Many of those who scan these rabid scribblings will know, Gentle Reader, that Your Humble Correspondent (YHC) is an irrepressible fan of all things porky, and will often go out of his meandering way to dine on the flesh of the blessed beast.
So when invited recently to a farewell dinner with The Once and Future Blonde at Lauburu for some long-time partners in culinary crime (via Darkside, WineNutz, et al), there was literally milli-seconds 'twixt the offer and the acceptance. For Lauburu, you see, is both a temple to porcine gastronomy and located a short wobble from YHC's remarkably humble abode ... lovingly referred to as 'The Hellhole' by all and sundry.
Peruse the menu, Gentle Reader, and you will see what we're faced with here: a mega-challenge, a knightly quest, perhaps even a mission from God. One imagines that if a pig was to amble its way through the front door, not one skerrick of that animal would be left once Chef had had his delightfully wicked way with it. On the regular menu you will find Oreille (ears), Fromage de tête (head), Graisseron (scratchings, in this case a pate of throat meat and skin), and ventréches (lower abdomen) as well as - of course - pied (feet). The disappointing part is that there are no pig-based desserts (YHC has once dined at a duck restaurant in Osaka, where the only dessert [actually, a sorbet] was ... duck!).
Chef Sakurai Shinichiro has deservedly won a Michelin Star for his efforts here, and Cochonnailles (Fr.: pork products) hardly goes any distance in explaining the treats that are on offer. In the cobwebbed recesses of YHC's mind, andouillette and boudin are the measure of a chef's prowess with pig - both are featured on the menu here, and YHC guiltlessly (although perhaps not guilelessly) proclaims both to be worthy of an Elysian feast.
While ever-so-slightly disappointed that no-one has yet come up with a pig's milk cheese (egads, why is that?), YHC can further report that the warm goats cheese is also worthy of your highest consideration along with the Salade d'endives au roqueforts.
Mains required extraordinary stamina and courage on the part of YHC: the Confit d'échine de porc is stunningly good, as is the Côte de porc grillé. Other less focused individuals tried the fish (God's Blood! Why would one?) and the snails.
Lauburu is a place where one's darkest instincts come to the fore, where bone-gnawing is both permitted and encouraged. Your Humble correspondent has it on good authority that Lauburu has a very passable wine list, but having BYHCO (Brought Your Humble Correspondent's Own) on this particular evening one will leave it to a future visit to pass judgement.
Lauburu is a place to go with friends - good friends who have seen you at your worst before. Do make a reservation as this is quite a popular venue. And if you see a Gollum-like character pitifully wheezing "The Pig, the Pig..." - well, do toss me a bone!
Lauburu: 6-8-18 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-Ku, Tokyo 107-0062
Rating: Food: 7/10; BYHCO: 7/10; Service: 7/10; Ambiance: 9/10; Price-Performance: 8/10. Total: 38/50 (3 Forks)