Food without memory is just digestion

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Keisuke Matsushima - Oh. My. Goodness.

It's been some time, Gentle Reader, since Your Humble Correspondent (YHC) bored you with his dribblings and scribblings about food in Tokyo. Been a tad busy really, but what ho! ... Time to get one's nose back to the figurative whetstone.

Keisuke Matsushima is apparently a bit of an enfant terrible in the world of French Cuisine, and it is entirely possible that he might have to have so many restaurants (six, with two cooking schools) in so many places simply to avoid the long arm of the critics. But having recently visited the Tokyo flagship with Lord Timothy of Spazio while M. Matsushima was briefly in town, YHC even more humbly admits to having become a convert to this particular sort of terribleness.

The setting is, of course, magnificent. Not in any sense isolated, but apart. One approaches young Keisuke's temple to the cuisine of southern France along a verdant pathway reminiscent of a medieval alleyway, before entering the hallowed halls from a slightly confusing lateral entrance. Table settings are refreshingly elegant, with almost a belle epoque look and feel along with a grand sense of space and style.

Service is a la russe, as befits the venue and the price point. Should you be concerned about languages, Gentle Reader, rest easy as one may choose between Japanese, English and French at least. People are marvellously attentive, and whims seem to be a speciality of M. Matsushima's particular flavor of epicurean philosophy.

There is a selection of set menus to choose from, refreshingly designed to match the size of one's appetite rather than one's wallet. We enjoyed the Menu degustation "Collection" - not cheap and a little of a stretch for your impecunious correspondent, but exquisite value for money. It would be tedious to go through each course (as well as impossible given the state of YHC's memory), but the word you should remember Gentle Reader is "exquisite". Balanced yet imaginative, original and inquisitive, surprising and still familar. The verbal descriptions which accompany each course are engrossing yet concise, recognizing that - sometimes - diners know almost as much as waiters, and that brevity is the soul of wisdom.

The carte has a modest range of impeccably selected wines, although some are obviously there for light relief at six-figure prices. YHC's bubbles-of-choice Duval Leroy is available by the glass.

Keisuke Matsushima is a venue for foodies and lovers, and should not be wasted on tiresome work colleagues. It is one of a very few venues in Tokyo that you should keep as a closely guarded secret. Because, after all, one's own convenience and ease of getting a reservation should be the highest priority for this sort of destination.

And should you get a glimpse of a forlorn figure on the dish-pig stand, you'll know that YHC's tastes exceeded his budget once again.

Pip Pip!

Keisuke Matsushima: 1-4 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku Reservations: 03-5772-2091 t: 03-5772-2151
Rating: Food: 9/10; Epoque-ness: 8/10; Service: 8/10; Ambiance: 8/10; Price-Performance: 7/10.
Total: 40/50 (4 Forks)

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