French Cuisine only at ESqUISSE in Tokyo
One of the first restaurants I have to personally recommend is ESqUISSE in Ginza. The French cuisine here is one of it’s kind and hold’s a special place in my heart, which is why I am writing this. At the same time, one can argue that this applies to all the posts on cinq. I guess it can’t be helped when we have all these foodies on cinq who all share the same passion, but various tastes.
ESqUISSE first opened in 2012 and Chef Executive Lionel Beccat from Cuisine [s] Michel Troisgros joined to spearhead this new project. Chef Patisserie is Kazutoshi Narita who worked at Joel Robuchon restaurants globally, while Manager and Chef Sommelier Eiji Wakabayashi is a reknown Japanese sommelier. With three stars brought together, there was much anticipation from the gourmet world.
Yet, the three stars quietly and progressively worked towards a common objective, which was to deliver an experience where customers can enjoy their time and meal at ESqUISSE. I was very fortunate to have been allowed to enter the kitchen premises from time and time again to witness the creations first hand. This is very much Chef Lionel’s style. A amicable person and open to people anytime.
As it is the case with many chefs, Chef Lionel’s cuisine is original and genuine. There are also many non-Japanese chefs who use Japanese ingredients, but Chef Lionel tries to understand the terroir, the history, and the people, which is reflected in his cuisine. Even as a Japanese, I am astounded by his curiosity and level of his understanding. For instance he pairs Japanese chestnuts with sea urchin, cod roe milt with orange, among many other ingredients. The Japanese have been eating similar combination of ingredients put together and in a way this is a refreshing pairing that actually works, tastes wonderful, and teaches us new things.
“Whatever that comes out from the kitchen door, eat as you wish with content.”
Chef Lionel says this with grace, laughter, and confidence as he pursues his endless quest for perfection.
Lionel Beccat was born in Corsica, France and raised in Marseille, surrounded by the Mediterranean, series of mountains. In a way it is quite similar to the landscape of Japan with the sea, mountains, and forests. The ingredients that are available to him then and now aren’t as different as one might think. Lionel respects the Japanese ingredients, the way it has been eaten, and creates something new that has not been offered anywhere else in the world.
In addition, he will also integrate the top ingredients from France and offer a completely new experience. Once I tried the foie gras here, my understanding and experience of it was taken to new level.
What is unique about Lionel’s cuisine is his incorporation of citrus fruits. In terms of volume, Japan has more citrus varieties than the Mediterranean and Lionel takes great interest as reflected through the aromas from his dishes. Even after biting into it and letting the palate sink in, the aromas continue to linger.
Elegant and sexy is Patisserie Narita’s modus operandi. Never compromising to the point of stubbornness, he strives for perfection in his creations. His desserts are not just pure beauty, but well calculated in sweetness and occasionally pushing the boundaries of what chocolate should taste like. Moreover, he bakes bread in the morning and afternoon so that they can be served for the lunch and dinner courses.
Finally, the quality and selection of wine at ESqUISSE is extraordinarily high. Even with an abundance of experience, Sommelier Wakabayashi did mention that it was at first difficult to pair wines with Chef Lionel’s dishes due to the aromatic flavors from the dishes and the amount of dishes he had to offer. Yet, he is still the one most capable of elevating the cuisine to new heights with his wine selections (occasionally sake).
Although I wasn’t able to cover all there is to ESqUISSE, it ended up being quite long. ESqUISSE is one place I adore and highly recommend. It is certainly worth the experience.
Writer:Miyuki / Translator:Kenta
- Address :
- 9th floor, Royal Crystal Bldg, 5-4-6, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
- Phone :
- Hours :
- Sun-Mon 12:00-13:00 (L.O.), Mon-Sat 18:00-20:30 (L.O.)
- Info :
- They offer only 'Menu spontané' chef's choice course.
Lunch : from 11,000 yen (tax included)
Dinner : from 19,000 yen (tax included)
*a glass of Champagne and Mineral Water included.
*12% service charged.