Kagero means ‘heat shimme’ in Japanese, which refers to the inferior mirage experienced when viewing objects through a layer of heated air.Likewise, Kagero is a midsummer night’s dream at the French restaurant L’equateur in Tokyo.
Housed in a residential bulding in Moto-Azabu, L’equateur has been one of the best-known French restaurants since its opening in 2009. This mysterious restaurant is very low-pitched and its contact number is not even open to the public.
Chef Yoshiyuki Ono (小野喜之) used to be a soccer player but for some reasons, he decided to march to the food industry when he was 18 years old. Yoshiyuki worked at a restaurant until he met Hiroko Kawashima (川岛弘子), a fine food and wine lover who owns the ever-famous cooking studio Salon de #15 in Tokyo. For the exactly same hobbies and philosophy in cooking, Hiroko decided to support Yoshiyuki to open his own restaurant thus brought the birth of L’equateur in 2009, with Yoshiyuki herself plays a role of the owner and sommelier, together with Yoshiyuki as the chef.
In 2015, Yoshiyuki and Hiroko ‘s ambition drove them to close L’equateur from June to September, instead, changing the doorplate to Kagero – an Italian feast by L’eqauteur limited in summer only. As we all know, French cuisine rarely works with Italian, but Chef Yoshiyuki successfully have his cake and eat it too. Both L’equateur and Kagero are ranked top 20 nationwide on Tabelog. Moreover, during these three month, Kagero stably take the lead in Italian cuisine in Japan with a No.1 ranking.
The reason why Chef Yoshiyuki named the restaurant Kagero is not only because it is limited in summer, but also showcases the unexpectations with frequently changed dishes. Like meteor, heat shimme could be only one second but unforgettable. This is exactly like what Chef Yoshiyuki wishes with Kagero – only available for a short period, but every second is unique and impressive.
Getting a reservation at L’equateur is difficult, and it is even harder with Kagero. Thanks to a homelander who is a regular at L’equateur, we luckily got the private room for 6 people instead of seating at the 8-seat-counter. It was a four-month wait and our experience proved that ever second worths a wait.
The first dish to arrive table was a large plate consists of 9 delicacies change on a daily base. Each bite was unique and delicious. The small glass of corn consommé was light, creamy and incredibly sweet. Aji (horse mackerel) tartare with shiso leaf and yuzu has a balanced depth of flavors with a refreshing twist. I really loved the aromatic and succulent smoked duck with miso sauce. Uni with eggplant was a mouthful of creaminess.
The smoked soft-boiled egg was just amazing. It has a lovely smoke aroma, the egg yolk has a similar viscosity to honey, so creamy and delicious.
We ordered wine pairing which comes with 6 glasses wine, since both the chef and sommelier have a great knowledge of wine, all six glasses we had matches very well with the dishes. (photos at the bottom of this page)
Next dish was homemade cappellini with karasumi and caviar, an extraordinary cold pasta dish that i wish i can have everyday. The pasta itself was al dante and silky smooth, it was nothing but umami after mixing with karasumi (dried mullet roe). With a refreshing hint of yuzu, the entire dish has an agreeable aftertaste.
Bread service includes sourdough and baguette, homemade and freshly baked. Loved the crispy crust with a soft and moist center.
Next dish was Zabuton beef carpaccio with miso and soy sauce double sauce. Zabuton means ‘cushion’ in Japanese, when it comes to beef, it stands for the small flap of lean meat between the chuck and the rib eye in Wagyu. The beef was delectable juicy and succulent, miso sauce brings a delicious Japanese twist.
I rarely had shark fin unless at highend Chinese restaurants. This was actually my first time have risotto with shark fin this interesting combination, and it was scrumptious.
Personally not a big fan of most of the BC food especially creamy pasta such as carbonara, but i have to admit that Kagero’s black truffle carbonara really surprised me. Before mixing the truffle with the pasta, i had a bite of the pasta itself and it was ‘wow’. The sauce was rich and creamy but i (we) didn’t feel heavy at all. The black truffle as a second helper wonderfully lifts this B-class dish to world-class.
Next to arrive a calorie bomb which consists a large Japanese ‘hamburger’ made of wagyu, it was another luxurious version of BC food. The meat was well-minced with a little bit tendons to give a chunky texture. The foie gras on the slide has a well-cooked crust and melt-in-your-mouth center. This was a very interesting combination that was indeed flavorful. Every bite was worth of calories.
When the dessert arrived at the table, all of us coincide that we need to walk back home. The crepes looks nothing specular but it was a terrific combination of six all-time-favorite sweets: cream brûlée, chocolate ice cream, vanilla ice cream, vanilla pudding, tiramisu, caramel and chocolate cream. It sounds heavy and sweet but not at all. This heavenly crepe was the best i have had so far.
Actually on the same evening, i had a reservation at the No.1 Chinese restaurant i really keen to go. I encountered a really difficult time choosing between the two as the reservations were at the same time. Based on Tabelog, the food at Kagero doesn’t seem really attractive to me, but i still made it because it is limited in summer only. Good thing i made the correct decision. Next time here, a real L’equateur experience. Looking forward to….!
Reservation: Email reservation only; Telephone number not available