Tokyo | Quintessence カンテサンス
Michelin-doms must know that Tokyo has even more Michelin restaurants than France. Regarding to the hardest table to book among all the starred-restaurant, Quintessence must be on the list. Quintessence was opened in 2006 by chef Shuzo Kishida, who has a strong background and gained his cuinary skills in some famous michelin restaurant in France. Focuses on serving fine French food, Quintessence is one of the World's Best restaurants, and also awarded“three-star” restaurant by the Michelin Guide Rouge Tokyo for consecutive years.
The food served at Quintessences follow's the culinary flow of the 3-Michelin-starred L'Astrance where the chef Shuzo Kishida gained his experience. The cuisine pursues 3 process: respecting the product, pursing the cooking process, and attention to detail in the seasoning process. Chef Shuzo particular pay attention to the roasting and broiling of meat and fish. He bases the menu on available ingredients as well as his own creation.
Visited: May.16.2015 (Lunch)
Address: 141-0001 Shinagawa-Ku Kitashinagawa 6-7-29 Garden City Shinagawa Gotenyama 1F
東京都品川区北品川6-7-29 ガーデンシティ品川 御殿山 1F
Tel: 03-6277-0090 (Reservation) 03-6277-0485(Reconfirm etc.)
Hours: 12:00p.m.- 3:00p.m. (L.O.1:00p.m.) , 6:30p.m.-11:00p.m.(L.O.8:00p.m.), close on Sundays
Price: Lunch JPY 8500 (7 dishes) Dinner JPY18000 (13 dishes)
The decor of the main dining room is quite simple and smart, stylish and comfortable, with a low ceiling and slate tiled floor.It can fit only 7 tables at a time. We were seated at the only private room which can fit up to party of six.
We were asked about some drink to start with, we replied 'stilled water', but that's not a simple case at Quintessnece. There is even a wide range of stilled water to choose from. The wine list covered 20 pages of the best wines from all around the world.
We were soon presented with the menu, but it was blank (right page). The menu was similar to Narisawa's, it changes daily depends on the ingredients of the day. 7 dishes including dessert with a digestif were served during lunch time, which is quite affordable compare to the dinner menu.
The first appetizer was a cold green asparagus soup. It was made of asparagus, avocado, tomato, coconut cream, green leaves and clam. It was very refreshing and the clam made the simple soup very umami.
Before entering the next course, we were firstly served with homemade sourdough with butter. There was only one kind of bread served, it was warm and soulful. While the butter on the side doesn't looks very appealing to us.
Next comes the signature appetizer at Quintessence, fresh goat milk bavaroise from Kyoto, topped with the best olive oil from France, with a pint of salt, some sliced Macadamia nut and lily bulb. The goat milk bavaroise was very fresh and has a very clean taste, it well balance the high-flavor olive oil. The lily bulb was sweet and meaty, which added another level of texture and flavor to the entire dish. I enjoyed the dish pretty a lot, while one of my partners who doesn't like olive oil found the dish quite average.
The hot appetizer was very flavorful. The fireflysquid was stuffed with its legs and broadbeans, cooked in the squid-ink sauce with Japanese wild vegetables. The squid was very tender and delicious, the broadbeans and sun-dried tomato balanced the high-flavor squid ink base.
The 'Managatsuo' (Japanese Prompt fish) is another signature dish at Quintessence. The Prompt fish was firstly pan seared, and then moved to the oven and baked at 320 degrees for 1 minute, and another 15 minutes at 900 degrees. Side with baked eggpalnt, and finish with grapefruit sauce and sweet wine sauce
The fish was wonderfully roasted, the skin was thin and crispy like a fine Peking duck. The fish itself was melt-in-mouth tenderness, very juicy and moist. The fish wasn't prepared with any seasoning before it was placed on the plate, the sauce was quite refreshing, thus the original flavor of the fish was wonderfully kept.
The pork was processed with similar ways as the previous dish, the meat was very succulent. As you can see, it looks quite 'bland', but best kept its own flavor. The mushroom sauce has a lovely fragrance.
The first dessert was strawberry shortcake, it was quite different from the regular shortcake we had everywhere else. On the bottom was sliced fresh strawberries, the sponge cake was placed on the top of the strawberry with some rose jam, and finish with fresh cream sauce. The strawberry was incredibly juicy and sweet, while the sponge cake was very 'eggy' and fluffy. The rose jam was another highlight of the dessert.
The signature meingue ice-cream was made with fresh sea water, which creates a very refreshing and special flavor. The savory sea water and the sweet meringue flavor wonderfully works. It was one of the most special ice-cream i have ever had.
The food at Quintessence was quite impressive, very creative dishes that wonderfully keep the original flavor of the food. The presentation of the food was quite simple, but a bit disappointing as we all loved 'pretty food'. But we loved the way how the food was processed.
The service was no doubt good as long as its a fine dining restaurant in Japan, but i am a little bit disappointing with one of the server. He cannot speak English very well, and as i am the only one who cannot speak Japanese of the entire party, i requested him to introduce the dishes after the Japanese version, and he replied 'you can ask your friend, i trust she can translate it for you', which makes us very disappointing.
(Regarding to reservation, i asked my hotel concierge (Conrad Tokyo) to make a reservation for me 3 months in advance. While the restaurant only accept reservations up to two months ahead just on the same date. The reservation line is open from 9:30 – 11:00 and 15:30 – 17:00. It is nearly impossible to get into the line if you call by yourself, so the best way for foreigners like us to get a table is to ask hotel concierge, top hotels will be best. We were quite lucky that we got a reservation.)