Tokyo, Japan

An ode to hyper seasonality with a minimalist Scandi spin


On the Pass

Thomas Frebel

A fine dining vet: Inua’s commanding officer Thomas Frebel may look familiar: prior to debuting his inaugural solo project in mid 2018 in Tokyo, he spent a decade heading up research and development for René Redzepi’s Noma, during which period the iconic Copenhagen-rooted restaurant was named The World’s Best Restaurant four times.

What’s the vibe? A stark contract to Tokyo’s many shoebox-sized dining rooms, the spacious, earthy-toned Inua located nine floors up channels a sleek, yet sparse Scandinavian aesthetic that feels at home amongst Japan’s minimalist ideals.

What’s on the plate: An ingredient-driven, fermentation-rich tasting menu honours Japanese seasonality via plates like aged and smoked maitake braised in pine dashi with salted sakura; and seasonal citrus with fermented chili and roasted kelp oil. 

Insider tip: Though Inua offers a rich sake and wine programme, don’t overlook the non-alcoholic drinks pairing. Heavy on seasonal and preserved ingredients, the team creates complexity in its booze-free beverages by layering juices with sweet and savoury notes from a variety of teas and spices. Some refreshments are heavier in flavor like the fermentation-rich rose kombucha infused with wild beach roses from Hokkaido while others are lighter on the palate, such as the grassy-tasting sorrel, lemongrass and passionfruit juice.