Tokyo, September 2017 – This year, I chose to celebrate my birthday at L’Effervescence (#12 Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, 2 Michelin stars) with Chef du Cuisine, Shinobu Namae at the helm. This discrete establishment is located off the side streets near Roppongi.
The menu’s theme was “Terroir – Where the ocean meets the land” – East meets West using the finest Japanese ingredients.
Despite having a slow start due to the sommelier’s inability to locate our wine selections (twice, both sold out), the manager sped up the service for our dishes to a comfortable pace.
Hello – Mackerel, beetroot/ muscat and sudachi
Just like the Apple Pie #29 – Sea urchin, conger eel, seaweed
Apple Pie #29 had a delicious filling and its red paper box reminds one of McDonald’s equally famous apple pie.
South Wind – Kuruma prawn poached in whey, cucumber and yuzu vinaigrette
A Fixed Point – 4 hours cooked Tokyo turnip, parsley, Basque ham & brioche
The sous vite radish is Chef Namae’s signature dish, and one can see why. The radish retained its juicy interiors although its skin was burnt.
Vitality – Pike conger charcoaled grilled and fig, daikon, sansho pepper and white miso
Migration – Chilled sweet corn soup and cultured milk, mole negro
The sweet corn soup was cream, cold and refreshing, but I found the mole negro too pungent.
Grandma’s taste – Tiny chawan-mushi, turban shell, hatsuka radish rice bran marinated.
Distinctly Japanese and a staple in Japanese culinary world. The chawan-mushi hit home with its beautiful custard texture.
Through the Forest/ Memory of Hunting – Summer venison roast and mussel, myoga, eggplant , shiso, rhubarb
For me, the venison was by far the best dish of the night. The deer usually eats grass in the summer whereas deer eats dried leaves in the winter; hence affecting the flavor of venison meat. Sandwiching the venison between Shiso leaves was a genius idea…the aromatic shiso leaves enhanced the already grassy flavor of the meat.
East & West – Cheese or Vegetable
The cheese plate was probably the weakest dish in the entire course menu that evening. There was just nothing very special about it.
Little Rest under a Tree – Melon, yoghurt, Japanese big leaf magnolia, coffee
The disappointing element in this dessert was the must melon, which wasn’t very sweet. The yoghurt, being sour, needed to be countered by the overly sweetness of must melon, but that was the missing link here.
Little Nap in the Meadow – Peach, mugwort, goat milk
This dessert was also disappointing in both its taste and presentation. It lacked sophistication.
Mignardises, Matcha, “World Peace”
The mignardises were very dainty and nicely presented; perhaps this was the saving grace for the desserts.
At the end, the manager performed a tea ceremony and served us a bowl of Matcha and a small glass of peanut milk, which tasted like an overly sweet eggnog (without the liquor).
Overall, it was an interesting meal, though I must say that the savory dishes were more impressive and delectable than the desserts.
L’Effervescence – www.leffervescence.jp
All photos were taken by Mrs. King.