What’s the setup? For eight years, the Florilège experience took place in Jingumae, with plush counter seating running three sides of a large open kitchen where chef Hiroyasu Kawate and his crew worked. But from July 2023, the chef is moving on from that concept, choosing instead to serve his diners at just one long, communal table surrounding his station. The Florilège experience has always blurred the gap between front and back of house, opening up face-to-face interactions with guests throughout the meal, and the new location puts even more focus on this aspect.
What’s on the menu? Kawate’s focus on hyper-seasonality and his passion for locally sourced ingredients give his cooking a distinctive Japanese accent. Appetisers may include matte-black fritters of eggplant camouflaged against charred timber almost the exact same colour. His signature ‘sustainability beef’ carpaccio is taken from the meat of mature, 13-year-old breeding cows.
The word is spreading: Kawate's growing influence is evidenced by the success of his protégés: Logy’s Ryogo Tahara, Hiro Katayama of The Restaurant fame and Asia’s Best Female Chef 2022, Natsuko Shoji. Florilège itself is consistently climbing the rankings. The stalwart on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list is now claiming its third year in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
No letting up: September 2020 saw the opening of Denkushiflori, a collaboration with Kawate’s friend and long-time fishing pal, chef Zaiyu Hasegawa of Den. Needless to say, it was one of Tokyo’s most anticipated openings of the year.