[Italy: Milan] 1* Tokuyoshi - Contaminated Italian Cuisine

Rating: ❤❤❤❤1/2 (4.5/5)

 After Turkey, we continued our trip in Italy and our first stop was Milan! My favorite meal there was at 1 Michelin-starred Ristorante Tokuyoshi which serves “Contaminated Italian Cuisine” by Japanese chef Yoji Tokuyoshi (whom I had the pleasure of meeting at an OAD event in Copenhagen 2 years ago). After working 10 years for Massimo Bottura at Osteria Francescana, the chef left to open his own restaurant in Milan where he brings together his Japanese heritage with Italian cuisine. At first I was confused as to why he chose the term “contaminated” but after trying his food I finally understood that it was not simply a fusion of 2 cuisines but much more than that. Its website states that "Each and every dish has distinctive Italian tastes and aromas while their presentation is colored by Japanese culture and heritage." I had some of the most creative and intriguing dishes at Tokuyoshi and I think it’s a must-try when you are in Milan. For people who live in Asia, you may be glad to know that he has opened Table by Tokuyoshi in Taipei! When I asked him about the concept of his new restaurant, the chef said that that initially he wanted to serve that same food that he serves in Milan but ended up having to tone it down to suit the local market, so keep that in mind if you do pay a visit. 

When you make a reservation here, you can choose between sitting at a counter or at a table. While I had chosen the counter initially because I thought I would get to watch the chef cook, the kitchen wasn't really open in configuration so I ended up sitting at a table instead which was more comfortable. The chef said that he plans to renovate in the near future so that he can have an open kitchen. 

Having spent 10 years in Modena, we were bound to see some influences from there so we were served bread and brown butter made with ingredients from Modena. 

The restaurant provides several different tasting menus and while most restaurant requires that you choose the same menu at one table, it wasn't the case here so J and I each got a different menu to try - the classic "Italy Meets Japan" and the new "Color Contamination". We then started off our meal with a selection of amuse bouche including Sicilan Cannolo filled with creamy cod, "Grandma Lucia's Tart" with aubergine, tomato and Parmesan cheese, Liquid Pizza alla Marinara, Scampi Roots and Vegetable Tears. The vegetable tears had an interesting back story - the chef wanted to be more sustainable and made this broth using the skin of vegetables which are usually thrown away.

As we started our courses, every dish was paired with a liquid element served on the side to signify harmony and unity between the two different cultures. 

Anna 2017 #tokuyoshi - Organic Mixed Vegetables with Soy Maionese & Flower

Red - Crab "a la Catalane"

Scarpetta - Turbot with Saffron, Shrimps, Herbs and Tomato Sauces. This colorful dish made me realize how much the chef likes to play with sauces and when I went to Osteria Francescana a few days later, I think I found out where he may have gotten that from. 

Black & White - Gyotaku Mackerel. I loved this unique plating which was inspired by the traditional Japanese method of printing fish used by fishermen to record their catches. The mackerel was stuffed with scallops and herb mousse before adding finishing touches with fennel ashes and squid ink. 

We then got a special preview of a new dish that will be available on the New Year's Eve menu - Play with Furikake! We were told to dip our fingers into the broth so we can coat them with furikake (dried Japanese seasoning), eat the anago cutlet, and lick our fingers afterwards. Not only was it fun and playful, the anago cutlet was simply out of this world and finger-licking good!

The pasta courses came next and both of them were a real treat with a sound foundation in pasta but with creative flavors. 

White - Spaghetti Tribute to Noto with almond milk, clams and pistachio

Head or Tail - Veal Tongue & Monk Fish Tail. The plating here was simply gorgeous and I was told that the plates used in this restaurant are all specially designed. The contrasting textures and flavors made for an interesting dish but I did find the sauce for the veal tongue to be a bit salty for me - a commonality for the rest of the meat dishes here. 

Yellow - Mellowbone & Saffron Risotto 

Tsukune - Duck Meat Rolled in Signature Furikake

Purple - Venison with Purple Potatoes and White Truffles. Flavors-wise I wasn't sure that this worked for me but I was definitely in love with this hue of purple.

Suckling Pig in the Forest - Cinta Senese "Urbevertus" breed

Green - Pigeon with Chanterelle and Porcini Mushrooms, Taiwanese Pepper and Herbs

Almond Granita and Zibabbo Jelly as our palate cleanser

Concrete & Earth which signifies how ripe fruit falls to the ground

Pink - Mountain Rosa & Fossil

We were stuffed at this point so we had to take our Petit Fours home and they still tasted great the next morning!

Thank you Chef Tokuyoshi for the amazing meal and hospitality!

Ristorante Tokuyoshi

Via S. Calocero, 3, 20123 Milano MI, Italy
Tel: +39 02 8425 4626

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