Esquisse, meaning “sketch” in French, is more than a name. An artistic theme runs throughout Esquisse, from the bright and airy decor through to the elegant presentation that seems to bear the poetic come and go of things. Opened in Tokyo’s luxury Ginza district in 2012, Esquisse was awarded two Michelin stars five months after opening. Deeply influenced by Japanese philosophy, Lionel Beccat’s cooking is about changing the way of thinking and creative growth, leaving guests to define his dishes. For me, Esquisse is undoubtedly one of the iconic restaurants to visit in Tokyo.
Kawate is clear in his goals and bold in his approach, especially in the early focus on sustainability before the market took it as a trend. His signature 'sustainability beef' carpaccio is taken from the meat of mature, 13-year-old breeding cows from Takasaki, which was an avant-garde dish at the time. Now Kawate's pursuit of sustainability is even more evident. Not the first of its kind in Japan, Florilège is an intimate experience set around a counter where the chefs cook everything right in front of the guest, with full attention to detail to provide top-notch hospitality. The space is far more spacious than it looks in the photos. It is a theatrical ringside setting where the chef is the star of the show.
Kawada says, Japanese cuisine is about water and Chinese cuisine is about fire. The combination of the two is perfectly interpreted at Sazenka, where Chinese cuisine and kaiseki cuisine meet. He reinterprets Chinese flavours with sublime colours and impeccable aromas, imbued with warm hospitality and authenticity.