Ristorante HONDA is a one-Michelin-starred Italian restaurant in Kita-Aoyama. Helmed by the Chef-owner Tetsuya Honda, who is very good at preparing sophisticated dishes, full of originality in the way the food is arranged and the colour combinations. His food is based on Italian cuisine and incorporate some French elements. HONDA is a quite small restaurant that can serve 25 diners at a time.
Address: 〒107-0061 Tokyo, Minato, Kitaaoyama, 2−12−35, 小島ビル１F
Hours:12:00–14:00, 18:00–22:00, Closed on Mondays
Damage: Lunch JPY 3,500/6,500++ Dinner 8,000++
I am not a big fan of Italian fine dining because i think it is quite hard to make Italian food ‘fine’. My last visit at Aroma Fresca in Ginza totally changed my view of Italian fine dine, which makes me crave for more Italian fine foods in Tokyo. Ristorante HONDA is famous for sea urchin pasta, and this is what brought me there. Unfortunately, i was informed an hour before i ate there that they are unable to get sea urchin from the supplier because it was a public holiday. But instead, they can serve black truffle pasta. Nice deal? We will see.
Two kinds of menu are served during lunch time. I had the more expensive (still very affordable) one priced at JPY 6,500++. If you wish to try their homemade pasta, you need to top up JPY 1,000 for it. I topped up for their homemade pasta and black fruffle (daily price).
The black sesame breadsticks was crispy and aromatic. While the bread roll was very dry and disappointing, just a normal bread that not even as good as those i purchase at convinence stores.
The appetizer was beautifully presented. Sanma (秋刀魚) terrine was high in flavor and the leek balanced well, Ayu sauce was infused by Yuzu juice which was quite sour in general. Sadly Ikura was umami but not fresh enough. The entire dish was refreshing but i found the sourness was a bit over.
When i was infromed that they are unable to serve sea urchin pasta that day, and pasta with porcini mushroom would be served, i was so excited as the pasta with porcini mushroom i had in Aroma Fresca was die-for. Maybe i expected too much, and when the dish actually came to the table, i found it was totally different from what i imagained.
Well, it do looks better after adding black truffle. But apparently, the portion of black truffle cannot compare to the one i had in Aroma Fresca. The tagliatelle itself was not al dante, and a bit dry. The scrabled eggs was not creamy the pair with the pasta and the porcini mushroom has no fragrance at all – the entire dish was sadly tasteless. The black truffle did somehow help, but overall, a very disappointing dish.
I didn’t finished the bread roll, and later served the freshly made loive bread, which tastes much better than the bread roll.
The main course was pan seared sea bream and clam, with brussel sprouts and seafood sauce. Loved the crispy skin of the fish and the fresh flesh. Under the help of the seafood sauce, the fish was more flavorful but the center part was a bit bland.
Dessert was made up of candied chestnut on a bed of Hojicha jelly, chocolate ice cream and vanilla cream, caramelized crisps, with a shot of chestnut milk on the side. I was told to add the chestnut milk into the bowl. The sweetness of chestnut and chocolate ice cream balanced well with the refreshing Hojicha Jelly.
When i was asked my preference of coffee or tea, i picked Chamomile tea as usual. But i was informed that there was no chamomile tea, and i chose mint tea instead. Apart from that, the service was neither impressive, very slow and bad-managed.
Anyway, i cannot tell why this restaurant is one-Michelin-starred based on my visit. The signature homemade pasta was such a disappointment, the other two dishes i tried were better but still have more work to do. A good restaurant won’t miss any chances to impress the guests even during lunch time. Overall, i won’t go back twice.