Food without memory is just digestion

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Restaurant Hiromichi - Elegance emerges in Meguro

There is little that has previously commended itself, Gentle Reader, to the tiresome thoroughfare between Ebisu and Meguro that parallels the railroad tracks. It has been consigned to a dreary existence since it was the scene of some discombobulation by your Humble Correspondent many years back when he tumbled from a motor-scooter and tore the seat out of a new suit. Regardless of the heroics. Regardless, again, of the children thereby saved from perfidy.

But that has all changed now that Restaurant Hiromichi [Map] has landed, as if from some gastronomic Elysium. Or more precisely, now that Chef Hiromichi Kodama has landed from the 1-star Chemins in Akasaka. While it still has some way to go before becoming a gourmands' mecca - after all, there is only one place worth visiting and this is it - there is suddenly a reason to wander lonely as a cloud along this very carriageway. At which your Humble Correspondent is somewhat of an expert.

Chef Kodama aims to produce "jitsuryoku-ha" French cuisine. He succeeds, brilliantly. The Japanese word jitsuryoku is normally translated as capable and effective, but it also has a feeling of "the power behind the throne" in certain uses.

This is more than "capable" cooking; it is a mastery that expresses itself in food that is quietly confident and an unrepentant expression of sublime virtuosity. Chef Kodama represents the younger generation of highly experienced French chefs in Tokyo, the presence of which group goes a long way to explaining the continuing rise of this fair city in the gastronomic halls of fame.

Your Humble Correspondent first ventured there sometime back to meet The Duchess in a vain effort to convince here to add her considerable skills to the burgeoning team in Yokohama. Got my just desserts, actually, because one should never mix business with pleasure - particularly when the pleasure component is as Xanadific as Restaurant Hiromichi.

For entrees, we enjoyed Les Bonbons de boudin noir et pommes de terre croustillantes (nuggets of boudin noir wrapped in crispy potato with a caramel and apple reduction) and Bien fait des mer du printemps,montagnes,et de nature (Goodness, how poetic ... Blessings of the Oceans, Mountains, and Fields, or much more mundanely 'spring salad'). Oh the decadence, oh the delicacy! Delightfully prepared, and each dish a feast for the all the five senses.

Our main courses were Ballottine de "Shamo Kawamata" parfum de romarin (Ballotine of Kawamata gamecock fragranced with Rosemary) and Canard challandaise rôti et Crème de confit de canard (Roasted Challandaise duckling with Cream of Duck Thighs). A coarser scribe might tend to a rampantly sexual description but I shall forbear, except to say that it was better.

Restaurant Hiromichi has over 200 French wines for your enjoyment, although your Humble Correspondent has to admit to not trying them all (yet). The Sancerre we enjoyed was delightfully laced with the minerality of the terroir with a fresh acidic finish, and expressing all of the full character of the fruit.

Enjoy Restaurant Hiromichi with someone special, someone very special indeed. This is one of a handful of restaurants that will be best enjoyed as an occasional extravagance, rather than a casual stop-gap. Try not to visit more than, say, once a week.

And raise a coupe de champagne to the Shadow at the window. After all, The Shadows knows ...

Restaurant Hiromichi [Map]: Mita 1-12-24, Meguro Ward. t: 03-5768-0722
Rating: Food: 8/10; Wine: 8/10; Service: 7/10; Capability: 8/10; Price-Performance: 7/10. Total: 38/50

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