About a year and a half ago I was honoured assist the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Tokyo Convention and Visitors Bureau in promoting Tokyo Travel and Food to media and travel folk. Proceedings lasted about a week and concluded with a “stage performance” at Darling Harbour during Japan Expo. I had to ask whether I was required to sing or dance but it turns out it was more of a Q&A together with my mate Shaun Presland from Sake Restaurant. Turns out there were THOUSANDS of people – no pressure.
In my chats with tourism and media peeps I gave a brief overview of the Tokyo food world offerings from high end down to the most affordable and quick dining options – basically something to suit every taste and budget. What to expect, where to find it etc.
One of the wonderfully fancy places I mentioned was Les Creations de Narisawa – more affectionately known as “Narisawa” – (the chef’s surname) at the time No.1 on the San Pellegrino Top 50 Asian Restaurants.
If you are in Tokyo and looking to splash out on what will be an incredible demonstration of service and hospitality (or Omotenashi) alongside spectacular food – go here! A visual and sensory extravaganza. I highly recommend it. Do be prepared – It’s like going to a show and takes a commitment of around 4 hours.
Please find below a few snaps and captions which should put you in the picture.
The catwalk to Narisawa – enter on the right hand side past the pylons.
This will be on your left – what an awesome foyer!?
But I digress.. ( just loved it , had to share – Tokyo design/architecture – always stunning)
Place setting to remind you where you are eating..
Great view from my perch
Oshiboshi – a damp cloth to wipe your hands clean before eating. A very civilised Japanese custom.
Menu – Autumn Collective – Evolve with the Forest.
Chestnut Bread proving at my table
one half of Narisawa….
Essence of cedar and pine in a log cup. Drink it first to set the scene. And Satoyama scenery. The tree bark is fried burdock skin, the leaves – okara (ground soybeans leftover after soy milk is made) with sorrel and matcha and bamboo charcoal. Wild herbs – raw and tempura. Soy yoghurt lies underneath.
Sumi. (charcoal) – a thick petal of sweet onion cooked in dashi wrapped inside a small soft bun made with leek charcoal and fried.
Bread ready to go, the hot bowl gets wheeled over.
Bread is scooped in and chestnut powder and yuzu is added.
On goes the lid and the bread is left on your table to cook
Bread of the Forest and Moss. The butter is house made and coated in olive and dried spinach to form a mossy look
Okinawa. Broth of sea snake from Okinawa – apparently in court times the original source of seafood in dashi (ie pre katsuo) was sea snake. According to Okinawans at least!
Who’s a pretty snake then? The broth also contained pork meat, winter melon and a young potato fritter. The dried snake is cooked down with soy and mirin then cooked with the pork in the broth. The bitterness of the melon cuts nicely through the rich porky broth. Obvious Chinese influence.
More bread is brought was also brought out – made with Hokkaido flour – the green version contains yomogi ( mugwort)
Eggplant, fried and pureed, Shiitake, flowers, tomato jelly.
Above – preparations for the next dish.
Ash 2009. Scenes of the sea shore.
Squid with paprika ash. A vinaigrette turned to “ash” in liquid nitrogen. Wonderful grilled squid with a dressing that had the aroma of bbq’s paprika peppers. The ash melting into liquid.
Next course. Hagi (autumn garment). A big chunk of fugu (blowfish) with sansho pepper and sudachi lime zest over the top. I was requested to eat with my fingers.
Followed closely by Langoustine from Odawara – gently pan fried but still rare “almost sashimi” with tomato vinaigrette and a touch of yuzu
You need another 3 hours just to read the winelist
So I let the sommelier make a recommendation…. spot on
Amadai (tile fish) and matsutake mushrooms in turtle essence – cooked in high heat resistant plastic bag
Then another dish (not on the menu) – a rather large oyster with roasted onion powder. The onions are from Amanohashidate and are even sweeter than the famously sweet Awaji onions.
Followed by deep fried, soft-shell turtle. Also instructed to eat with my hands.
Omi beef coated in leek charcoal powder. Presented like a lump of charcoal then taken away to be sliced.
Sake granita palate refresher to eat during the beef course – to cut through the richness.
Shiga leek charcoal over the beef. Bordelaise sauce and also black fermented garlic sauce. Peppers, sweet onion. The beef is cooked by continually pouring over warm oil.
Yoghurt Sake – from Miyagi prefecture – just yoghurt, sugar, sake
Strawberry sorbet, Kuzu mochi made from real kuzu – dug up by the chef himself and made into just 2kg of kuzu flour. Sauce made from sake kasu ( lees), milk, cream and sugar.
Chestnut cream puree, yellow chestnuts, warabi mochi, chestnut sauce, rum raisin ice cream, salted chestnut chips
The Petits fours trolley. Fairly impressive….?
No wasn’t mesmerised by it at all… as you can see
I wasn’t greedy… I didn’t try one of EVERYTHING on the trolley
And then there was a whole tray of mini macarons… from bitter chocolate to salted caramel to rose