Saturday, 25 August 2012

aronia de takazawa (tokyo) ... an experience!

I love food. I really do. When I book a holiday, I book my flights, I book my hotel and then I book my restaurant reservations. Sometimes I will even book the food and plan around. That is how much I love food. When I heard rumours of a restaurant with only three tables. I knew this was the place for me. Research told me it was hard to get in, and that many people are rejected, but I was determined. I emailed Akiko about two months out and decided to try my luck. 
Their favourite poem is inscribed on the hand rail:
"I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree". (Joyce Kilmer)

My dates were flexible and this helped. I basically told Akiko that I wanted to dine there and was in the country between x and y. I hoped to celebrate my birthday with them, but ended up a day later (I was just happy to get a seat!). I already had reservations at Les Creations de Narisawa and I cancelled one at RyuGin to get here (don't worry I made it there too!).

We settled on the seven course menu without matching wines for AUD$195 (Y16,000). Expensive, but this was an experience. Reservations are difficult to get, so make sure you confirm them. I asked my Concierge to reconfirm my reservations a week prior and also the day before. There was no way I was missing this place.

Chef Takazawa in action!

Getting there seemed straight forward but I got seriously lost. We got off the train and walked up and down the street. Some locals tried to help us but no one had heard of this restaurant. Finally realised we need to go off the main street, and it was around the corner on the second floor.
Chef Takazawa and his wife Akiko
Words cannot describe the food, so I hope that the pictures do. 

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Takazawa shows me his favourite cook books which decorate his kitchen 

Signature dish - The Ratatouille

Uses 15 types of vegetables each prepared differently. 
Takes at least half a day to prepare, 
and is enjoyed in a single mouthful.
Amuse bouche - 
Rice pudding with salmon roe and 
lime vinaigrette.
Corn ice cream with black pepper

Amuse bouche - 
Rice pudding with salmon roe and 
lime vinaigrette
Corn ice cream with black pepper

Basil and pine nut bread with 
Okinawa pork pate.
This was good, had to get seconds!

Takazawa's Farm -
Seasonal Hokkaido vegetables with gorgonzola

 and miso puree. 
Mix of fresh and tempura vegetables 
(in the shopping bag)
Sizzling ayu cocotte with shimeji and enoki mushrooms, 
topped with truffles.

Sous vide chicken breast with guinea fowl liver pate 
(Japanese foie gras), 
raisins and tomato and chilli jam.  
The dish was called KINCHO which is a 
Japanese mosquito coil company 
(and the shape of the dish)
Liquid nitrogen frozen balsamic vinaigrette, marinated potato 
and sama (fish). 
The plates were beautiful - 
Glass with gold leaf sourced from Greece
This dish was called 'Dinner in the forest' and
was served on bark

Wagyu seasoned with ayu fish sauce, ground Japanese
black bean (pepper),
corn, onions and baby potatoes.

BEST DISH EVER!!!! Carbonara -
Looks like your standard pasta dish ...
But it was made of pineapple, with coconut milk
and vanilla bean sauce ...
... and topped with grated frozen preserved apple 
(to look like grana padano cheese)

Takazawa told me his favourite part of the restaurant
is the bathroom. I think it fits his style perfectly.
(Don't worry the reflection is me!).
Japanese hospitality!

in summary: It is not what you think you see, but what you pay for is what you get. This is an experience not to be best. Should you go? Put it this way, you should have been.

aronia de takazawa
$: from $195/Y16,000 (7 courses)
address: 3-5-2 Akasaka, Minato-Ku, Tokyo
Akasaka Building, 2F backside Sanyo
Sanyo Akasaka BLD. 2F Minatoku 3-5-2

*** Note: I visited here in August 2011, but the restaurant has since rebranded as Takazawa. Just Takazawa (kind of like the Prince).