Les Créations de Narisawa is one of the most famous restaurants in Tokyo, honored the top of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants by S.Pellegrino in 2013 & 2014, and the second of 2015.(see the whole list here) It is also consistently wins Michelin 2 stars in recent years and listed among the TOP 100 on Tabelog.
Narisawa locates in Aoyama (青山), near Aoyama Itchome Station(青山一丁目). It is right behind a modern building on its own, which is quite easy to find. We recoginzed it as we walked along the main street without using GoogleMap.
Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa trained in Switzerland under Frédy Girardet, in France under Joël Robuchon, and in Italy at Antica Osteria del Ponte. After 9-year study about gastonomic cooking, chef Narisawa came back to Japan and opened his own first restaurant in Odawara, Kanagawa, and named it “La Napoule”. He subsequently moved the entire operation to central Tokyo.
主廚成澤由浩在歐洲從出九年後回到了日本開他自己的餐廳。他在非常著名的chef手下實習過，比如瑞士的Frédy Girardet，法國的Joël Robuchon還有意大利的Antica Osteria del Ponte。
The main dining room is not very big, only 10 tables and there’s no private dining room.
“Bread of the Forest 2010”
The bread dough was brought to our table for ferment. The dough itself was infused by chestnut, beauty berry and ersimmon, fermented by a candlelight underneath. First time dining in a restaurant that have real freshly baked bread in front of us. Cannot wait to have it baked!
Essence of the Forest infused with oak and cedar Satoyama Scenery
As the bread was fermenting, we were served with some other courses first. The first course was so pretty like a paiting. Made up of deep-fried burdock root, Japanese wild herbs, moss (matcha and spinach chlorophyll) and soil (carbonized bamboo powder) and homemade fermented yogurt. There was also a cup of real spring water on the side, yes, only spring water, without any special taste. Feel the nature?
No seasonings includes salt was used in the whole dish. The deep-fried bucdrock root was crispy but nothing special about the taste.
Sumi comes together with the Essence of the Forest, it looks quite interesting, just like stones. The ‘black stone’ is actually deep-fried onion covered with carbonized leek and flour. It is still warm, the outlayer was soft and the onion inside is incredibly sweet.
The bread dough was finally ready to bake, in a 350 degree hot stone pot . The waitress divided the dough into two, and covered the pot with a plank and leave it to bake by our table. We were told the bread would be ready in 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, the bread is ready!
Another highlight was the butter.It looks interesting but so cute, with a mossy looking. It is house made and coated in olive, cocoa powder and dried spinach to make it a mossy looking. It is creamy, with a bit bitter taste from the cocoa powder, perfect to go with the warm bread.
Our freshly baked bread was awesome – warm, fluffy and with a little bit crust on the bottom. The chestnut and mixed berries brought a little bit sweetness to the bread.
Another bread is quite normal compare to the previous one. 相比現烤的麵包，這款麵包就顯得非常普通。
The soup on the menu was actually winter melon with snake, while due to my diet restrcitions, mine was changed to soup with Taimo and dashi, which is a taro ball in the center. The texture of the winter melon and taro were creamy and melt-in-my-mouth, the soup itself loos simple but was really tasty. My friend had the snake soup and she said it is genius.
Next comes a salad with langoustine, so happy to see some real greens on my table (i love vegetables!)
The langoustine was from Odawara, it was gently pan fried with the shell, but the meat inside was still rare – incredibly tender, just like sashimi. Topped with some house made scallop sauce to intensify the ‘oceany’ taste to the whole plate.
Spanish mackerel,18 grains
The sauce was made side by our table, quite cool. Amazing presentation after applying the yuzu and liquid nitrogen.
As you see, the fish itself was grilled-very crispy skin, inside was almost sashimi texture-tender and bit chewy. The mixture of 18 grains is pretty healthy, consists of brown rice, pearl barley, black beans… The highlight of the dish should be the sauce, which tastes like black pepper – a little bit spicy and made the simple fish tastes so good.
Conger pike, wihite winter root vegetable
Different from the previous fish dishes, this one is deep fried. Finish with Sparassis crispa, white jew’s ear fungus and garlic sauce with cappuccino style.
The outer layer was crispy and was so tender inside, the white jew’s ear fungus was crispy which enhanced the texture. While i don’t like the pickled radish on the top, it was sour and quite conflict with the overall flavor.
Tile fish, maitake mushroom
The tile fish was cooked in a high heat resistant plastic bag, which could perfectly keep the original flavor of the food inside.
It was cooked with duck sauce and maitake mushroom to make the flavor stronger. It tastes more like a sweet soy based, but a little bit too salty for me.
整道菜是用鴨汁蒸的，味道很鮮美。但是由於魚本身就是海鮮，有鹹味，加上咸咸的鴨汁 (其實很像豉汁), 整體感覺有點咸。(可能是本人吃的也比較清淡)
Look this mystery dish, cannot wait to see what’s inside.
A rather larger oyster roasted with onion, sorrel and onion esseence. The onions onions are from Amanohashidate and are much sweeter than the famous sweet Awaji onions. We both love this dish a lot, the oyster was ‘meaty’, with a sweet flavor from the onion and the sauce.
“Sumi 2009” Hida Beef
The Hida beef looks like a lump of charcoal, was actually coated in Shiga leek charcoal powder. After being presented to our table, it was then taken away to be sliced.
The beef looks amazing! Looks really juicy and tender. Accomplished by bordelaise sauce and black fermented garlic sauce, peppers and sweet onion.
Deep fried blow fish
As i mentioned, i don’t eat red meat, so the chef prepared another fish course for me. I was told to eat this with hands, seriously, no cutleries were bring to me neither. It comes with a bowl of lemon water, for washing hands after i eat my fish.
The texute of the fish was interesting. I expected it to be really crispy but tender inside, but it was actually chewy. Although it is deep fried, it was not oily at all. As you see, there’s no oil on the paper neither. Infused by some chili powder, the overall taste was really good.
Finally, comes our all-time favorite part- dessert. The theme of the first dessert was chestnut.
We were helped with some yuzu sorbet,which has a sour flavor to balance the sweetness from the chestnur. The kuzu mochi inside brought another texture to the dessert. Love it.
A chocolate fondant with chocolate ice-cream and chocolate foam, all made with chocolate from Domori, Italy. Both of us ‘wow'(ed) when we took the first bite, the chocolate foundate was so strong in flavor and really creamy. They were made of dark chocolate but not the one seriously bitter, just a perfect balance between the sweetness the bitter.
Petit Fours Trolley
Then wer were presented with the amazing dessert trolley, it was like heaven to two girls with sweettooth. We cannot decide which ones to have, we really want to try all of them but out stomach have limited room left.
Hopefully each of them are even smaller than bite size, and very moderate level of sweetness. The plum macaron was a quite nice one, because the sourness was much over the sweetness, which brought some refreshment after having so many sweets. Other pieces i had such as pumpkin cheesecake, purple sweet potato tart, green citrus puree, matcha jelly candy with sesame, mini yuzu fruit bowl….Anyway, none of them disappoints.
Accomplished with a cup of tea or coffee, nice catch up.
The overall dining experience at Narisawa was amazing. But to be honest, what makes the food memorable is not the tastes, but the presentation of the food. The dishes i consider really good (taste) was the bread, lobster, oyster and chocolate. The service is quite okay, while some Japanese attendant cannot speak English very fluently, but the white attendant definitely helps a lot in introducing each course in details.
Regarding to its 2 star (consistently) and among the top on Asia’s Best 50’s list, and also among the TOP 100 on Tabelong, it definitely worth a visit. While the tastes is really depends, if you want to make it safe, just go and try the lunch, which is more affordable and you can also enjoy most (90%) of the signature dishes. To me, i never regret i made a visit here.
Les Créations de Narisawa ナリサワ
Address:2-6-15 Minamiaoyama, Minato, Tokyo 107-0062, Japan 東京都港区南青山2-6-15
Tel: +81 3-5785-0799
Hours: 12:00-3:00pm, 6:30-9:30pm (Closed Sundays)
Reservation: Can be made on their website, 1 month in advance. They don’t except reservation for 1 person.
Date of visiting: Dec.5.2014 (Fri)
Price: Lunch 1,2000 ++ JPY, Dinner 2,0000 ++ JPY