Sant Pau サンパウ
Sant Pau is a 3-Michelin-starred Spanish restaurant in Sant Pol de Mar neat Barcelona in Spain. Its Tokyo branch was opened in 2004 in Nihobashi and is currently holding 2 Michelin stars. Sant Pau Tokyo one of the best Spanish restaurant in town and it is ranked No.1 Spanish on Tabelog. The famous female chef Carme Ruscalleda is a star herself, she has a total of 7 Michelin stars with her 3 restautants. Here at Sant Pau Tokyo, Carme Ruscalleda serves fine Spanish food inspired by her unique philosophy and gastronomy, with the best local ingredients in Japan.
The restaurant is much bigger than most of the other fine dining restaurants in Japan. On the first floor of the restaurant there is a big waiting room as well as a semi-opening kitchen facing a public small garden.The main dining room is on the second floor which can fit 50 diners at a time. Besides that, there is also a 30-seater wine bar. The atmosphere is quite elegant but also relaxing by a twist of oceanic breeze.
Sant Pau opens for both lunch and dinner every opening day (cloesed on Mondays). During lunch time, three sets of menu are served: 5000 (weekday only), 8000 and 15000yen. Dinner is priced at 18000 and 20000 respectively.
We had the 15000 yen lunch menu for a discovery.
The meal kicked off with three little amuse bouche. The first one was homemade corn chips. Loved the crispy texture with a robust corn and cheese flavor. Followed by the Hokkaido ricotta cheese with miso sauce and white radish, the cheese was quite refreshing and the miso sauce brought a flavorful Japanesee twist.
The last snack was chicken croquette, it was moist and has a sweet hint of dates. On the bottom was pistachio sauce to enhance the fragrance and flavor, topped with pink radish to give it some refreshness.
The first dish impressed us a lot. Ika (squid) with orange cubs of made of squid liver and squid ink. The turnip and shisho leaves balanced well with the deep flavor of the squid.
The first hot dish is deep-fried Kasago fish, which has a similar chewy texture with Fugu (bowfish), but more on the tender side. The consumme was pretty umami and matches well with the white flesh.
Fish dish was Amadai with crispy quinoa, side witth yuzu sauce and braised leek. The fish itself was fork-tender, loved the crispy quinoa which added more aroma and texture to the fish. On the side was black garlic sauce (black) and saffron sauce with a yuzu twist (yellow), both matches well with the fish.
In comparison, the Misuji beef was more satisfying. The beef was more like stewed rather than the normal way of grilling, it was suucculent and very flavorful. The dish was beautifully presented with autumn leaves and celery cream to create a 'rainbow' and 'natural' impression. While Mukago potato brings an infusion of the land.
Pre-dessert was Hojicha ice cream with its foam. Hojicha is Japanese baked tea, the mild sweet flavor with a bit bitterness nicely cleaned our palates.
Grape is one of my favorite seasonal fruit in Japan. The entire grape was very large in size and plated on a bed of ear grey cookie. The yogurt on the side was quite refreshing and the tapioca gives a chewy texture. The interesting part of this dessert was the powdered sea salt on the side.
The last but not the least was the signature petit fours, or maybe petit ‘tens’. The ten snacks include: iced lollipop (bottom left), mini crema catalana, nori (seaweed) and cacao; on the crystal plate were: matcha and coconut chocolate, basil macaron, Gominola, filipino, chocolate crunch, polvoron and raspberry crumble. The mini crema catalana was quite lovely, the mini dounut 'filipino' and chocolate crunch were also our favorite, the others were not bad neither.
The dishes we had during our visit were delicious, pretty good ingredients and prepared in a traditional Spanish way combines with a refreshing Japanese twist. Everything were right to the point and nothing much beyond that, we counldn't remind much on the flavor side, in other words, good but not wow. Anyway it was a lovely Spanish fine dining experience in Tokyo.