Les Créations de NARISAWA - Minami Aoyama, Tokyo / 東京南青山

The best restaurant in Asia, and the 12th best restaurant in the world - according to the San Pellegrino 50 Best Restaurants list - is Les Créations de NARISAWA.  We found ourselves with the opportunity to experience this restaurant, and grabbed it with both hands.

We were only able to get a lunch booking at the notice we had available.  There were 2 menus on offer, a pared down summer lunch menu, and a full blown tasting menu - that same that is served at dinner.

Not knowing whether we were ever going to get a chance at this again, we went for the full hog - 10 courses.  At some ¥21,000 a head, this was going to be the most expensive meal we'd ever had (chivalry is alive and well in Tokyo it seems, as my better half was presented with menus with the price removed).

Yes, those etched glass place settings are heavy.  Choice of water, an aperitif, and the meal kicked off with some dough.

Our bread accompaniment was to be cooked on the table, first proving in a bath warmed by candle.  The first course of French radish followed soon after.

This was, well, a radish.  A fresh one, sure, but still pretty much just a radish.  With some toasty ground up mustard seedy, dirt?

Next on the table was a very tasty little segment of onion encased in Narisawa's signature charcoal treatment, in the form of a batter.  The one thing these are not though, is pretty.

The dough, now risen, was transferred to a super heated stone bowl, and capped with a plank of wood to complete the baking process.

The next course seemed firmly in the vein of Noma, best known for its foraging concept, and natural presentation style.  A collection of leaves, petals, atop a prosciutto wrapped stem asparagus.  All very interesting.

Sommelier's choice of white to accompany. Bergerie de L'Hortus Classique 2009, Vin de Pay du Val de Montferrand.  Fruity, clean, dry - excellent stuff.

Then we appeared to have prematurely skipped to the "Gift from the Sea" section.  Which apparently was by design, but, I think it was just a mistake.  This was by far my least favourite dish.  A large-ish piece of squid, doused in its "edible sand look" freeze dried pepper.

Quite the spectacle, as you can see above - but there was just way too much ink inside.  The flavour became entirely overwhelming. 

Our table baked bread was now ready, and served alongside a couple of more sturdy alternatives.  A ceramic mini plant pot of something along the lines of whipped County Crock, topped with ground olive earth, sprouting a couple of leaves.

Returning to the Satoyama section, and the final dish from this category, was quite an eye catcher.

It literally looked too good to eat.  Another selection of leaves and flowers, adorning the main ingredient of eggplant, encased in a sheath of gelatin.  The menu tells me there was tomato involved too.  Kyoto sourced, this was a wonderful dish to look at, and taste.

Moving onto a glass of red, and a Japanese one at that.  This was my first native grape wine, and it was quite palatable at that.  

Back to the Gifts from the Sea, and the "Luxury Essence Langoustine 2007".  This arrived with stock dangling in some receptacles reminiscent of a chemistry lab.  Good bit of seafood this.

Next up the "'Amadai' Snapper from Hagi, Yamaguchi and white miso, Kyoto".  This was probably my favourite dish.  The white miso was delectable, the fish perfectly cooked.

A final glass of red to go with the impending red meat course.  Domaine des Amouriers Vacqueyras, 2006.

The final savoury dish was "Sumi 2009" Hida beef.  Again sporting the signature charcoal coating.  A melt in the mouth chunk of beef, with another few slices of the onion we'd seen earlier, and a few beans, with a reduction jus.  On the side, frozen sake.  I don't know why.  For me, this didn't work on a flavour level, or on a texture level.

Desert comprised passion fruit, with kuzumochi.  Followed by gettou peach "bellini".

We'd read about the expansive petit fours cart, but I was fast running out of room, and we were approaching the 3 hour mark.  Still, gotta be done ey?

A few of our selections...

Coffee.  Stuffed.

Best restaurant in Asia?  That's a pretty bold statement.  I'm going to have to do a lot more eating before I can even begin to comment on that award.
Two True Shokutsū Two True Shokutsū Author

About Me

My photo
Japan finds the recipes and does the cooking, England takes the pictures and writes the words. Then we both eat the results!