29th birthday in Tokyo

12 November 2014 at 13 h 55 min


I told you about a fine dinning article. Here it is! Ready to taste with your eyes? On May 21st I was 29 years old in Tokyo. A good excuse to go for an excellent restaurant. My lovely TH surprised me with a dinner at an excellent restaurant Kikunoi.

Located in Tokyo’s Akasaka district, this establishment combines the essence of both kappo and ryotei style restaurants. It serves proper Kyoto cuisine without pretension or affectation. The food, the tableware, the furnishings, the teahouse-style façade . . . all represent the utmost in refinement, embodying the grace of Kyoto hospitality.

img03The icing on the cake, Kikunoi at Akasaka has been awarded two Michelin stars on “Michelin Guide Tokyo Yokohama Shonan 2013”. The big night, we were excited, intrigued…

When we arrived, the staff welcomed us warmly despite our lateness. We got lost on the way…  we made confusion between the stations … Akasaka and Asakusa are almost the same right? But it was not really near. But it didn’t matter, the traditional decor, the cleanliness of the place and friendly staff put us at ease. We sat in front of the counter, our favorite site in japanese restaurant.


They gave us the English menu. Eleven dishes will be served. ELEVEN! So many … But these were small portions.
The first one was a small dish of poached octopus with yam and wasabi. There were small flowers sprinkled on top, this was adorable. At the first bite, I discovered a variety of flavors: slightly spicy wasabi, small flowers, very fragrant, octopus with its special texture … This was good, this was promising!

IMG_7240 copy Poached octopus and mountain yam, shiso flowers, wasabi
Then came an assortment of appetizers. There was a sushi bream wrapped in a bamboo leaf, pickled ginger, eel terrine of fish eggs, liver, eel in the small cut. Delicious liver eel! It was not far from the foie gras but … eel version.

IMG_7246 copyAssortment of appetizers: tai (red sea bream) sushis wrapped in bamboo leaves;
anago (sea eel) rolled dried gourd shavings; pickled ginger shoot; tai (red sea bream) roe terrine; edamame; anago (sea eel) liver, sansho pepper; greenling marinated in rice vinegar

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I kept sushi wrapped in bamboo leaf to the end. It was made with glutinous rice, it was very good!

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After this dish, they brought us a small bowl decorated with dragons. This was a bowl of white fish sashimi.

IMG_7250 copySashimi of shimaaji (yellow jack) and tai (red sea bream), chinese chive, udo stalk and carrot, wasabi

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After white, here was the goldfish with the bluefin tuna sashimi marinated in vinegar. I found the taste of vinegar a little too strong. I definitly prefer the raw fish!

IMG_7254 copySashimi of seared bonito tuna, shaved new onion, young perilla leaves,
ground red pepper radish and ponzu jelly

Sashimi over, we got a bowl each. We removed the lid …

IMG_7256 copyTea-steamed Wakasa tilefish, fresh green tea leaves, green tea noodles, egg, minced green onion, ground red pepper radish

and we found a very curious little soup … These were green tea noodles wrapped in fish. We tasted …

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and this was exceptionnal … It was delicious, refined, soft and full of flavour. The noodles were melting and the fish was excellent. One of our favorite dishes.

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The next dish was original: A small green sauce and two small grilled fish. The chef told us that we must eat the whole fish. With the head, tail and all? Ok, I tried. It was salty, crisp, it was good!

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IMG_7261 copyGrilled ayu (Sweetfish) Watergrass Vinegar

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This little green thing was my number one of the dinner. First, because it was terribly cute and then because it was simply delicious. They say eggplant (aubergine) but it was not an eggplant taste. It was fresh and flavorful. It’s hard to describe because I’ve never tasted anything like this before.
IMG_7264 copySeasoned eggplant

Other number one dinner … Yes I know, but when all is good how to choose? So this adorable little container … I wanted to keep it like that so I found it pretty … We opened it …
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and there we found the same small flowers that I liked at the first dish … This little thing is called Jyunsai. I do not know what it is. The chef shows us that we have to drink it.

IMG_7270 copyJyunsai (water shield), myouga (japanese ginger)
And then again, explosion of flavors  unknown … There were like little seeds a little gelatinous. It was very strange but after tasting the verdict is unanimous: it was delicious and very fresh.

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The eighth dish comes in last place in our rankings. This is very good but not exceptional. Small pieces of fish and beans.
IMG_7276 copySoraname and rikyu-hu  with sea bream milt

The rest did not disappoint us. The plate was fabulous. The colors were beautiful, lobster and egg mixture was perfect and the flowers very fragrant green peppers … we feasted, delicious! We began to be widely satisfied, but it was not finished yet.
IMG_7281 copyLobster coated with egg yoak in white miso soup, bamboo shoots, butterbur, Sansyo pepper flower

We ended with a dish called tai meshi. It was rice cooked with whole fish. It was then mixed and distributed in small bowls. There are three different accompaniments in small plate. The small potato soup complemented and finished this declicious dinner.
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IMG_7288 copySteamed Rice with tai (red sea bream), kinome new cabbage soup, fried potato

It is not quite finished … we are offered dessert to end the evening. It was late,  we were the last. I was not hungry anymore but I never say no to dessert. : D
I took strawberries with ice and TH picked the champagne sorbet with melon.

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We left the restaurant happy. The staff was very caring during dinner, it was a pleasure for the eyes and the palate! Now this is no more than a beautiful memory that we are no ready to forget.
It will be hard to do as good as that for my next birthday.

6-13-8 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo