the best breakfast he’d ever had. “It was so good that it made me think ‘I want to do something this great too!’”, says Go. “After eating it, power swelled up inside of me like magma.” Not only was it amazingly delicious, the atmosphere was lovely from start to finish, and if you think of a restaurant meal as a kind of entertainment, Go can’t imagine a better way to start the day than this.

Hotel information
Kobe Kitano Hotel / 神戸北野ホテル
Address: Kobe-shi, Chuo-ku, Yamamoto-dori 3-3-20
Dining reservations

Photos © SoraNews24
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