[Tokyo] Esquisse エスキス - 2 Michelin Star French
After my visit to Cuisine[s] Michel Troigros last time, I was keen to visit the 2* Esquisse whose chef Lionel Beccat had worked at 3* Maison Troisgros in France and headed up 2* Cuisine[s] Michel Troisgros in Tokyo for 6 years before joining Esquisse in 2012. The chef combines modern French techniques and seasonal Japanese ingredients with a focus on pure flavors. The restaurants only offers a Menu Spontane - a “spontaneous” course of dishes created from the chef’s inspiration prepared with seasonal ingredients. Since lunch is a better deal than dinner as the dishes are more or less the same but offered at a cheaper price, we came here for lunch and tried the most expensive lunch set at ¥19,200 which is equivalent to the ¥24,000 dinner set (sans the cheese course). I have to say that reservation here was an absolute breeze as I just called by myself and asked to speak in English - one of the easiest reservations in Japan ever!
The decor of the restaurant was elegant and modest which reminded me of a country house in France so the ambiance was more casual and warmer than a typical fine dining restaurant which I prefer.
Our lunch set actually came with a glass of champagne (which I forgot to take a picture of) so it was a great start of our meal along with this amuse bouche - an interesting combination of clam, mushroom and apple jelly.
The freshly baked bread was delicious with lots of flavor and came with a super fluffy cream cheese and salt in the shape of the letter "E".
The Turnip cooked in chicken soup with kinome (young leafs of sansho pepper) sauce and slice of white truffle was aromatic and delicate, and it reminded me of the signature turnip dish at L'Effervescence which I think is still unbeatable.
This dish must be the prettiest presentation of Shirako (cod milt) ever with cauliflower, endive, black garlic and special pepper from Indonesia. The pan-fried shirako was super creamy and tasted amazingly delicious as well!
The Japanese Kinmedai with butternut pumpkin, carrot puree, blue cheese foam, scallop sauce and yuzu salt was the least impressive dish as the fish tasted just okay while the flavors of the different ingredients didn't really come together for me here.
We had a special treat of Hokkaido Deer served with cacao powder, orange foam, Japanese mushrooms and chestnuts which turned out to be pretty tender with a slight gamy taste.
The first dessert was a colorful shot of Grape Sorbet, vanilla cream and sakura jelly with muscat. It was refreshing and served as a nice palate cleanser before our second dessert.
The pastry chef here Kazutoshi Narita has worked at Robuchon restaurants around the world and his creations are astoundingly gorgeous (to the point where the restaurant has opened up its own dessert bar in Tokyu Plaza Ginza - more on that later!). The Marron with crepes, pumpkin puree, mikan and vanilla ice cream looked like an art work and while I'm not keen on chestnuts personally, the dessert was tasty while flavors were well-balanced.
Lastly we ended our lunch with tea and a delightful selection of petit fours with canele, cake with plum and chocolate ganache with sesame filling. As we were leaving, we were each handed a box of omiyake (souvenirs) from the restaurant which turned out to be more pastries! Our meal at Esquisse turned out to be a lovely experience as the food was impressive while the service was professional and friendly. In terms of French restaurants in Tokyo, I'd rank L'Effervescence over Esquisse but Esquisse over Florilege and Cuisine[s] Michel Troisgros.
Here's a bonus video of my visit to Esquisse Cinq where I tried one of its highly popular Sucre dessert!
9/F, Royal Crystal Plaza, 5-4-6 Ginza Chuo, Tokyo
東京都 中央区 銀座 5-4-6 ロイヤルクリスタル銀座 9Ｆ
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