Les Créations de Narisawa – Best Restaurant In Asia Serves Soil, Charcoal & Bark
[Tokyo, Japan] Les Créations de Narisawa took top honours by being the Number 1 restaurant at the inaugural Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2013 by S.Pellegrino. It was also ranked No 8 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015, making it the Best Ranked Restaurant in Asia, according to a panel of judges, that is.
With French dining style and fanciful Japanese flavours and art, Narisawa is familiar to being on ‘Best Restaurants’ list, already No. 27 in the world (12th in 2011), with 2 Michelin stars. (Read: No 2 In Asia: Nihonryori Ryugin)
If there is an award for food-aesthetics, then Narisawa would almost win hands down. Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa who honed his skills in Robuchon, Girardet and Bocuse is all about “sustainability and gastronomy”, creating dishes “in harmony with nature and the environment”. He gets his food inspirations from the forests, and serves soil, charcoal and bark on the table. Distilled soil that is.
Compared to many other restaurants, Narisawa which is near Aoyama Itchome Station is an easy-find, after a short walk past many car showrooms. It is housed in a silvery-white modern building on its own – with the interior being completely black and white, screaming style, simple chic and elegance at the same time.
Booking needs to be done online a month before the reservation month (ie for a table in May, you should definitely book on the 1st of April).
Lunch is a lot more affordable at 12,600 (SGD$169.50, USD$136.80), considering this is prime land Tokyo, The price used to be 7,350 Yen (SGD$98.90, USD$79.80) last year. Perhaps that’s what you pay for fame. Dinner is at 21,000 Yen (SGD$282.55, USD$227.94).
My meal was called “Evolve with the Forest” – a gift from “Saien”, “Satoyama”, “Satoumi” and the Forest. The amuse bouche at Narisawa already sets the tone for a ‘nature’ ride – Onion with Leek wrapping served on a left, and bread with a moss and chlorophyll covered cube – which happens to be the most delicious butter I ever eaten.
The main course was more spectacle than taste. The “Suzuki” Seas Bass with cabbage, asari and clams come wrapped with a bag, cut open in front of your very eyes, with thorough one-minute explanation from the staff. I could not catch the full-narration from the heavy-accented English, but could make out that this is a simple dish with an elaborate story.
The other main, the Amagi no Shamo, a free range chicken dish felt rather lack-lustre both in terms of presentation and flavour, too one-dimensional to leave a deep impression.
Desserts were once again visually astounding, humble fruits given a delightful twist with it being served a pineapple crust poured with Pina Colada all over. While I was busy taking shots, the table behind me of 8 Japanese tai-tais exclaimed with a collective “Ooooo”, and “Ahhhhh” as the service staff performs his acts so immaculately.
Most French restaurants would come with petit four, Nariwasa’s served in a push-trolley with seemingly an endless supply of mini-macarons, cakes, puff pastries, meringues and chocolates. I thought I should behave more civilized in Japan, and shyly took only four pieces, while that same table behind me swopped the coconut macarons clean.
Les Créations de Narisawa provides an almost perfect service, with imaginative food that tells a story. While it is not quite mind-blowing and its ranking caught me by surprise, you appreciate Chef Narisawa for his dedication to the craft. Whether the restaurant is deserving of the Number 1 spot in Japan is debatable, because food is subjective, and so is art.
Les Créations de Narisawa
2-6-15 Minamiaoyama, Minato, Tokyo 107-0062, Japan (10 minutes walk from Aoyama Itchome Station), Tel: +81 3-5785-0799
Opening Hours: 12:00-3:00pm, 6:30-9:30pm (Closed Sundays)
March 22, 2017