Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Aoyama Esaki @ Hills Aoyama, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo - 青山えさき @ ヒルズ青山, 東京都渋谷区

Cuisine: Japanese (Kaiseki in modern/innovation style)
Price: JPY6,500 per person without alcohol (what we paid for)
Visited: 11 July 2014
Food: 9/10
Atmosphere: 8/10
Value for money: 8/10
Services: 9/10
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

This is probably the cheapest 3-Michelin Stars restaurant you can find. Aoyama Esaki by Shintaro Esaki (江﨑新太郎), located at the basement level of Hills Aoyama, has priced his menu very moderately with lunch set at the price of JPY5,500 (plus 5% service charge) for 6 courses and 2 dinner sets at JPY11,000 and JPY14,000 (plus 10% service charge) for 7 courses and 8 courses respectively. Of course, range of menu does get changed from time to time.

The style of Esaki is traditional Japanese as the base but with some twist of inspiration and creativity. Deadly Bunny was lucky enough to have booking for lunch. Hence, the meal would comprise of 6 courses of delicacy. The place is simply decorated in Japanese style with mainly cherry wood based furnitures. For travelling here, it is rather straight forward: with only approx. 500 meters walking from Gaienmae station (Ginza line).

Aoyama Esaki @ Hills Aoyama, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

entrance to the floor B! of Esaki

simple cherry wood furniture in Japanese style

6-courses lunch menu

The first course to arrive was octopus, uni, tomato soup, and asparagus (7/10). The feeling of this dish was about the balance of lightness and thickness. The tomato soup and asparagus played the role of lightness and freshness of the nature. While the creamy uni and structured octopus were the heavier part. This was a good dish to start but still lacked the wow-factor. The second was the hirame sashimi (8/10). Simply fresh and nice. Thinly sliced. A good preparation for next heavier dish. Perhaps, it does not have to be top sushi restaurant to serve good sashimi.

1. octopus, uni, tomato soup, and asparagus

the creamy uni

mini tomato soup

2. hirame sashimi

This was then followed by ayu fish soup (10/10). This may be the star of the meal. The soup was thick and creamy. It was packed with explosion of flavour. Would not mind at all to have more of this soup. At this point, a heavier dish arrived: snapper in Japanese plum sauce with radish and sushi rice (8/10). It was a more fulfilling dish but at milder taste to break from thick flavour of ayu fish. The snapper, which was enhanced with plum sauce, was so fresh and soft. Sushi rice with addition of edamame was as well savoury.

3. ayu fish soup

4. snapper in Japanese plum sauce with radish and sushi rice

Last but not least, before dessert, corn fried rice and miso soup (9/10) appeared. Ok, this may look really simple and nothing but just rice and corn. But it was a wow and really pleasant. The corn was so sweet and of high quality. When combined with starchy texture of fried rice, it was such a perfect compliment. There was also herbal tea served before the arrival of dessert for cleansing palate. The dessert of the meal was watermelon fused vanilla ice-cream with red bean paste (8/10). The texture was like milkshake with watermelon and vanilla flavour. Red bean paste then gave the third dimension to the overall picture. This was such a delightful dessert with cool and refreshing touch as if Esaki was preparing customers for summer heat outside the restaurant.

Well, apart from the superb apprentice of Chef Shintaro Esaki, the overall service of Aoyama Esaki was as well exceptional. If you are thinking of visiting Aoyama Esaki, please be reminded that the place is pretty small with around 20+ seats. So, do book in advance if you do not want to be disappointed.

5. corn fried rice and miso soup

herbal tea

6. watermelon fused vanilla ice-cream with red bean paste

red bean paste filling

Aoyama Esaki @ Hills Aoyama, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo - 青山えさき @ ヒルズ青山, 東京都渋谷区
Floor B1, Hills Aoyama
3-39-3 Jingumae
Shibuya 150-0001

Open Hours: for dinner from 06:00pm - 11:00pm (last order at 09:30pm) daily and for lunch on Saturday from 12:00pm - 02:00pm (last order at 01:30pm)
Tel: +81 3 3408 5056

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