One to Watch Award 2016, sponsored by Peroni Nastro Azzurro

Florilège, Tokyo, Japan

Cutting-edge modern French cooking expertly intertwined with Japanese culinary traditions

Why go? Chef Hiroyasu Kawate’s star is very much in the ascendancy. His bijou modern French restaurant manages to stand out from the crowd in a city with more than its fair share of ambitious Francophile establishments. Kawate opened Florilège in 2009 in a backstreet in Minami-Aoyama but moved it to a more prominent location in Shibuya last year.

What’s the cooking like? The food at Florilège is very French but also very creative. Kawate plays with temperature and texture and isn’t afraid to combine produce sourced from France with Japanese ingredients. Must-try dishes include the hazelnut meringue and foie gras as well as manjū dumplings stuffed with pigeon and simmered in port wine.

What’s his background? Kawate was born into the restaurant business. His father ran a western-style restaurant and most of his other male relatives are chefs. He made the decision to specialise in French food in high school and spent his formative kitchen years in Paris. He’s also held senior positions in some of Japan’s most famous restaurants, including Quintessence.

What about wine? As you’d expect, the list is mainly French, with a few pages reserved for Japanese wines. Diners can also go for an alternative pairing which features herbal cocktails, infusions of spirits and beer, and even smoked wine.

What’s in the name: Florilège means anthology in French.

Bonus point: The restaurant’s signature dish is beef carpaccio made with meat from Miyazaki cows that are slaughtered at 30 years old (that’s 15 times older than most are when they meet their maker). The meat is served with beetroot purée, smoked potato purée and a sorbet of red apple.

Seizan Gaienmae B1F,
2-5-4 Jingumae,
Shibuya-ku,
Tokyo


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