20 Sep 2006
My friend Arthur (may his name be praised for generations!) once did me the honor of inviting me to the delightful Epices Kaneko, tucked away in the back streets of Azabu. I was sufficiently impressed to schedule a return visit with a friend to check on my first impressions of this sweet little refuge of slow food with fast service.
You’ll find it a little difficult to get to the front door (MAP), but stick to the task and you’ll be well rewarded. Featuring produce from Yamaguchi Prefecture, Epices Kaneko is the sort of place for a quiet conversation or even a long, lingering one! It’s a little like visiting a friend’s house, knowing that there’s a series of treats available but harboring a feeling of guilt that you should be thinking about the friend not the food.
There are 3 menu options - a light version (don’t ask me what it’s like...couldn’t bear the thought!), a Starter+Main+Dessert choice @ Y4500, and the full course @ Y6000. My friend and I decided that discretion is the better part of valor and chose the middle ground.
The Foie Gras starter (that’s entree for all civilized people!) was delightful, touched with a light fruit sauce and presented well on the plate. The organic vegetables especially chosen from the cornucopia of Yamaguchi’s harvest matched the centrepiece well. Considering the price, this is a generous serve of decadence that matched the Chablis Premier Cru we chose to lubricate the conversation.
My Pumpkin Soup was a little better than what you’d expect, and I’m still wrestling with the chef for the recipe. It somehow floats across the palate, intriguing and stimulating as it melts even the most demanding gourmand.
We chose the Roast Duck for our main course - do yourself a favor and try this delicacy. The food is obviously prepared by a chef with a passion for food (may his name be praised for generations!), and the salt-rubbed duck delights from first taste to final...lingering...mouthful. A glass of a light Langue d’Oc pinot added liquid fire to the dish, as well as the conversation.
We decided not to have the dessert but opted for cheese (we chose Camembert and Mimoret).
Epices Kaneko (I can’t find a website) has a fistful of regular customers who keep this place a bit of a secret. You should become one of them! I’d also highly recommend Epices Kaneko for a small function or memorable dinner gathering for up to 30 people. The Dark Side Club will be visiting in October 2006.
Rating: Food: 8/10; Wine: 7/10; Service: 8/10; Ambience: 7/10; Price: 8/10. Total: 38/50 (4 Forks)
Epices de Kaneko レストラン エピスカネコ3-23-14 Nichi Azabu 東京都港区西麻布3-23-14 03-3478-7276Closed on Mondays