Chefs Hiroyuki Kanda, of Kanda, and Noboru Arai, of Hommage, have taken Japanese cuisine to sublime levels. Step inside their kitchens.
Tokyo is home to luxury restaurants that hem their interiors with simplicity, refinement, and authentic Japanese fare. Kanda and Hommage, awarded with three and two Michelin stars respectively, are both examples of this masterful, thousand-year-old cuisine, full of nuance and tastes.
Traditionally, Japanese gastronomy venerates and respects ingredients, which in its different and creative approaches to flavor and presentation transforms meals into pure art and pleasure for the senses. This is what is found in the kitchens of these two extraordinary restaurants.
Three Michelin stars shine at Kanda, a restaurant helmed by Hiroyuki Kanda, one of Japan’s most renowned chefs. He began his career as a cook at 23 years old, when he went to Paris to for five years, to work as the head chef at a Japanese restaurant.
After returning to Japan, he worked in Aoyahi for thirteen years, opening his own restaurant, Kanda, in 2004.
Kanda bases itself in conveying the spirit of Japanese art: contemplative, light and stirring at the same time – all through food. His clients, which include personalities from the local financial scene, artists, and tourists from around the world, enjoy an illuminating culinary experience.
“I never thought Japanese cuisine could be so sophisticated,” says a delighted French traveler on social media. “The dishes left my family and I with our jaws dropped.”
At Kanda, plates ooze fantasy and originality. To drink, this Tokyo restaurant offers several of the best wines from around the world, as well as sake, both of which combine perfectly with plates such as Japanese-style beef cheeks, cooked over a slow fire with red wine.
Another traditional plate taken to sublime levels is sukiyaki, made slowly and served with eggs beaten to soft peaks.
Hiroyuki Kanda uses fresh, seasonal vegetables for his much-lauded soups, including fava beans in the spring, corn in the summer, and ginkgo in the fall. But, a dinner at Kanda is memorable any time of the year.
With two Michelin stars, Hommage—a French word meaning honor or tribute—is led by Chef Noburo Arai, born in Asakusa, Tokyo.
After his start in Tokyo restaurants, he moved to France to study gastronomy, and worked at several Michelin-starred restaurants. He returned to Tokyo in 2000, and began his tenure at Hommage.
His cuisine comes from the best of the Japanese tradition, but he adds an interesting twist with concepts, concoctions, and his knowledge of French gastronomy. His dishes show a deep understanding of food, and his presentations are exquisite and sublimely minimal.
At Hommage, diners are led by the hand of Noboru Arai, given that they won’t know what they are eating until the dish arrives at the table. The wine list is extraordinary, and the service elegant and discreet. This is a place to relax and enjoy the best creations in a unique space. ■
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