Perfect strawberries on a perfect parfait. Everything served at Ginza Shiseido Parlor is precise and perfect, using prime ingredients from all over Japan. This day, the Fukuharu-ka strawberries, an original species from Kagamiishi Farm in Fukuoka, were of course … perfect. White table clothed tables, Christofle silverware and custom flatware in the restaurant the omurice (on my Insta) is served. The Salon de Café, where the parfait is served, has a retro-glam feel. Pamper yourself with simple perfection that is another ‘only in Japan’ type spot. A Tokyo must visit 🍓🌸💞 福島県 鏡石農遊園産「ふくはる香」のスペシャルストロベリーパフェ、まいうー😭
It’s no longer a secret the Japanese make unbelievable Napoli pizza (David Chang just filmed a segment for Mind of a Chef in Tokyo) but don’t write off the Italian food cooked with Japanese ingredients. Take this stunning primi piatti from Tacubo in Daikanyama. Open for less than a year, they have already attained a Michelin star and quickly rated a top 5 Italian in Tokyo. The antipasti and pastas are beautiful but the real stars are the meats cooked to perfection in the maki yaki (薪焼き) firewood grill. The lamb is 💯🐑🐑🐑
Bookings are still not impossible but pretty soon, they will become another restaurant with hard-to-acquire reservations so if you are planning a trip here, I suggest visiting sooner than later.
＊Reservations are a must
Takazawa is a restaurant in Akasaka, notorious for being impossible to book. The space itself is beautiful and there is a warm, welcoming scent of tea that whisks you into another world. Scent is, perhaps, a huge part of the experience and I would love to try his food one day. The inside only has four tables (I believe — I was only inside for a brief moment) and rumor has it, the wait list to dine there is longer than some sushi restaurants.
In 2015, he opened a bar around the corner from his restuarant and those curious can try his food in more casual setting. ‘Casual’ in the loosest manner, as the bar is pretty posh.
I finally visited the other day. Enjoyed his scaled down vegetable parfait and an extremely intense squid dish.
Three glasses of wine and two appetizers cost apprx: $180~ USD. I was a bit shocked by the bill. The squid dish was too rich and I could only eat half as the capers and acidity from the tomato based stew were way too much, turning the dish into a chore to finish.
The imbalance was my fault, as all three dishes (two appetizers and one otōshi) had tomatoes and it should’ve occurred to mix base flavors…
I probably will not return because of the cost performance and the dishes that were delicious but not so memorable.
Tamago tofu 卵豆腐 is a small dish that makes appearances in kaiseki Japanese haute cuisine meals. Tamago tofu translates to egg tofu but it isn’t actually tofu – there are no soy beans. It’s dashi and egg, steamed in a square, making it more a unsweetened custard than tofu. The color and consistency resembles tofu, which is where it got its name.
It is said in ancient Japan, poultry and their byproducts (ex: eggs) used for consumption was against Buddhist beliefs and weren’t incorporated into Japanese cooking until 1333. The first recorded recipe of tamago tofu was in a cooking essay published in 1785, thus considered a newer dish.
I guess in a country with recorded history dating back to year 787 (Heian period), 1785 can be perceived as… new 0_0 Sometimes I forget how old Japan is.
Anyway, the other night I had an exquisite dinner at one of my favorite places and tamago tofu was one of our dishes. My dining companion (non-Japanese) asked about the dish and I couldn’t answer all his questions. So of course I asked one of the chefs who overloaded me with information I translated. He was so intrigued by this dish, I thought I’d share here too.
(Pardon the messy photo — I forgot to snap a picture until we served ourselves)
The green vegetable that looks like a skinny green bean is junsai. The English translation is Brasenia schreberi or water shield. Google images pulled up photos of flat, round green clusters floating in water reminiscent of lily pads. That caught me a bit off guard since I was expecting a thin pipe like vegetable. Further googling taught me junsai is an aquatic plant commonly found in Hangzhou, China and Japan. This was probably more information than you wanted to know about an obscure green.
The white squares are yamaimo (mountain potato — the yam with the texture of okra) and the tamago tofu was topped with thin coils of crisp cucumber in a dashi broth. Oh and shrimp, of course.
Tamago tofu is served at room temperature, as was this dish. The silky tamago tofu with the vivid and crunchy vegetables and smooth dashi broth was so refreshing. It was like an elegant summer day.
Wish everyone could experience this once in their lives.