A person who is able to do simple things to the fullest without being distracted can be called a shokunin (professional). But what is the definition of a person who goes beyond being professional? Tetsuya Saotome, the 78-year-old chef of the prestigious Japanese tempura restaurant Mikawa Zezankyo, is often referred to as one of the gods of Japanese cuisine. He has made “making tempura” a form of art, which is not only backed up by intuition but also by science.
The inaugural world’s 50 best hotel list surely results in frenzy among hoteliers and luxurious experience fanatics despite the wanting of novelty in view. The palpable optimism in Guildhall to celebrate the growth of post-COVID hospitality industry in mid-September will surely continue for some while. Yet the true impact of this collective, and formative collage of accommodations elected by critiques remains uncertain.
Kuwakino feels closely connected to the land she treads on. For her, the pleasure of being able to pick up ingredients right from her own garden and cook them herself is unrivalled. "If I lived in the city, none of this would happen," she shares. Her farm-to-table philosophy is not just a popular style of cooking, but an emotional and philosophical approach to food.
The opening of Bulgari Hotel is a major highlight in Tokyo after the pandemic. Not only is it the first Bulgari hotel in Japan but also the 8th ‘gem’ of the Bulgari Hotel & Resorts Collection. Occupying from the 40th to the 45th floor of the Tokyo Midtown Yaesu, an ultra-skyscraper in the Yaesu 2-Chome North District, the hotel overlooks the quiet premises, fascinating history and natural environment of the lmperial Palace Gardens. From a distance, the red brick Tokyo Station and the glass-curtain building behind it may seem juxtaposed, but Bulgari Hotel seamlessly blends the fusion of Japanese traditional cultural aesthetics. It is at this moment that I visited Tokyo once again.
Tokyo's Michelin two-starred restaurant Florilège has been temporarily closed since this 20 July and will be moving to a new location. For many people, this would be a reluctant farewell to the delicious memories they have had here. At one of the most beautiful counter-style seating restaurants, Chef Hiroyasu Kawate has earned two Michelin stars for his culinary prowess and Florilège was ranked number three on Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2022. Florilège has created many unforgettable flavours for its diners and is a proud flagship in bringing French cuisine to Asia.
As a world-famous French-inspired Japanese restaurant, Narisawa remains in the list of the World's 50 Best for the last consecutive 14 years. It was crowned No. 1 in the Asia's 50 Best 2013 and became the first Japanese restaurant to enter the World's 50 Best in 2015. As the soul of the restaurant, Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa has dedicated all his time and energy to the growth of Narisawa.
It's been a few years since I wrote about Noma again, and I've really thought it through. The new Noma 2.0 cookbook contains dishes spanning two seasons, evoking memories of the past. As it has for years, the restaurant explores the possibilities of a full range of ingredients, presenting the best of them conveyed through an unimaginably elaborate process that is both wild and traditional, unpretentious but time-consuming. In the spirit of Noma 2.0, the Kyoto pop-up pays true homage to the city’s profound history and diverse culture, with local approach in ingredient selection, preparation and presentation.
Esquisse, meaning “sketch” in French, is more than a name. An artistic theme runs throughout Esquisse, from the bright and airy decor through to the elegant presentation that seems to bear the poetic come and go of things. Opened in Tokyo’s luxury Ginza district in 2012, Esquisse was awarded two Michelin stars five months after opening. Deeply influenced by Japanese philosophy, Lionel Beccat’s cooking is about changing the way of thinking and creative growth, leaving guests to define his dishes. For me, Esquisse is undoubtedly one of the iconic restaurants to visit in Tokyo.
Kawate is clear in his goals and bold in his approach, especially in the early focus on sustainability before the market took it as a trend. His signature 'sustainability beef' carpaccio is taken from the meat of mature, 13-year-old breeding cows from Takasaki, which was an avant-garde dish at the time. Now Kawate's pursuit of sustainability is even more evident. Not the first of its kind in Japan, Florilège is an intimate experience set around a counter where the chefs cook everything right in front of the guest, with full attention to detail to provide top-notch hospitality. The space is far more spacious than it looks in the photos. It is a theatrical ringside setting where the chef is the star of the show.
Kawada says, Japanese cuisine is about water and Chinese cuisine is about fire. The combination of the two is perfectly interpreted at Sazenka, where Chinese cuisine and kaiseki cuisine meet. He reinterprets Chinese flavours with sublime colours and impeccable aromas, imbued with warm hospitality and authenticity.