The Narisawa Experience

Best viewed with a wide screen.

This culinary adventure was borne out of Suan’s research into going off the beaten track in terms of where we dined while in Tokyo. We had thought to ourselves. Surely Tokyo had more to offer than themed restaurants or the Sushi establishments right?

Afterall this city of more than 13 million people (officially?) is not just political capital of a country. It is the epicenter of entertainment (wild or tame), finance ($$ ¥¥ ££ €€) and definitely of Michelin starred dining establishments!

We figured we weren’t going to pay for the Michelin stars, so why not look up some other awards which made more sense on the wallet? So off to the Best 50 restaurants in the world for guidance we sought and this name popped up – Narisawa. And it happens to be in Japan, what a coincidence!

So we emailed the restaurant well ahead, actually 2 months before our journey to book a table for lunch. To be honest we did not know what we were about to be immersed into, but hey why spoil it before we get there…

 Narisawa2  Narisawa3  Narisawa logo
Located on Aoyama road in the swanky Omotesando area (which we shopped at later), Narisawa is (still) featured as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world! It made it to world number 8 in the latest 2016 listing, this equates to an Asian ranking of number 2.

In the past the restaurant is also rated as Asia’s best restaurant, beating competition from the rest of Japan, China, Hong Kong and Singapore. So it has been consistent! It has only seating for 10 couples and operate Mon-Sat only. The theme is French cuisine with the touch of Japanese influence.

Today we are taking a course called the “evolution of flowers”.

We started off with the salad – aptly called forest. The greens are made of soya. You wash it down with tree essence. Presentation looks like the floor of the forest. The oysters were charcoal grilled while the sweet fish tasted as its name suggested – sweet!

 Narisawa Bread of the forest2  Narisawa Essence of the forest2Narisawa Essence of the forest3  Narisawa Essence of the forest ash fried OystersNarisawa Essence of the forest4
 Narisawa Bread2 The bread was baked inpromptu and served with butter coated with soya ↓Narisawa Bread of the forestActually the dough was prepared for us and placed in the above heated stone bowl and covered to allow it to rise.  Narisawa Soil 2001The “soup” ↑ made with actual soil (not soy) from the mountains of Tateyama in Nagano. It is said to contain safe to ingest microbes that give the soil a distinct taste. Fortunately we had baked sweet fish and ash-fried oysters to go as well!
 Narisawa Horse crab  Narisawa Ash 2009-1  Narisawa Ash Squid3
↑ The next course of horse crab came with a rich roe. This was followed a liquid nitrogen cooled sauce, served over the lightly pan seared squid. You would have seen the video here.
We had wine pairing with the lunch – a small glass to complement the taste of each course. Be careful, Suan had a little too much to drink and got a little “tipsy”.
Narisawa Spanish Mackeral3The Spanish Mackeral with onion essence and served with lotus root was a very nice combination. We opted for the Hida beef instead of pork, and it was grilled with ash. See below ↓  Narisawa Luxury essence↑ We had the real soup – served out of a test tube. The broth is boiled for 6 hours using only chicken, ham and pork. Poured onto and served on the fresh vegetables, it tasted of home cooking! Then there was the Langoustine served with an assortment of vegetables…Narisawa Langoustine1
 Narisawa Hida beef3  Narisawa Hida beef5  Puffer fish ↓Narisawa Fugu2
Finally we had the chance to eat Fugu (blowfish, puffer, whatever) though this was fried instead of served fresh. The experience is still great and we lived to tell this tale. Chef Yoshihiro came out of the kitchen at the end of the meal courses. We hope he opens a restaurant in Singapore!
 Narisawa Dessert1  Narisawa Dessert5  Narisawa Chef

At the time of this experience, we had just celebrated the passing of 2012. So obviously the end of the world according to the Mayans did not occur and we could continue our lives business as usual. So we had some money to spend on this experience.

Surprisingly at that time the course we just described costs ¥12,700pp and this includes the tax. Our wine pairing doubled this to ¥25,200pp which still amounts to a decent spend considering we had 2 “waiters” who were trainee chefs explaining the servings of each course! Today the same lunch set menu costs ¥20,000pp without the wine.

It’s a definite recommend for gourmet lovers. Getting here.

March 2013

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