Tokyo is a foodie city. You don’t have to take my word for it – just go ask Michelin. Tokyo eateries have more Michelin stars now than Paris, a virtual coup in the culinary world.
Thankfully, though , a Michelin star doesn’t have to mean an extravagent, thousand dollar meal anymore. Last week, I booked a table at the gastronomic temple of L’Effervescence in Nishi-Azabu, Tokyo. The chef trained in France, the meal includes foie-gras and lobster … yet it was all attainable for the common man at the affordable price of ¥4800.
L’Effervescence offers two basic lunch menus of five-six courses (¥4800) and one longer course at ¥7500. There’s nothing skimpy about the basic courses and – there being two of us – I had the chance to taste both. The menus are whimsical, both in description and presentation. In my choice (a menu titled “near the ranch”), succulent shrimp rested on a bed of pea and yogurt puree with chrysanthemum flowers, calling to mind thoughts of spring; on the oppostite end of the seasonal spectrum, my chocolate and pumpkin mousse biscuits were lined up like dominos. Like autumn leaves, they fell – albeit with a little aid from me! – into a swirl of curry sauce with apple highlights.
While my menu was very good, my mother’s (titled “through the pathway”) took the cake. Her sea scallop, raised to perfect tenderness over three years in Hokkaido’s frosty waters, was the opening dish and I was doubtful it could get better from there. But her main course – a playful take on an upside down apple pie – combined the most amazing flavors of lobster, foie-gras and red-wine stewed chicken. I wanted to steal her plate and never give it back. I wanted to lick every last crumb from the cutlery. Suffice to say, I thought it was good.
Nothing about our experience even hinted at the snobby, stuffy atmosphere usually associated with Michelin-starred restaurants. And just to completely and thoroughly banish that notion from my head, our final tea/coffee snack consisted of a hollowed out chocolate “lollipop” filled with pop rocks. Explosive. Shocking. Hilarious. And tasty. The perfect way to sum up L’Effervescence.
Want to try L’Effervescence’s amazing cuisine for yourself? Book an Uncover Japan Samurai Itinerary and I’ll snag you a seat at this gem of a restaurant.