**The White Fox closed in Oji, reopened in Shinjuku in 2016, and then was forced to close suddenly at the end of August 2016. This was one of my favorite finds in Tokyo and I hope the chef will give it a third try. Follow their website for updates.
A few years ago, I booked a table for my visiting mother and I at L’Effervescence, a French-Japanese restaurant in Tokyo that has recently made the Top 50 Restaurants in Asia list and to this day remains one of my most memorable meals ever. It was in making that reservation that I learned of the Open Table reservation system, which is big in the US but also lists about 100 restaurants in Tokyo as well.
After the success of our meal at L’Effervescence, I spent a few hours perusing the options on Open Table. One that jumped out at me was The White Fox. With a bilingual website and a unique menu of tapas-style plates with Japanese ingredients, prepared by a British chef with experience in some of the world’s top kitchens, it looked like somewhere I needed to hit up.
It took over two years for me to make it to The White Fox and now that I’ve been, I have to admit … I’m irritated it took me that long to taste that food. I feel like my time in Japan is ticking down and I definitely need a return trip to The White Fox before we fly out of here for good.
The menu is “tapas chic”, a term of my own designation since nothing quite encompasses these dishes that mix high-quality ingredients and techniques with shareable plates at an affordable price point. We ordered from both the appetizer and main course section, switching back and forth as the mood suited. Fois gras over aloe vera and raisins, shrimp basted in garlic and herbs, seared curry scallops, duck tataki sushi over almond rice and the best croquettes I have ever had – blue cheese and risotto with a pimiento dipping sauce.
With dinner of such a high caliber, it was awfully hard narrowing down our choice of dessert … so we didn’t. We ended up ordering three. 🙂 Sadly, our last choice was my least favorite – banana and black sesame bavoise with yuzu granité. It was good but not … spectacular.
No, the spectacular dish of the night was my dark chocolate cake with spiced oranges soaked in what could only be a sauce with rum or some other alcoholic beverage. OH SO GOOD. My mother’s black rice pudding with pineapple, ginger and lime was also noteworthy, but nothing was prying that chocolate dish out of my hot little hands.
So what was our bill at the end of the night? A whopping ¥7200, about $70, for the two of us. For five plates and three desserts and this caliber of cooking, it was quite the affordable night. The only downside is the location. The White Fox is steps from the metro station, but that metro happens to be Oji, a bit off the beaten track. Still, Oji is a 9 minute ride up the line from Ueno so it’s not too much of a stretch to squeeze in a lunch or dinner here around sightseeing plans. There are plans to open another, more central, branch in the next year or two so check out The White Fox on facebook for updates.