Food without memory is just digestion

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Bistro Aida - Promise You won't Tell

So, Gentle Reader: can you be trusted with a secret?

If Your Humble Correspondent told you about a very good restaurant with a splendid chef, gracious floor staff, and a good wine list - that was also remarkably good value-for-money - would you be able to keep it to yourself? Would the greater good ... in this case, my being able to get a reservation on a whim ... mean that you would forfend all and any attacks on your confidentiality? At this juncture, it seems appropriate to provide a brief explanation of the dilemma with which Your Humble Correspondent is confronted.

The daily commute includes an ambulatory section (rest assured this is taken at a gentle pace!) from the Hellhole to Ebisu Station, and for weeks one's eyes were drawn to a rather nondescript eatery with the quaint name Bistro Aida [Map] (the aida piece being the Japanese for 'space'). An innocent quip like "What ho! I do believe I have found another little gem..." was enough for The Once and Future Blonde to determine that we should visit said establishment (together, apparently). So we went ... but a different "we" than she imagined. As it happened, there was the appointment with The Adjutant that needed some sort of suitable venue. And the rest is history, Gentle Reader.

Chef Seiji Omote has this place humming since its opening in February 2010, and it is a real "keeper". There is only one omakase offering with six courses including the amuse, for the princely sum of Y3,800 plus supplements for various choices in the Plat Principal and Dessert courses. But the food is heavenly ...

Your Humble Correspondent was quite taken with the Hors D'oeuvre of Fois Gros Pate and Wagyu Carpaccio in a Yuzu and Kabu foam, which was served with four ambrosial slices of Kyo-vegetables (white, black, and red turnips along with black daikon). Our excellent Bagna Cauda was served with two very interesting salts as an alternative with the vegetables: sumi-shio (charcoal salt) and smokii-shio (smoked salt) from Fukushima. Only in Japan, one imagines, but these are both real taste treats that are by themselves reason enough to visit Bistro Aida.

The main course meant duck of course, served with a fascinating sabayon (syllabub to some) of fois gros and puree of porcini mushrooms. It must have been the military testosterone, but we both showed typical reserve by plumping for cheese instead of dessert (which was a Sweet Potato and Apple Pie with cinnamon ice cream).

The wine list is good and well priced, and The Adjutant and I shared a very good Domaine Millet Sancerre 2008 and a 2006 Burgundy that escaped detection. In spite of this extravagance, our bill came to less than Y30,000.

Most of the people in the room were considerably younger than YHC, a sad occurrence that is becoming all too frequent in recent years. But if Bistro Aida is a date spot for sophisticated 30-somethings, it is a refined and all together elegant one which lives up to its mission statement as "a restaurant for adults."

Visit with friends and lovers rather than business colleagues, who would no doubt turn Bistro Aida to their own evil ends. And look for the more mature lurker in the corner - it would be nice to make your acquaintance!

Pip! Pip!

Bistro Aida [Map]: 1F No. 2 AS Bldg, 1-16-33 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku; t: 03-5422-9685
Rating: Food: 8/10; Wine: 7/10; Service: 7/10; Maturity: 7/10; Price-Performance: 8/10. Total: 37/50 (3 Forks)

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