Seizan Gaienmae B1F, 2-5-4 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Rising star chef stands out from the crowd with creative French cuisine
In a nutshell: Florilège, meaning anthology in French, is the stage for chef Hiroyasu Kawate’s imaginative modern French cooking. He 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. The restaurant won last year’s One To Watch Award and now makes its debut on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list, proof of its ever-growing popularity.
Chef story: 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 Tokyo’s most famous restaurants, including Quintessence. Florilège opened in 2009 in a backstreet in Minami-Aoyama and moved to a more prominent location in Shibuya in 2015.
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.
Bonus point: The restaurant’s signature dish is sustainable beef carpaccio made with meat from Miyazaki cows that are slaughtered at 13 years old (that’s 4-5 times older than most are when they meet their maker, allowing them to calve five or six times before they go to slaughter). The colourful dish includes beetroot purée, smoked potato purée and a sorbet of red apple.