Rice puff and Nagasaki bottarga
11, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0041
About the chef: Yosuke Suga spent 17 years working with world-renowned chef Joël Robuchon. Beginning as his personal assistant, Suga moved through the ranks and eventually became the executive chef of L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Tokyo. He went on to help launch L'Atelier outlets in New York, Taipei and Paris.
The space: Stepping into Sugalabo feels like entering a friend’s sleek home kitchen tricked out with all the latest gadgets. The restaurant, divided between a dining counter, one large table, and a small private dining room, offers just 20 seats.
Getting in: Eating out in Tokyo can be tricky for visitors due to Japan’s culture of introduction-only dining: some restaurants only accept reservations from guests who know, or have a connection to, the chef. Sugalabo is precisely that. For those who gain entry, the next step is to find the actual restaurant, located in Tokyo’s Azabudai neighbourhood. Look for a sign that reads Orange Coffee; the restaurant lies directly behind it.
Ingredient exploration: Sugalabo’s days of operation are anything but regular. That’s because Suga takes monthly trips throughout Japan to search for new, inspiring ingredients, tableware and tools. When he’s on the road, the restaurant closes.
New to the team: Kazutoshi Narita, former pastry chef at Tokyo’s venerated French fine dining haunt Esquisse, and winner of Asia’s Best Pastry Chef 2017, recently signed on to helm sweets at Sugalabo. This isn’t the first time the two chefs have collaborated: years ago, Narita and Suga worked together at Joël Robuchon in New York, Taipei and Tokyo.
Images: Yohei Murakami