It has been some time, Gentle Reader, since Your Humble Correspondent (YHC) had the time to update this pitiful blog. And, more painfully, there have been regretfully very few memorable dining experiences to record.
But all that is mere history after a delightful lunch at Zurriola [Map in Japanese], an establishment born of a Japanese and European parents with a stunningly subtle Spanish essence. Along with my erstwhile business advisor, whom we shall refer to as "Scott" (because his name is "Scott"), YHC 'discovered' Zurriola gracing the back streets of Azabu-Juban ... an area hitherto notable only for convenience stores and dens of ill repute. A place for brothel creeper shoes and uphooded hoodies.
Chef Seiichi Honda (May his name be praised for generations!) comes to us via such esteemed venues as Restaurant Georges Blanc in Vonnas, Pierre Orsi in Lyon, and San Pau in Nihonbashi. And what a cornucopia of experience he brings to - forgive the pun - to the table.
Zurriola is a splendid venue with much to recommend. The space is bright and elegant, and the layout shows a sensitivity and deft touch more often ignored than observed. In fact, it is quite obviously a life work for Chef Honda and his very professional team, and painstaking attention to detail is reflected in the cuisine, tableware, stemware, wine list and a myriad other tiny areas. Indeed, "professional" is the key to understanding this restaurant and is embedded deeply in its DNA.
Zurriola serves only a degustation menu, carefully crafted and constantly surprising in terms of its delicacy and subtlety. A meal here is more akin to a journey than anything else, with a wide variety of nooks and crannies that invite and sustain exploration. We enjoyed an amuse of octopus that deserves more prominence in the menu, an excellent high-finesse stuffed squid entree, a stunningly rich tomato chilled soup, as well as beef turned out with a loving touch as moist and flavorsome as one might ever want.
This is a foodies' establishment. Take YHC's advice and only venture here with those you know who will appreciate the finer side of the dining experience. Bring a moderate amount of funds, as one suspects that some of the treasures on the wine list may require a second mortgage or at least the sale of one child.
Visit Zurriola with lovers and dilletantes, and cast a fond glance at the fat boy in the corner with the loud voice. That would be YHC, singing the praises of this excellent addition to the Tokyo dining scene.
Zurriola: 3-2-7 Azabu-Juban. Minato-ward. t: 03-5730-0240
Rating: Food: 8/10; Mineral Water: 7/10; Service: 8/10; Ambiance: 8/10; Price-Performance: 8/10. Total: 40/50 (4 Forks)