Les Creations de Narisawa, Tokyo

Where does one begin about Tokyo? It’s a maximum city, it’s wild, crazy and yet docile, modern, avant-garde and very traditional. Not to mention that almost every street is a shoppers paradise and a gastronomic heaven. Add to that the fact that a tyre company has decided that Tokyo is now the gastronomic capital of the world and you can guess just how happy I’ve been the last few days since arriving in the Land of the Rising Sun. But where oh where does one go to eat for some fine dining when they’re just so many to choose from?

Following on from a friends’ recommendation and that it had, in 2011, been voted 12th best restaurant in the world, Les Creations de Narisawa was pretty much the first on my list. Getting there by cab from my hotel proved a little more difficult, yet the kind taxi driver called the restaurant from what seemed like a close enough spot to get directions, only for the receptionist to come out and meet me at the taxi. Now that’s service! The restaurant itself is tiny – about 25 covers with a view of the kitchen. I personally loved the way the menu was written  – a half mystery, evocative and intriguing…

Winter Collection 2011

Evolve with the forest

Gift from “Satoyamo” and the Forest

“Forest 2010″ Bread of forest” Winter

Oyster of the forest

“Kamo Nasu” Eggplant from Kyoto

Garden

Gift from “Satoumi”

“Saba” Mackerel from Hagi, Yamaguchi

“Amadai” Snapper, Hagi Yamaguchi and Maitake mushroom

Gift from “Satoyama” and the Forest Again

Yorkshire pork from Shizuoka

“Sumi 2009” Hida beef

“Waguri” Chestnut

“Yuzu” .  “Daidai”

After a quiet little giggle to myself I decided not to try and interpret anything in any way. The last time a menu of this nature appeared in front of me was at Mugaritz. Let’s find out what the mysteries the forest holds…

Bread 2010
Making the bread
Cooking bread

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The first thing to arrive is a the bread dough, proving in water bath for about 5-10 minutes when the watier brings a trolley and empties the dough into a stone bowl heated to 300c and then covers the top with a wooden slab and lets it cook on your table. The bread? Chestnut and cinnamon. Pretentious and gimmicky? In some ways but brilliant, most definitely and it really is just freshly baked bread that’s soft, wintery and hot.

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Oyster
Mackerel
Pork

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Oyster of the Forest is just a deep fried oyster in a carbonised yuzu batter – nothing special, but a tease of a little nibble, in spite of having oyster shell to bite into. The “Saba” (or mackerel) has got to be the most intense of all mackerel – if only we could get this in the UK. It’s meatier, firmer fleshed, tinged with red throughout  and works beautifully with the herby citrus sauce. I secretly clapped my hands when this was finished. It rocked!

Next up was the Yorkshire Pork – a piece of crispy, yet succulent and juicy crackling with a little layer of pork fat underneath, that had been cooked with soy and spices. Alongside it, came pickled onions, pickled cabbage and cherry sauce.

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Chestnut bread
Butter

Et voila! Chestnut and cinnamon bread baked at your table. They recommend you have it on its own – and rightly so, whilst the butter (yes! butter I tell you! – not a pot of herbs mistakenly picked up from the window ledge!) is actual butter covered in olive crumb and little herb seedlings.

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Aubergine
Garden 1
Garden 2

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Next up, Eggplant from Kyoto – roast aubergine, auberhine puree, pickled aubergine, chestnuts, wrapped in flowers and tomato jelly. I am a self confessed aubergine addict and this was most vibrant on all planes of reality.

The test tubes contained a chicken consomme – the most intense and clear chicken consomme in the world mind you, as all stocks at Narisawa are made by steam, not boiled. I only wished all tubes were full for me to drink! Nevertheless, the consomme was for  Garden  a plate of 15 different seasonal Japanese vegetables. By this time I gave up trying to guess what was going to come next!

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Snapper
Beef 1
Beef 2

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The Snapper appeared in a bag tied up by string which the waiter snipped the top off and revealed the fish, mushrooms and spring onions that had been steaming in a duck and pork broth – much lighter than one would have given it credit for.

The beef, after being cooked in butter and olive oil was coated in a leek ash and came with arrowhead (the funny looking vegetable), caramelised onion, sake granite. All of which just romanced each other beautifully – not making the dish too heavy or too sweet or too intense – just a happy lot playing in dramatic harmony.

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Chestnut
Daidai

A pre-dessert of Chestnut pannacotta, crispy chestnuts, caramelised chestnuts was just about the finest rendition of a chestnut I’ve ever eaten. Once again, they only gave me one glass.

The Daidai was combination of Daidai (bitter orange), Yuzu (Japanese citrus) and pear. A clean, light sensible dessert to freshen you up a little. Sensational.

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The Trolley
Petit Fours
Macaroons

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Now this is something on an entirely different realm! The finest petit-fours selection in the world (in my experience at least!) – and unlike other restaurants where a fancy selection just means they aren’t worth eating, I took a piece of every single petit-four and relished them ever so lovingly I thought I might have to cry tears of joy. Amongst the selection was sugar cane cake, peanut brulee with caramelised soy bean, green tea mochi, grape mochi, sugar cane honey comb, pumpkin ‘fudge’, green tea macaroon and a whole host of other macaroons – 5 chocolate ones ranging from milk to 80%, caramel, coffee creme…. this is heaven and a bit more! I did surprise myself by polishing off every last bit!

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Mmmm mmmmm. What an evening. Such a pity Tokyo is so far away from London! I need to come back here again, that’s for sure.

Overall Experience: 8
Food: 9
Recommend you go: 9

Website: 

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