Den - Tokyo, Japan
Speaking of timing, when I think Japan punctuality comes to mind. This wasn't faring well with the current 15 minute delay to the restaurant despite repeated e-mail notices to respect the reservation time. Contrary to concern, reception by whole team at Den was genuinely warm and happy to host as they all boasted a welcoming cheer (This would explain their award for best hospitality team in Asia for 2017 as per Asia's 50 Best list). As you can see from the photos below, counter seating, again, is the place to be in Japan. Den's reputation proceeded itself as I had watched a dinning abroad show featuring the restaurant years before and it was surreal to be there myself. At the time that I Dined There, Den was rated #45 on The World's Best Restaurants list and #11 on Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list. Since then it has earned the highest climber award and is #17 on the world list & #2 on Asia's.
Two Michelin star Chef Zaiyu Hasegawa's kaiseki is intended to makes guests feel like they are dinning at his home by incorporating a deeply personal take on his home-style cooking. His diverse influences were developed during his travels over seas and his 11 year tenure in the kitchen of a ryotei (a luxurious traditional Japanese restaurant) where his mother worked as a geisha. At Den the playful presentation is supported by culinary skill to deliver the a modern tasting menu made up of small complex dishes. In the end though, cooking is all about fun for Chef Hasegawa. Enjoy the fun and intricate dishes in Chef's tasting menu below.
*Monaka is a Japanese sweet wafer
Yes, that's Chef himself on the dish presentation.
*Warabi is a Fern Plant
Like many of the restaurants in Japan Chef was happy to say hello and despite limited English spare some time to chat and even introduce his dog, which follows him everywhere. Chef Hasegawa makes it clear that he truly enjoys preparing his home cooking from the heart with the sole purpose & intent to make his customers happy and leave with a smile. I hope my post left you with a smile and perhaps even a craving for some fried chicken? For more information on Den visit www.JimbochoDen.com .
Have a look at another two Michelin star restaurant led by the woman who's taking over the fine Spanish dinning scene in Tokyo, Sant Pau.