Japan’s leading restaurant celebrates nature with an added dash of drama
As a young man, Yoshihiro Narisawa left his native Japan to train in France, Switzerland and Italy – and his culinary tutelage is evident in the style of his eponymous Tokyo restaurant. But Narisawa does much more than simply transport European haute cuisine to the Far East; his genius is in blending classical French techniques with the finest Japanese ingredients – along with plenty of imagination and a dose of drama – making for a genuinely unique gastronomic journey. The combination has seen Narisawa retain its seat at the top table of global gastronomy for many years.
In 2013 – aside from being the highest ranked in Asia – Narisawa also picked up the inaugural Sustainabile Restaurant Award at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, reflecting the chef’s commitment to the environment and his deep connection with nature. Diners in the restrained, elegant dining room are treated to dishes that reflect the aesthetics of the natural world using seasonal ingredients drawn from Japan’s rich pantry. A test-tube shot of fawn-coloured liquid revealing a dewy, peaty aroma from the darkest forests sets the scene for dishes to follow. Each is perfectly executed, from the charred fritter revealing a lightly cooked Toba oyster from Mie prefecture to the hirame carpaccio with scallop cream sauce and olive oil. Service is polished and polite, but it is Narisawa’s stunning dishes that deliver a sublime manifestation of the country’s natural beauty and bounty.