Tokyo, Uncategorized

Patisseries and Misc, Tokyo

To round off my trips with a pictorial of sweet things that I ate

Pierre Herme’s Mogador macaron (Passionfruit)

Pierre Herme’s pistache macaron

Can’t believe I’ve never had the infamous ispahan until Tokyo, this is the most balanced macaron I’ve ever had in terms of flavor, pity the buttercream filling was a little too cold

Henri Charpentier strawberry cake. Sponge was very soft and fluffy

Henri Charpentier Strawberry and pistacho macaron. Both terrible

Henri Charpentier double baked financier. The regular financier was delicious but I didn’t take a photo

Yokohama Francais green tea Mille Feuille. The (cute) girl at Henri charpentier(that’s not why I bought so many items from Henri) recommended this to me, it did not disappoint. Each layer of the mille feuille was distinct and unbelievably crisp, the green tea flavor was assertive

 

 

Jean Paul Hevin’s dark chocolate ganache and chocolate macaron. A friend of mine used to work at JPH and she bought these for me, insisting that I have to try their macaron. The buttercream had an amazing texture, almost like a whipped chocolate custard, not dense at all.

Green tea biscuits, these were from Kyoto

Kyo Hayashiya’s green tea parfait. I dont think this was for one person, but I did my best

This isn’t a sweet dish, but this fried chicken became a standard snack after stumbling out of bars at 2am in Sancha. Readily available at all convenience stores, it was oily, spicy, piping hot,  all the pre-requisites for drunk food

More convenience store food, onigiri with a liquid yolk? Japan is amazing

The last dish is from a Kushiyage or Kushikatsu bar in Sancha, the one I frequented the most when I was there. It is basically a tiny bar, run by one guy, that serves breaded and deep fried everything- cheese, asparagus and ham, okra(lady’s finger) and loads more; one thing that they didn’t have was a sweet dish, so our group(a Singaporean, American and Canadian) decided to bring our Gaijin ideas to this place. We popped into the nearest convenience store and bought 2 Mars bars, instructing the bar owner to freeze and fry it. These tiny nuggets were passed around the bar, hilarity and amusement ensued, everyone loved it, although this might have something to do with the fact that everyone was drunk.

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Tokyo

Daisan Harumi, Tokyo


Daisan Harumi

The last post of my Japan trip(finally) is at Daisan Harumi.  I was introduced to the restaurant by Asomaniac of the chowhound forums, whom I met during my meal at akasaka kikunoi. Daisan has a very reasonable weekend set menu priced at 7000yen for both lunch and dinner. What makes daisan Harumi so special is that it ranks higher on tabelog(the Japanese equivalent of hungrygowhere/yelp/openrice) than a lot of Michelin starred sushi establishments, including the infamous Sukiyabashi Jiro (although Jiro isn’t very highly rated on Tabelog).

Aori Ika

One thing you’ll quickly learn about the restaurant, is that chef Nagayana Kazuo is obsessed with sushi; he is considered a sushi expert in Japan and has written one of the most informative sushi books I’ve laid my hands on, going into the explanation of the philosophy behind sushi, the proper etiquette to enjoy sushi, he then goes on to talk about the different kinds of sushi served during each season(of course, fish and therefore sushi is very seasonal). If that isn’t an attestation to his love for sushi and attention to detail, how about the fact that he harvests his own seaweed? In fact, it is so sought after that there is a 2 year wait list for this nori.

Tairagai (Pen Shell)

Besides being a full time sushi master, he also dabbles in caligraphy and pottery. Most of the serving dishes are served on plates made by the chef himself. All this sounds fine and dandy, and you might be wondering at this point, why doesn’t he have any stars then? The answer becomes evident the moment you step into the restaurant. From the strange looking lizard clock hanging on the wall, with it’s tail wagging back and forth as each second passes, right down to the plates made by the chef himself, remember those? I might have forgotten to mention that they are incredibly ugly. This collection of items, combined together with the decor, look so out of place in the restaurant.

Maguro (Lean tuna)


Chutoro (Medium fatty tuna)

But I digress, what about the food? I tend not to trust sites like tabelog, I find hungrygowhere to be a very rough guide and overall, pretty inaccurate, so I was skeptical to say the least. But the sushi turned out to be good, my only other ‘proper’ sushi experience was  at sushi Kanesaka, so I will compare against it as a rough gauge- I’d say the sushi was pretty on par, if not slightly better than Kanesaka, I did prefer the uni at Kanesaka, but I preferred the tamago at Daisan- it was more like a very soft, moist omelette, than a cake-like texture at Kanesaka. Other standouts for me were the hamaguri, ikura, kuruma ebi, abalone, and gizzard shard. It should be noted that I topped up an additional 3000yen to get an additional 4-5 more pieces of sushi, and the Uni was part of this addition. So all the photos of sushi you see came up to 10,000yen.

Tamago

Abalone

Kohada (Gizzard Shad)

At 7000yen, the set menu is of incredible value, it’s hard to get the quality of sushi that you get at Daisan Harumi for a lower price. Even the finer details of Daisan start to grow on you after a while(except the god awful plates, those are unforgivable) as you begin to grow comfortable with the eccentric personality of the place, you stare at that annoying lizard clock and it slowly begins to amuse you, you enjoy the lack of servers waiting around you, it makes you feel more at ease, most of the customers are kicking back, enjoying the sushi with a glass of beer, the sushi chef doesn’t wipe the serving plate after each sushi is served, and no one seems to be bothered at all. It’s a fuss free environment, because everyone at the restaurant is here for the sushi and the sushi alone. I would strongly recommend daisan to anyone visiting Japan, go for the set weekend meal, and budget an additional 2000yen to buy his incredible book.

 That damn clock, I want one now

 


Kuruma Ebi

Grilled ebi heads


Ikura

Hamaguri

Uni



Anago

Tuna Roll

Tokyo

Blacows, Tokyo

My last burger stop in Tokyo was easily the one I had been looking forward to the most during the entire trip. With only one location in the Daikanyama district, Blacows serves a more ‘gourmet’ burger, proudly touting premium ingredients such as 100% black wagyu beef, and buns from maison kayser. Their burgers aren’t exactly cheap either, easily the most expensive of the three burger joints I visited,  ranging from about 1000Yen for the most basic hamburger, up to 2450Yen for gigantic meat party burgers.

Blacows Ultimate meat burger: Patty, Wagyu roast beef, bacon, proscuitto, gravy sauce, original bbq sauce

I’m going to say right off the bat that I made the wrong choice of burger. Every component in the burger was spot on, the patty was flavorful and moist, the roast beef was perfectly cooked, still pink in the center, the bun did not disappoint, crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, although I’d say it was slightly below par compared to great burger; its a shame that the one issue I had with the burger was that the proscuitto overpowered the flavor of the beef.

It was a heavy, heavy burger, the kind that I like, but halfway through your burger, all you taste is the proscuitto and bbq sauce. It was only after removing the proscuitto that I could appreciate the individual flavors of the burger, and they came together alot better. The chips/fries were nicely cooked, not as crisp as baker bounce, but they were good fries, definitely not an afterthought garnish to the burger.

The high quality of burgers at blacows is evident, the philosophy is simple- quality ingredients lead to a quality burger. Just from visiting their website, where they tout the breakdown of each burger proudly, you can tell that this is a place that cares a lot about produce. 1000Y for a basic hamburger is a lot to pay, if you have cash to spend, then by all means, visit Blacows, but I should make it clear that the standard of cheaper options like Baker bounce and Great burger are not that far off. Very good

Tokyo

Baker bounce, Tokyo

Baker Bounce was my 2nd (out of 3) stops of my burger tour in Japan, Baker bounce has 2 locations in Tokyo, one in Sangenjaya, which I went to, and one in Tokyo Midtown, near Roppongi station. The menu is quite extensive, including non-burger related items, but I was there for one thing and one thing only

Egg bacon burger lunch combo

Some, maybe even many, will disagree with me when I say that a fried egg in a burger only serves to make it better. I don’t see how yolk dripping down your fingers and the sides of your hands, moistening every bite, making the burger even richer couldn’t possibly elevate a burger. Baker bounce definitely knows this, they serve 2 fried eggs, whites perfectly cooked with some browning, yolks still liquid, atop an open faced bun. For some reason that I can’t fathom, all the burgers I had in Tokyo were served open faced, and you had to ‘build’ the burger yourself, by ‘build’, I really mean put the buns together and slip it into  a piece of waxed paper. Its almost like they’re trying to tease you- all you want to do it sink your teeth into the burger the moment they put it in front of you, but no, you have to work for it, you have to slap an empty bun onto the filling, you have to pull out a piece of wax paper, then gently try to caress the burger, which is obviously too big to fit into that damned piece of paper, inching it closer and closer to the edge, till it slips in, and you feel like you have accomplished something tremendous, the reward for your hard work right in your hands. But I digress, the burger at bakers bounce, is good. The meat takes a much more prominent role in this burger compared to great burger, the tomato and homemade tartar sauce shine through, but the vegetables get overpowered by the beef patty and the bacon(this is not a bad thing), the bun falls a little short compared to great burger, although the one at great burger was pretty…. great…. I would rate this higher than the burger I had at Great burger, this just felt a little more.. Manly and satisfying. Two words I never thought I’d put together in the same sentence.

The real surprise for me was the potato wedges, shatteringly crisp on the outside, well seasoned, lots of nutty browned flavor. I’d go as far as to say that, while they are not in the same league as Heston’s triple cooked chips, they are not that far off either. Overall, this place is definitely worth a visit, more so than great burger, although great burger has a much nicer space and overall a place you would want to spend the afternoon in, Baker bounce, not so much. Good-Very good

Tokyo

Sant Pau, Tokyo (**)

The last of my fine dining meals in Tokyo brought me to Sant Pau, a second branch of the original Spanish restaurant with the same name, helmed by Carme Ruscalleda. Closest to Nihonbashi station, the restaurant has a sleek exterior(and a difficult to find entrance), and a grand interior, probably the nicest dining room out of all the restaurants I went to in Tokyo.

Champagne made specially for Carme Ruscalleda to start off the meal. Beautiful plates

Shiso and chicken consommé
A combination that I would not have thought of myself- when I think of shiso I tend to associate it with seafood, but the combination worked. The soup was very clean tasting, no eggy aftertaste that can be imparted from the egg used in clarifying consommé, chicken flavor was strong, shiso was aromatic. Soup was perfectly seasoned. Good


Amuse platter

Faux egg: milk jelly covering a carrot puree, celeriac, tomato, red pepper
I don’t know how this was made, but this was an exact replica of a soft poached egg, the texture was exactly like a soft poached egg, and strangely enough, the taste was exactly like one too, you could eat this without actually knowing it wasn’t an egg. It’s like giant mindfuck on a plate. The red pepper did not have the same texture as chorizo, but it did have a good amount of spice and heat. Good

Martini made of pesto and courgette
I think this is a spherified ball of pesto, a little too pungent for me even when washed down with the courgette(zucchini) liquid. Okay

Faux dressed radish made of macadamia nut, marsh, raspberry.
Beautifully made, very realistic. Crunch from the macadamia added another depth of realism to match the crunch you get when you bite into a fresh radish. The tartness of the raspberry gelee made it surprisingly refreshing. Okay-Good

Croquette made of rice and vegetables
Hearty, good flavors, well seasoned. Okay

Akaza ebi, parsley sauce, parsley sauce, snow peas, ‘apiose’ vegetables, jelly of shrimp juice
We spent a good 5 minutes trying to figure out an english translation for ‘apiose’ before giving up. It tasted like a milder tasting version of sweet potato, but it had a better texture. The lobster was perfectly seasoned, but nothing on the plate really served to elevate it’s flavor or challenge it; I think the parsley sauce could’ve been stronger/more pungent, the ebi certainly had enough flavor to stand up to it. Okay-good

Scorpion fish, green papaya, tomato basil sauce
I loved the inclusion of green papaya, it brought a freshness and crunch to the dish that was quite unexpected. The texture of the fish was bad, overcooked and somewhat dry, the saving grace was the incredible tomato basil sauce, it was smooth, very intense flavor, and worked well with the papaya, saving an otherwise bad dish. Okay


Iberian pork shoulder, onion sauce, tempura ‘sale/saro’
The pork was perfectly cooked for me, but might have been a little under for some people. Large grains of salt sprinkled on the pork released bursts of flavor as you chewed through the shoulder, and the robust flavor of the pork just kept releasing as you chewed without signs of wearing thin, the tempura sale/saro? was a perfect contrast to the meatiness of the pork, while the flavor of the herb was strong enough to hold up to the pork. Definitely one of the better pork dishes I’ve had, really showcased the quality and flavor or Iberico pork. V good

Cleanser: Pineapple sorbet, raspberry juice
Good balance of sourness and sweetness, very necessary as the flavor of the pork was still lingering on the tongue. Okay

Strawberry, blood orange, nori
Blood orange yoghurt and strawberry yoghurt under the jelly. There was a sponge layer, but i felt that a biscuit base would have been better for more textural contrast. The addition of nori was what made the dish for me, although it didnt seem like there was much on the plate, the flavor was very glaring in the dish. It sort of made u stop and think about the flavors, I can’t say that the flavors work very well together, but this is the sort of dish that reminds me of my meal at el bulli, you really have to stop and think about what the food you’re eating is doing and how the flavors all comes together, 2 out of 3 at the table liked the inclusion of nori in the dessert. Good

Petits: Too lazy to list them all

These days, its hard to think of high end Spanish cuisine without drawing an immediate comparison to molecular gastronomy(or molecular/modern cuisine, whatever you want to call it), Sant Pau offers glimpses of that without actually falling into that stereotype. The amuse bouches were incredibly playful and thought provoking; although the petits were not as playful, they were also incredibly fun to eat. The core of the meal showcased more traditional cooking, with glimpses of inventiveness(pairing of nori and strawberry/orange). Although the execution wasn’t as solid as the concept of some dishes,  all in all, it was an enjoyable,  well balanced meal that offered quite a lot. That isn’t to say that there isn’t strong competition in Tokyo- there is such a wide array of choices for western cuisine with Japanese influence, while it is easy to overlook Sant Pau among the hype surrounding restaurants like Quintessence and Les Creations, it is certainly able to hold its own

Tokyo

Kondo, Tokyo (**)

When I mention the concept of a fine dining tempura experience to friends, I seem to keep getting the same skeptic response, something along the lines of- How good can tempura be, really? I feel inclined to defend Tempura and everything it stands for- the batter makes a difference, the quality of produce makes a great difference, the temperature and kind of oil used makes a difference; but I couldn’t, at least not until I had tried it, and besides, asking how good tempura can taste is not that far off from asking, how good can raw fish on rice taste?

The fact is, sushi, and tempura both involve very minimal amounts of cooking(at least in comparison to a french degustation menu), and therefore the quality of ingredients is absolutely paramount to the final dish, whatever minute mistakes are not masked by heavy sauces or side condiments, it is raw cooking at its rawest form.

With that, just 4 hours before my only 3-star mealduring the entire leg of my Tokyo trip, I found myself getting ready to have lunch at Kondo, a 2 starred tempura restaurant. I had spent a good 15 minutes looking for the restaurant in the hot sun, and already started to doubt if this meal was a good idea at all. After taking a tiny elevator up a nondescript building, it seemed as though everyone that stepped into the building was having lunch at the restaurant, in fact, there was a small waiting area cramped with about 8-10 people waiting to be seated, at least the place was showing promise…


Prawn heads

Two shattering-ly crisp prawn heads exploding with the intense taste of prawn head juice/brains, the tempura batter helped to balance out and tone down the offal taste of the head, even people squeamish about eating prawn heads could get down with this. Perfect way to start the meal. Very good


Prawn

The first real foray into traditional tempura items, what struck me immediately was that the batter was nowhere near as crisp as the ones I’m used to, it was crisp, but without the crunch that some restaurants achieve when cooking their tempura ebi; on the other hand, the batter was not as dense as my previous tempura experiences, this light batter allowed the natural sweetness of the prawn to shine. The prawn was nicely cooked, retained a nice bounciness to the bite, which contrasted the batter well. Okay-good


Asparagus

This was eye opening, the asparagus was very thick, and it was cooked to the point where it took on a meat-like texture, and released a lot of natural juices when you bit into it. The batter was very light, you get the immediate crunch when you first bite into it, then the natural earthy flavors of the asparagus take over, best asparagus I’ve eaten. Very good


Eggplant

This once again had a meaty, almost stewed eggplant kind of texture, but it was sliced thin enough so that it wouldn’t get too heavy and cloying on the palate. I also realised at this point that the batter used was quite fluid, it didn’t stick as much as a traditional batter, and a lot of it actually drips off before it is fried. Okay-Good


Kisu 

The fish was unbelievably well cooked, moist and full of flavor. The soft texture of the fish meant that it was one of the few tempura dishes that actually had a textural contrast to the not-so-crisp batter, I actually hoped as I was eating this that the batter was slightly crisper, although this was still a great dish. Good-Very good

 

Lotus Root

Very crunchy, really nice bite, flavors were subtle, and it wasn’t stringy or sticky like some of the lotus roots I’ve eaten in Singapore. Okay

Shiitake mushrooom

Kind of tired of saying this, but this once again had a meaty texture, my notes say ‘smooth’ as well, pretty sure I was talking about the texture, it was not sponge-y at all. Very deep earthiness, surprising amount of flavor in a small bite, bursting with juices. Very good

Shiraumo

Minced fish wrapped in shiso leaf, the fish was again, perfectly cooked. Strong flavor from the fish, and shiso provided some freshness that helped to cut the oil a little bit. I’m not sure if it was because the fish was minced, which gave it the perception of being ‘softer’, but I felt that the batter was a little more crisp, and gave the dish a perfect contrast in texture, best protein of the meal. Very good


Anago

The final of the meat tempuras, this was perfectly cooked, as always, the best cooked fish course I had. Unfortunately, it was quite lacking in flavor compared to the two previous dishes. There was a little bit of a residual stickiness on the tongue from the fish, which was quite unpleasant, but it was balanced out by the fried batter. Okay


Onion

This had a nice caramelized smell to it, but it tasted surprisingly raw(but without the biting sensation on the tongue) when you ate a big chunk of it. The onion was very sweet, but I’m not particularly crazy about the taste of onion in general. The batter did not stick to the onion at all. Okay


Sweet potato

Supposedly Kondo’s speciality, this was an extra order that was not included in the set menu. I clearly did not realise how gigantic this was, let’s just say that I was literally struggling to finish one piece of this sweet potato. Im actually not sure if this was done tempura style, it actually seemed baked to me. The crust was the crispest of all the dishes I had, and the potato was sweet, but not mind-blowingly so, it was very very dry. Was this really their speciality? I honestly don’t get the hype. I had to leave the 2nd piece behind. Okay

Aoyagi(Round Clam) pancake on rice

Right when I thought I had hit my eating capacity, this was placed in front of me. I had forgotten that there would be a rice component in the lunch. My intention was to just nibble a little to get a taste, but this didn’t pan out as I had planned. The taste of this pancake was complex, there were a lot of different flavors, all residing at different parts of the pancake, every bite gave you a different sort of flavor, and it was delicious whichever way they melded together. Some parts were sweet, others savory, I even got some citrus/sour notes as well(ponzu?), the pancake wasn’t crisp, but it didn’t need to be. I ended up having to finish this. Very good

The miso soup smelled a lot stronger than it tasted, plus I was close to bursting at this point so I think the soup was a little lost on me. Okay

Although I did not put in much time researching my meal at Kondo, it actually turned out to be one of the best meals I had in Tokyo. When you talk about some of the 3 star french masters like L’Arpege, where the focus is primarily about bringing out the natural taste of ingredients in their raw state, and then cooking it minimally to elevate it(especially vegetables); cooking ingredients tempura style is not that different from this vision that restaurants like L’Arpege has set for its food.

Japan has some of the best produce in the world, and tempura is an incredible vessel to carry those strong flavors to the diner without imposing or drastically altering those flavors. All the food was perfectly cooked to the right doneness, my only criticism would be that some of the tougher, or foods with more ‘bite’, overpowered the batter slightly and you couldn’t get the crisp sensation when you bit into the fried batter, the contrast was a little lost here. On a more positive note, the fried batter didn’t seem that oily, but I did start to feel myself slowing down quite a bit towards the end.

The set lunch menu is incredible value, and you will leave the restaurant feeling stuffed, I’d highly recommend making a trip to Kondo, and I’d also recommend skipping the sweet potato

Tokyo, Uncategorized

Tapas Molecular Bar, Tokyo (*)

If  you are looking for a true molecular gastronomy experience in Tokyo, chances are, you will end up reading a blog post about Tapas Molecular Bar. While Tokyo has no shortage of modern takes on numerous kinds of cuisine, TMB is probably the only restaurant where you will get a true Molecular Gastronomy experience. Located on the 38th floor of mandarin oriental Tokyo, the restaurant has an amazing view of the Tokyo skyline, be sure to show up early for your reservation and have a seat at the lounge. They serve two sittings during dinner an I would recommend getting a reservation during a timeslot with no other guests, you’ll get a much more personal, and overall better experience.

View from the top


Cherry bonbon- Sake, cherry liquor

It was sake jelly surrounded with a cherry liquor, I think it was spherified. Very aromatic and the sake went well with the Sakura. Good


Onion puff with bacon cream, beef puff with horseradish sour cream

The texture of the puff was quite interesting, it was completely dry and crumbled in the mouth, but it lacked that explosive flavor which would’ve really made the dish really pop. Okay


Potato stone

This was very similar in concept to the potato appetizer served in Mugaritz. I think this was actually a better replica than the Mugaritz version. Unfortunately, both this, and the Mugaritz one, tasted terrible. The Mugaritz shell was very crisp and powdery, this version had a chewy exterior, both were equally unpleasant for different reasons. Main difference is that the Mugaritz version was served with aioli, which made it much more palatable. Bad


Exquixada: deconstructed Spanish salad

A deconstructed salad, plated in a test tube, meant to be sucked in one mouthful. Very strong taste of tomato gelee and bacalao, I have no reference to the original salad, but this tasted surprisingly good to me, had nuances of a ceviche, acidity and sweetness of the tomato balanced out the salty bacalao nicely. Good


Mountain, cheese, butterfly

This was a orgy of many different flavors and components, what impressed me the most was the taste of the cheese, on top of wheat bread with walnut raisin, the combination of that bite was delicious. The butterflies made of beet and apple puree were visually stunning(look at the details), but didn’t do much taste wise. The foam was absolutely useless, completely tasteless. The salad didn’t work for me either. Okay


Smoked semi boiled egg with Spanish ham

An appearance for the smoking gun, which is to be found in every molecular gastrogeeks toolkit. This seemed to be a dish right up my alley, I love a soft poached egg, and jamon is one of my top ingredients of all time. Unfortunately, the dish seem to be lacking a balance of flavors, the egg was severely under seasoned and tasted bland when eaten alone, then it tasted completely overpowered when eaten with the Spanish ham. Bad


Spring landscape 1: fried spring vegetables fried in an eggless batter

This was one of the better dishes of the night. The batter was amazing, it had a  ethereally thin crisp shell that gave way to perfectly cooked vegetables, didn’t feel heavy or soaked in oil at all. The soil was made of fried onion and spring onion, it gave the dish a sweet caramelized flavor. Good


Drunken shrimp

An homage to Chinese drunken shrimp, done in a Japanese style- cooked in sake, kombu and yuzu, served with a seaweed and nut brittle. The shrimp was perfectly cooked, sake was a little strong but the seasoning and umami from the kombu helped to tone down it’s harshness. The brittle had very little flavor but the taste you got from sucking on the prawn head was enough for me to look past this. Very good



Sole and watercress

Fried lotus root chips added a nice crunch to the dish, and watercress sauce was the best component on the plate. The sole was nicely cooked but flavors didn’t stand out at all. Actually, nothing in the dish really stood out, and a reappearance of that foam sums the dish up for me. Bad


Quail, morel, cacao

This was a really confusing dish for me, the components were: fried noodle basket, baby artichoke, carrot puree, quail and quail jus with cacao, vanilla potato espuma with vanilla oil. Trust me, this is as confusing for you to read as it was for me to eat. The fact that I was told this should taste like apple pie when all the components were eaten together did not help at all. It was tough enough to eat all the components together for a deconstructed dish, and it certainly didn’t taste like apple pie to me. The vanilla potato espuma just did not belong on the plate, very very strange. Bad


Xiaolongbao

A molecular take on xiao long bao, this was actually one of the most intelligent dishes I’ve had in recent times. Xiaolongbao is basically jellied stock covered with ‘pastry’, then steamed, so that the stock melts down into liquid state for that burst in your mouth feel. This dish takes the same concept, except using minced lamb to cover the jellied stock, it is held together using transglutaminase, or meat glue. Unfortunately, I think the dish failed in it’s execution, there was not enough stock and that ‘burst in the mouth’ texture was  lost in the meaty texture of the lamb. If you look past that, it is actually quite an interesting and fun way to serve meat + sauce in a neat package. Okay-good



Warm sizzling beef

A4 grade wagyu beef that’s cooked sous vide(I think), the sizzling portion of the beef comes from it being put into a whipping cream canister, and charged with carbon dioxide. This adds absolutely nothing to it’s flavor, but it carbonates the surface of the beef, so that when the beef is finished with sauce, the sauce ‘sizzles’  on the surface and bubbles slightly. It’s an whimsical and playful effect. The beef itself was very nicely cooked, very tender. Don’t expect to get as many pieces as I did though. Good

Can’t see much happening? Thats because not much is


Osuimono

A piece of fish is placed info clam stock and spherified(so that the fish is encapsulated by the stock), and it is later injected with a herbed oil, the process itself is quite cool for those who have never seen spherification before, unfortunately, it tastes terrible. Osuimono should be a light clam broth, but this had the ‘gummiest’ texture of all the spherified liquids I’ve had, thus making it taste really heavy, moreover, it just didn’t taste good, the clam broth just tasted too strong. Worst dish of the night. Very bad


Liquid nitrogen passionfruit puff

A passionfruit puff, similar to the puff used in the second dish, placed in liquid nitrogen. It was fun, I was sharing puffs with all the chefs, getting high on nitrogen, actually almost burnt my tongue as well. It’s tough to taste much when something is so cold, but the choice of passionfruit was a solid one, this actually had more taste than the puffs in the second dish, I didn’t get a shot of the puff itself because I do not particularly enjoy getting my fingers burnt by liquid nitrogen. Okay


Spring landscape 2: burdock root chocolate gateau, ginger ice cream

Interesting pairing of flavors, but the texture of the gateau was not great, kind of hard for the dish to come back from that. Okay


Petits:

Washi- dried edible flower covered cotton candy. Okay
Piña colada marshmallow, very strong flavors. Good
Strawberry candy with the scent of milk. This was supposed to taste like a strawberry latte. Okay
Freeze dried white chocolate banana, nice crisp texture. Good
Sakura cake- moist, very aromatic. Good


Fruits

A tasting platter for miracle berry. The basic premise is you try one piece of each fruit, then you suck on the miracle berry, the berry coats your tongue with a protein that alters your perception of taste. It makes sour foods taste sweet, among other things. You can still sense acidity from certain fruits(like the lemon especially) biting your tongue, but it tastes sweet. The strawberry tasted out of this world. It’s a little hard to describe without actually trying it. Very interesting but not really a dish per se.

I really thought I would like tapas molecular bar, I am a self confessed fan of molecular gastronomy, I love me a modern take on food, but the overall meal at tapas molecular bar felt a lot like a 101 class to molecular gastronomy, all the key techniques are there- spherification, liquid nitrogen, dehydration, foams, but none of them are particularly good examples of the techniques being used in an intelligent manner- to elevate a dish and make it more delicious, in fact,  a lot of the techniques used seemed to compromise the overall taste of the dish. And it’s a pity, it really is, I had a nice time meeting two of the most friendly chefs during my trip to Tokyo here, and the restaurant is set in in an amazing location, but the food put out just didn’t quite match up. I’d probably only recommend it as a crash course for anyone who hasn’t had any interaction with molecular gastronomy, and if you do end up going, make sure you visit the toilets on the same floor.

Your chance to pee on the world