Food without memory is just digestion

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Adenia: Passionata!

Imagine for a moment, Gentle Reader, a "neighbourhood" hostelry that prided itself on being a space where the guests were the "main course" and where the food, condiments, and drinks were sort of meant to hover in the background. A splendid idea, what-ho! And that's exactly what Adenia in Hachiyamacho turns out to be. Only a brief stroll from Shibuya yet nestled into a 'gyaru'-free streetscape, the restaurant proudly occupies a single two storey building with aplomb, panache, and perhaps a little braggadocio. There's little else competing for your attention, and the whole area gently strokes the "relax" zones of what passes for a mind into quiet acceptance. The interior is calm and measured, and shows gentle sophistication and elegance.

Actually, Adenia is named after the Passionflower native to Madagascar and Africa and part of the same family as the Passionfruit. One is not quite sure of the inspiration for such a moniker, but it certainly describes well the approach of the team (three makes a team?) at this splendidly interesting restaurant.

Chef Masafumi Irie has wended an interesting path since finally succumbing to the family business of fine food, being firmly bitten by the bug while "studying" in France. After a storied career ending up as sous chef at the New York Grill (Park Hyatt, Shinjuku), he realized that most high-end venues end up cooking for the chef (or worse, for profit) instead of the customer. Thus, he wanted to create a place where good food, good wine, and good company make for a memorable experience. Thus, Adenia.

While not entirely Your Humble Correspondent's cup of tea, Adenia encourages you to share. The portions are generous and the menu dutifully diverse so as to allow a reasonable selection, and Chef is playful and confident enough to ensure that each dish brings with it an accent, un frisson, an unexpected turn. Truth be told, it's probably better to share ...

The wine list is eclectic with a mix of Old and New World treasures at reasonable prices, showing the benefit of Somm Ryo Nishikata's experience at The Oak Door. There is also a so-so list of wines by the glass, but this option has never tickled Your Humble Correspondent's fancy ... seems like such a self-defeating strategy!

But most of all, Adenia is a refuge from madding crowds and a very pleasant way indeed to spend an evening (or two) learning more about food and more about friends.

Pip! Pip!

Adenia: 1-7 Hachiyamacho, Shibuya-ku Tel/Fax: 03-5489-5151
Rating: Food: 8/10; Passion: 8/10; Service: 8/10; Ambiance: 7/10; Price-Performance: 8/10. Total: 39/50 (3 Forks)

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