Food without memory is just digestion

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Bistrot Quotidien - Anything but Everyday!

There is a reason, Gentle Reader, why Michelin introduced the "Bonnes Petites Tables" to Tokyo. Actually, 2 reasons: (1) the stated one ("introducing cosy and nice French restaurants to our dear readers"); and (2) further exacerbating Your Humble Correspondent's impecuniosity by introducing more restaurants he needs to frequent. In a previous life, one was fortunate to have an employer who thought it desirable - if not incumbent on me - that one should have a full and experiential knowledge of fine food in Tokyo. Alas, not so today...

It seems to me, at least, that frequenting "nice and cosy" French restaurants is a consumation devoutly to be wished, if not actualized. So it was with considerable anticipation that we toddled off to Bistrot Quotidien for a slightly celebratory dinner. And "nice and cosy" it certainly is.

Actually, it is rather nice and perhaps a little less cosy. All menus list as Prix Fixe, which is delightfully Gallic but slightly boring and perhaps inadventurous. One can understand Chef Ryosuke Sudo's thinking here, with an earnest desire to replicate the neighbourhood bistros one finds all over Paris. The desired goal is an intimate relationship between establishment and customer, with the time invested by both parties in the relationship rewarded with warm trust and a "reliability". To borrow a phrase, M. Sudo seeks to create joren (regular customer; regular patron; frequenter).

He has succeeded, at least with this humble diner. Bistrot Quotidien is not a sanatorium for OL; it is not beset by gaggles of giggles like so many other newer establishments in Tokyo. The table layout is relaxed and assured, and service model is designed not to encourage any greater capacity than exists at present. Every move is designed for calm efficiency, at least when requested in Japanese. Having opened the week before the tragic events of 3/11, one imagines there has been plenty of time to get things right while Tokyo got itself back on its feet.

The wine list is similarly well structured, stepping one through the main appelations with a welcome clarity of purpose and no complicated journeys into dead ends or cul-de-sacs. In fact, for amateurs like Your Humble Correspondent the journey here is familar and free from dragons. We enjoyed a pleasant little Champagne, some mouthsome Sancerre and a Chateauneuf-de-Pape that added immediately to the atmosphere.

The cooking is what you expect from a venue with these sort of ambitions, and the Gagnaire influence is strong. We thoroughly enjoyed every course, served with relish and alacrity, and loads of happiness and warmth.

Visit Bistrot Quotidien when you need some comfort and friendliness. Do please become a joren, because then we'll meet more often ....

Pip! Pip!
Bistrot Quotidien2F Azabu Juban 3-9-2, Minato-Ku, Tokyo t:03-6435-3241
Rating: Food: 7/10; Everyday-ness: 7/10; Service: 7/10; Ambiance: 7/10; Price-Performance: 7/10. Total: 36550 (3 Forks)

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