Saturday, January 16, 2016

Best of a #Travelife 2015: The hardest restaurant to book in Tokyo that reportedly turned down three Michelin stars

This is part of our series on the best experiences in a #Travelife for 2015.


In Tokyo last January, living a Travelife, I ate at a tiny restaurant considered by serious foodies in Japan to be one of Japan's top five restaurants.

In fact, until recently it was #1 in the national rankings, but now I think it's about #3.



Nevertheless, even #3 is still a pretty mean feat, in a country that takes food very seriously, and that has such an incredibly competitive dining landscape.

Scroll down to read more about the hardest restaurant to book in Japan...



TASTE OF THINGS TO COME

This restaurant is almost impossible to book because it's completely full every single day, in spite of its pretty expensive meals on a cash-only basis.

So basically you show up for lunch or dinner, and you've got to have enough cash in your pocket to pay for the equivalent of an airplane ticket to Europe.



I reckon this is one of the most expensive restaurants in Tokyo now, especially at lunch. 

Lunch in Tokyo is usually cheaper than dinner, even at the best restaurants; but here, the price is the same even if you go at lunch. 

Online right now, there's a discounted airline ticket to Paris from Tokyo for sale for roughly the same amount of money as the bill at lunch, per person.



YOU NEED MORE THAN MONEY
AND LUCK TO EAT HERE

Then there's another almost impossible hurdle: you actually need an introduction from a regular client to book a seat here

If you just call up from out of the blue, they're going to tell you they're already full for any and every day you wish to book.



There are no menus, no English signs, and no explanations.

You just sit and eat what they give you, hoping you have enough money to pay for everything at the end. So the odds of finding a regular foreigner client are quite slim -- except for me, now, of course, as I'd like to be a regular if I can be one.

But for most foreigners, this is a restaurant that's not even in the running, when it comes to booking a restaurant on a trip to Tokyo, especially because of the introduction requirement.

-------------------------------------------


NO, THANK YOU,
TO THE MICHELIN GUIDE

The other reason this restaurant is so famous is because of the rumours that this chef reportedly turned down the honour of receiving three Michelin stars, saying he didn't need this.

Can you imagine? At least this is what is being whispered around the foodie circles in Tokyo.

While so many other chefs all over the world are literally dying to get even one star, this one reportedly sent the three stars back.

THE BEST OF JAPANESE INGREDIENTS



As for the taste, the entire meal was very refined and subtle -- perhaps almost too subtle for foreign tastes. It was all about the best of simple ingredients prepared in the best of simple ways. 

Serious Japanese foodies love it precisely for its simplicity and subtlety, but I can imagine how some non-Japanese might have difficulty reconciling what they ate with what they paid.

Unfortunately I can't write the details of this restaurant on this blog if I want to keep on getting a reservation here as this restaurant hates publicity. But if you're a serious foodie who's done your research on the best restaurants in Tokyo, you'll probably know which one I mean.

Or if you've kept your old copies of Travelife Magazine, the leading travel & lifestyle publication, you'll find the details in the Frequent Flier section of one of our issues for 2015.

NO ONE TRAVELS LIKE US.
OR EATS LIKE US.
OR WRITES LIKE US.

With the Roca brothers
of El Celler de Can Roca in Spain

With Chef Rene of Noma, living a Travelife

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