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 mackerel and blue cheese, squid and fromage blanc, as well as manjū dumplings stuffed with pigeon and simmered in port wine. The restaurant first won the One To Watch Award in 2016 and has remained within the top ten of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list for the last three years.
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 four or five 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.