Tokyo

L’Effervescence, Tokyo (*)

L’Effervescence wasn’t on my list of places to go in Japan, it just so happened that I was meeting a friend for dinner and he choose the place, while I honestly didn’t know that much about the place, the cuisine served falls into a category that I was very interested in. The chef helming L’effervescence has worked at reknowned restaurants like Michel Bras and the Fat Duck, and returned to Tokyo to do an interpretation of a new kind of cuisine that is prominent in Tokyo right now, a melding of French techniques with Japanese centric ingredients/flavors, a direction that I wish more Singaporean restaurants would take.

         

Udo? (Japanese Vegetable) with firefly squid Lemon thyme granita

The Udo was very forgettable, but the granita had a very interesting texture, it wasn’t a slush, it resembled tiny granulated pebbles, very unexpected. Okay

           

Bread course

I have no notes on this but it was pedestrian

               

Angel prawn saute, green peas puree and yoghurt, fava bean, salted lemon scented mousse, flower of chrysanthemum

The prawn was very nicely cooked, it retained a bouncy texture and its natural sweetness really came through, the flavor of the prawn complimented the pea puree well. The one component of the dish that really didn’t work for me was the fava bean, it felt like an off note in an otherwise harmonious dish. Okay

               

Whole cooked turnip and parsley oil emulsion, iberico ham and brioche

This was touted as an L’Effervescene signature dish, the turnip is cooked for 4 hours, I asked the chef if it was cooked sous vide, although he didn’t want to confirm this, I do believe that it was. I cut off a slice of turnip and ate it alone, it was very juicy, retained a good bite, but it was incredibly bland, I was actually very disappointed, but once I started eating it with the other components, the dish came to life. The flavor of the turnip paired perfectly with the parsley, and the iberico ham brioche croutons served as ‘seasoning’ for the turnips. The flavors were still somewhat subtle but there was a perfect balance of aromatics and taste. Very Good

Weapon of choice

Spring returns-

Shinsyu-Wagyu leg roast and its juice, azuki bean puree, germinating beans, sugarsnap peas, water cress, malaga raisin

The meat again was very nicely cooked, I didn’t think the fat in this particular cut of beef was particularly flavorful but I liked the side components. The azuki bean puree was interesting but it wasn’t a mind blowing combination with the beef, it was also a little dry and needed to be mixed in with the juices on the plate. The presence of the raisins added a delightful sweet burst of flavor, it cut through the richness of the meat well without being cloying on the tongue. Good

They are waiting to fall. – 

Chocolate and biscuit sandwiches of pumpkin mousse, curry sauce and apple

These little triangle ‘sandwiches’ were presented in a domino type effect, hence the name of the dish. Unfortunately, the biscuits didn’t exactly topple over very well. This may be just a pet peeve but if you say that a dish has a domino effect, shouldn’t it fall over properly? Seems a little like false advertising. Regardless, the flavors of the dish worked well, I’ve had the combination of pumpkin and curry and it works very well in my opinion. Unfortunately, the curry flavor wasn’t intelligently incorporated into the dish, the curry sauce was very mild, but there was a tiny ‘triangle’ of pure curry powder on the plate that livened the intensity of curry flavor, my main gripe was that it was a little annoying to incorporate into each bite of the sandwiches. The apple was thinly sliced and placed on the side of the plate, both these components felt like they were condiments as opposed to being part of the dish. The saving grace was that the mousse had a good texture, it was dense but had a good melt in your mouth mouthfeel, the chocolate and biscuit added sweetness and texture to the dish, and surprisingly the sweetness of the chocolate didn’t drown out the flavor of the pumpkin. Good

Nibbles for Chat

There were too many components that I’m too lazy to list out individually. The highlight was a lollipop with a hollow chocolate shell filled with popping candy, not a particularly inspiring dish but I am a sucker for popping candy, and its always an amusing way to end a meal.

I came to the restaurant without much expectations, and I left surprised and happy. I’m not taking anything away from L’Effervescence, I am all too aware that it is not easy to apply foreign techniques to Asian ingredients in a way that works well and isn’t forced; and while L’Effervescence isn’t very strongly influenced by Japanese flavors, there is an innate sense of Japan in each dish served. However, some dishes felt like they were incomplete, that they were headed along a certain path, in the right direction, but they had not reached that end goal yet- to achieve perfection in every bite, no matter how you choose to eat each dish.

The space that the restaurant has is lovely, there are booths for groups of 4, and even if you are sitting out in the main dining area, it feels very comfortable, elegant but not overly posh.  In summary, the restaurant has a lot of potential but some fine tuning needs to be done, it isn’t at a 2 michelin star level yet, but it would be interesting to see what they are able to achieve in 2-3 years.

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