Q: What is it? A: An amazingly cool bar and restaurant in Tokyo’s Meguro area. With an amazing staff. And, first and foremost, amazing food. Quite amazing!
Higashi-Yama is simply the best Japanese food experience I’ve had. Ever.
It started out with a five-star bar experience. Make no mistake; the folks tending the bar at the Higashi-Yama take their work, (and their customers’ orders very seriously). From now on, we’ll focus on food, though. The Megus and Nobus of this world have something to learn from three young guys who started a restaurant, a sweet shop, (with some very, very odd sweets), and a design studio.
If you’re not out on a romantic date, one of the best tables at the Higashi-Yama is the seats around the open kitchen. The young chefs are very helpful, although there is something of a language barrier there, (you’re in Japan, remember?). The atmosphere is very friendly – and it sure adds to the experience to have the executive chef explaining the different courses while preparing and serving them himself.
The sashimi will give your taste buds an orgasm.
I tried out the 10-course tasting menu. Meat is treated like royalty and if you like saké, you’re at the right place. All’n all, the food is simply fantastic. The sashimi, (second serving), is red snapper, tuna, and Japanese mackerel. It may be the best goddamned pieces of raw fish I’ve ever had! Then an amazing tempura monkfish and, (as course number eight – the entrée), pata negra with Japanese leek. For dessert I had coconut creme brulée served with green tea sauce on top, (see image above). I will now repeat myself: The food is simply fantastic.
A bonus is, that everything you use at the table is designed by the Higashi-Yama group and sold under the brand name Simplicity Super Studio. The chefs quickly handed out an invite to the design studio and store, where I went the following day to have tea and buy some of their pottery, (plus the little water droplet pictured above). It’s traditional Japanese, very understated in its design, but at the same time not very traditional at all. And as you probably can imagine, the restaurant is a sleek design object in itself, being the creation of Ogata Shinichiro. Still, it’s not cold, nor is it minimalistic or posh.
A meal to remember? Oh, yes.
A 10-course menu at the Higashi-Yama will leave its mark in your credit card statement but it’s certainly a culinary experience that you will remember for a long, long time. So, as you can imagine, those five stars are well deserved and if there was an extra star to be found, I’d gladly give it to these young, ambitious, friendly and very, very skilled guys.
1-21-25 Higashi yama
Nearest station: Naka-Meguro on the Hibiya and Toyoko lines.
Click here to access the Simplicity website!