Monday, 22 May 2017

Sublime - In a word...

For those in the "business", Gentle Reader, there are certain signs at a restaurant which invariably indicate that one should flee immediately. Carpet sufficiently thick to muffle the screams of the diners, mirrors that retchingly reflect back garish pinks and purples, or floor to ceiling windows that signal the patronage is more on display than the food. One should never have to dine cognitoOr names: Mama's Italian (because it's not), Fong's Sushi, or anything with Kimchi in the title. Or words like Bombay, Goulash, or European. Clear claxons signaling despair and disappointment.

Sublime in Shinbashi (soon to be Azabu Juban) is very much an exception. Owner 
Eiichi Yamada could have just as easily named it "Exquisite", "Spectacular", or "Magnificent", except this particular nomen is exactly descriptive and a promise delivered.

Glad to follow Jay Rayner's Ten (food) Commandments, Your Humble Correspondent recently visited 
Sublime with two tall and elegant gentlemen celebrating birthdays and a beautiful lady celebrating the company. 

At every turn, one finds oneself reaching for superlatives to describe the cuisine, the carte de vin, and the service. One knows one's in a foodie temple when all the staff exude sheer joy from just having a part to play, and when the menu is an invitation rather than an examination. There is only a single course offered, although allergies and dislikes are well catered for as well.

Chef Junichi Kato is a playful and entirely compleat genius, time shifted from Versailles to Tokyo yet also remarkably skilled at contemporary tastes and techniques that leave his fortunate patrons equally amazed yet anticipating what is coming next. The produce on display is allowed to both surprise and perform, and the plating is worthy of curation. His menu is determined daily, and reflects detailed seasonality (think 72 of them!) as well as exuberant freshness.

Your Humble Correspondent is in awe of a wine list that reflects excellence and informed eccentricity yet does not tip over into avarice in pricing. One's current fetish with Jura was adequately satisfied, as was a need for effervescent sustenance with rarer cuvees.

Service is simultaneously refined and informed, and we were thankfully spared the agony of knowing the servers' names and preferences. Chef himself journeyed several times table-wards, with tantalizing snippets of information that were brief yet sufficient. Every member of the service team was knowledgeable, efficient, and idiosyncratic in the best possible sense of the word.

Our time was far too brief (a mere 2.5 hours!) yet unrushed and remarkably satisfying. Your Humble Correspondent has not dined this well since - well, a few venues but still ... 
Sublime won its first Michelin star in 2016, but there is no doubt that it will continue to collect accolades in the same way a lissome maiden collects admirers.

One should rush to Sublime with close friends or lovers, as this is a consummation designed to delight and engage so there is little time for frivolous dalliance with "business". And should you see a golem gnashing outside, at least share the photographs!

Pip Pip!

SublimeB1F Roigent Bldg, Shimbashi 5-7-7, Minato-Ku, 03-3578-8831
Rating: Food: 9/10; Sublimity: 9/10; Service: 9/10; Ambiance:8/10; Price-Performance: 8/10.
Total: 43/50 (4 Forks)

Monday, 10 April 2017

The review you don't want to get ...

Many of you know, Gentle Reader, that Your Humble Correspondent refrains from posting negative reviews. Not so Jay Rayner at The Guardian. 

This one would dent the hardest ego:


Pip Pip!

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Gaudichot - Izakaya Vin branches out!

You may have, Gentle Reader, read a previous post from many, many years ago about the extraordinary Izakaya Vin (IV) near Shibuya Station. Although the master has since passed away, it remains a wonderful and exquisite outpost in sarariman Dogenzaka that deserves your love and patronage. The son and heir is doing a splendid job and Madame still rules the roost with an iron hand.

Fast forward then to 2017, when on a whim Your Humble Correspondent searched for IV on Tabelog and discovered that said establishment had branched out to Ebisu - much to the relief of many wearied daily travellers no doubt! Egad! 

This fact alone was sufficient to have YHC eager to sally forth and try Gaudichot [Maptogether with some feisty food and wine patrons who were not likely to hold back in judgement or appetite. So he went ...

While the location is a little counter-intuitive for the first-time visitor, venture up the stairs to the former Bistro Escalier (so named for obvious reasons) and visit with the ebullient mine-host Ms. Enomoto. She is a well-trained and extremely knowledgeable sommelier - remember though that a somm's job is to sell wine and she's very good at it.

The menu regales you with a veritable landscape of French comfort foods from terrines and pates through to salads and lamb. Choosing only one would be a mistake, Gentle Reader, so best to toddle over there with at least one companion in order to stress-test the Chef. Each of these dishes has been well and truly road-tested at IV, and each comes with YHC's recommendation. Trust me, all are delicious and circumference-building.

The wine list is mainly ... French, but with items well within the reach of every purse except that of your impecunious correspondent. At the same time, each bottle or glass comes with a story fit for your ears and Mistress Enomoto is an excellent host with a smile and an eye-twinkle that would gladden even the saddest heart.

Visit Gaudichot with friends and rowdy characters, and settle in for a clear spell of wine fun. And should you spot a shady character offering to wash glasses, then do spot me a wink and nod, what-ho!

Pip Pip!

Gaudichot1-13-11 Ebisu-Minami, Minato-ku t: 03-6303-3910 
Rating: Food: 7/10; Commuter-Friendliness: 8/10; Service: 7/10; Ambiance:7/10; Price-Performance: 8/10.
Total: 37/50 (3 Forks)