The quality of ingredients can play a factor in the taste of food. If a chef is working with old chicken or fish, those proteins are going to lose out on their flavor.There are tones of restaurants in Tokyo that emphasize on the taste of ingredients themselves, à nu in Hiro area is one of them. Chef Shimono Shohe works by picking the best ingredients and maximising their flavour, an approach reflected in the restaurant’s name, French for “as is”. The kitchen maintains good relationship with producers across the country – Oshima Farm and Okamoto Pig Farm in Nagano make vegetables and Chiyogenton (a pork so delicious it is referred to as the “dream pork”) respectively, and fish from chef’s hometown of Hagi City, Yamaguchi.
Visited: Oct.1.2015 (Dinner)
Address: SR Hiroo Bldg. 1F, 5-19-4 Hiroo, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo (東京都渋谷区広尾5-19-4SR広尾ビル1F)
Damage: Lunch JPY 3800~ ; Dinner JPY 8500~
A little bit background of Chef Shimono Shohe. Borned in 1973 in Yamaguchi prefecture and followed a graduation from a career college, he studied in France for half a year. Upon returning to Japan, he worked at “Vincent” in Roppongi for 4.5 years and spent 3 years as a sous-chef “Le Bourguignon” in Nishi-Azabu. Then he moved to France again, and trained in restaurants such as “Troisgros” in Roanne and “Taillevent”, before returning home in 2006. He was appointed as the chef at “Le jeu de l’assiette” in Daikanyama the following year, and set out on his own to open “a nu” in 2009, leading to the present with 1-michelin-star. The menu is reasonably priced, with the focus on texture and aroma.
The first part of the meal was kind of interesting. The server brought a tray of amuse bouche, 3 little snacks for each of us. If you notice the previous photo, you may see those holes on the plate. We were asked find a home for these snacks by ourselves. Interesting. The first one was olive cookie with ricotta, followed by pumpkin mousse and smoked salmon macaron. The pumpkin mousse was airy and sweet, olive oil cookie was a bit hard but the flavor balanced well, macaron was also hard while pretty lovely smoked salmon creme inside. Nice flavors but i don’t like the textures except the pumkin mousse.
A mini baguette roll and brioche were served for the bread part, both handmade and satisfying. My partner and i really enjoyed the whipped butter which was very light with a savory hint, so good with the breads.
I can imagine all kinds of deep-fried things exclude deep-fried roes. It is not hard to get what i’m trying to say, especially for those with very thin battering. I thought it would be a mixture of flour and ikura, but only the outer-layer was battered. It was incredibly enjoyable when the umami juices brusted from the crisp crust in my mouth.
I don’t know how to describe this dish, it was very refreshing but somehow too strong. The fish itself has a clean taste, mushrooms were juicy, pastries from the pie was flaky; in general great in textures but the dressing was so ‘thai’ – taste too vinegary with a spicy aftertaste, which covers the flavor from the fish itself. My partner said she don’t know what she was eating.
I was so surprised that this was a dish of chawanmushi, no matter on the presentation side or flavor side. Even after we tried the egg apart from the sauce for several times, we still consider the egg flavor was subtle. While the Sudachi (Japanese orange) sauce with green lemon works well and lift the flavor of the dish. By far, the cold appetizers were disapponting. Maybe because the snapper dish was too strong, so we kind of lost our taste buds for the chawanmushi dish.
Hopefully the deep-fried sanma rolled with smoked eggplant start building our confidence back up. The battering was incredible thin and crispy, while the fish inside was still raw, very succulent and flavorful. Inside the sanma rool was smoked eggplant – smooth and balanced well with the sanma. The sauce was a mixture of yellow chili from Brazil and mayonnaise. Lovely one.
This is a very common way to serve Amadai. I had Amadai with crispy scales in several restaurants when i was in Singapore, i found that in Singapore, it was served in ‘spring’, but now in Japan, autumn is a high season for Amadai. Two weeks ago i also had it in Den which was really good.
Chef Shimono Shohe did a pretty good job, the skin and scales were wonderfully deep-fried, i could even hear the clear sound when my partner chewing it. The flesh underneath was tender and umami. The beef sauce was definitely the best helper of the dish, the dish was a great combination of flavors from the land and ocean.
The duck breast was exactly as good as it looks. Its wonderfully crunchy skin was impressed us a lot, the meat was quite rare but really flavorful even without the sauce. While the size might be too large for those who dislike meat cooked medium-rare, so make sure to tell your server in advance.
The first dessert nicely cleansed our palate. The mousse itself was smooth and its savory was quite sync with the meringue.Followed by the chocolate crepe sandwiched with chestnut paste and chocolate, the soft crepe was really good with smooth and sweet chestnut paste, the chocolate chip too enhaced its texture and taste. The black bean ice cream on the side brought a refreshing hint to the sweet crepes.
Petit fours consist of cherry jelly with cherry juice and lemon tart. The cheery juice perfectly bursted in my mouth, we found the sourness was again too strong. The lemon tart with pistachio was awesome, very fluffy buttery base with a refreshing filling.
Apart from the two disappointing cold appetizers, the rest part of the meal was pretty enjoyable. It is not hard to tell that Chef Shimono Shohe focues on his quality ingredients a lot, as most of the dishes nicely kept the flavor of each ingredient itself. Quite relax ambiance but elegant at the same time, the restaurant has only 7-8 tables and the service was good as well. In general it was quite worth of value, good for a catch up.