Les Creations de Narisawa** (Dec’10)
2 Michelin Star Contemporary French with Japanese influence.
San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards : #20 (2009) , #29 (2010), #12 (2011)
Highly recommened by our friend, Kevin at http://www.finediningexplorer.com , this was indeed one of the most anticipated meal of our Tokyo trip way back in Winter 2010. Narisawa , the perennial Best Asian Restaurant at San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards, trained under Giradet and Robuchon.
“Themes of soil, water, fire, charcoal and forest permeate the menu to reflect Narisawa’s bringing of nature to the plate, resulting in dishes complete with the smell, aspect or texture of the landscape from which they were drawn.” Restaurant Magazine
Located perfectly in the heart of Aoyama, within 5 minutes of the shopping haven of Omotesando (where the iconic Prada , Comme des Garcons flagships are located), the restaurant does certainly exude the right ‘vibes’ upon first impresseion. A detached building of its own, with steel and glass architecture, there’s no guessing the kind of food we were about to be served. Everything was highly thought-out , with contemporary table settings, kitchen layout, menu composition etc. Just perfect!
And then the big highlight struck us : the self-baking bread. Truth be told, knowing what to expect did take a little out of the excitement, but still we were WOWED by the ‘forest trolley’ where raw bread-dough is baked ‘LIVE’. Fast forward, after 15minutes of waiting, there was even bigger surprise as this was one of the best-tasting bread we’ve eaten in our lives!! A little sweetness from the Hokkaido Sweet-corn, the only quip we had was that we couldn’t ask for seconds as the self-baking performance was certainly ‘one-night-only’.
We were served a different bread thereafter, and even the butter was served in a little flower pot , further emphasizing the ‘forest-garden’ theme. Nice!
Hokkaido oyster was wrapped in leek-ask …
Whole edible radish served with mustard-seed ‘soil’ eaten with bare-hands ( a la Gardening) … the play on ‘nature’ was fascinating and we could quickly see why the voters were so impressed with Narisawa.
‘Ash 2009: Wind of Basque’ features Sumi-Ika )squid with Basque sauce cooked using liquid nitrogen producing an ‘ash’ texture which not only injects a charcoal aroma to the ‘grilled squid’ but also contrasts the ‘smoky cold’ sauce with warm squid.
Sushi-fans will be familiar with Kawahagi , known for being served with its ‘foie gras -like’ liver …
Then the real foie-gras , served with fresh seasonal strawberry … interesting but still the most ‘ordinary’ dish of the meal so far…
Test-tubes of dashi were then brought to our table .. served as the stock to Odawara Langoustine … a real spectacle!
Crispy-scale Amadai was very Robuchon-like ….
Another signature dish – Hida beef covered in SUMI – ASH. Slightly too lean for our liking ( when it comes to Japanese beef, don’t you just expect some sake-inducing fat?) but very nicely presented…
Served with frozen Sake in Japanese bamboo ..
125% Cacao (japanese style) Parfait..
Matcha Souffle .. almost feather-like texture with high-quality Matcha. Excellent! (At the time we had, it was the best Souffle we’ve tasted. Then in june’11, we were awe-struck by another Souffle at 3 michelin L20 in Chicago!)
Petit-fours were luxurious, again reminding us of the dessert trolley at Robuchon.
Even coffee was served with the precious Wasanbon sugar …
Overall, a very satisfying, eye-opening meal. The whole experience was almost perfect to every detail, with several memorable spectacles. If we were picky, we’d say we were slightly disappointed by the ‘real taste’ of the food. Ingredients were of utmost quality, techniques undoubtedly top-notch but somehow the taste of the whole meal wasn’t as unforgettable as the whole experience. There wasn’t one dish, the bread aside, that we wished we could have another serving or would surely request in out next visit. We’d rather see what else the chef has up his sleeves with his ‘performance-like’ delivery. Still, easily one of the best meals you could get in Tokyo or anywhere in the world and it’s almost ‘no-brainer’ for any first-timer to visit Narisawa. Our next visit is booked! (note: this was to happen quicker than we thought, when we recently return for the Autumn menu in Sept’11 … review to come!)