Japanese chef Seiji Yamamoto is widely admired for coupling a vivid imagination with a deep respect for tradition and Japanese culinary heritage. His outlook, combined with immense skill and precision, results in the inimitable dishes served at this Tokyo destination, which has been on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list for five years now. The 18-seat restaurant’s interior is relatively plain, but the labour-intensive cooking is anything but.
Exquisite food pushing Japanese tradition forward
Yamamoto seeks to push the boundaries of Japanese cuisine through his dishes, but always from a base of understanding and appreciating the subtle changes of season, indigenous ingredients and precise techniques honed over centuries. And when he steps away from the kitchen, the chef is a passionate promoter of his country’s culinary heritage on the global stage.
Having scoured the markets each morning – and dispatched appropriate produce to sister restaurant Tenku RyuGin in Hong Kong – Yamamoto and his team prepare a daily-changing kaizeki menu of relatively small dishes. It might include supremely fresh bonito topped with dashi broth, or grilled firefly squids with butterbur leave soup and green peas. Hot and cold also play a key role, and is taken to a new level with RyuGin’s signature dessert. Candied fruit is frozen to -196° using liquid nitrogen and then filled with a hot liquid version of the same fruit. Alternatively, the restaurant now offers an à la carte option for a brief window between 9pm and 10.30pm each night.