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Monday, February 14, 2011

Secret dining in Tokyo

Hitokuchi (amuse bouche)
Infusion of kumquat
Zensai (appetisers)
Japanese yam (jinenjyo)
Mullet roe dust on grilled cod sperm sacks, prawn and Chinese cabbage
Sashimi (sliced raw seafood)
Sashimi of flatfish with juice pressed from bitter oranges
Sashimi of white sweet shrimp with konbu seaweed
Sashimi of seared mackerel with wasabi  
Wan (soup)
Yakumo Saryo custom-made laquer bowl.
(For sale at a price of €700/$950/£590 each)
Broth with wild duck and burdock root
Aemono (small dish)
Dressed komatsuma sprout with sesame
Kisetsu-mono (seasonal plate)
Simmered giant Kyoto daikon
Shiizakana ("small dish served with sake")
Snow crab with tosa vinegar jelly
Shushai (main course)
Grilled red tilefish garnished with scallion
and shiitake mushrooms flavoured with yuzu citrus
Chefs preparing the red tilefish in our private dining room
Red tilefish served!
Gohan (rice course)
Gohan: Steamed rice with scallop and sea urchin,
miso soup with clams, pickles
Kuchi-Naoshi (palate cleanser)
Persimmon granite
Mizumono (dessert)
Pastry chef explaining the different coloured "doughs"
used to make Japanese desserts
The art of making Japanese pastries, a bit like heart surgery
The result: Japanese pastry made from beans (we think)
More's taking a while...
And another beautiful weird little pastry. Again, think it's made from beans
Matcha (green tea)
Entrance through the Japanese garden to the villa
LOCATION: Yakumo Saryo, 3-4-7 Yakumo Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-0023
CATEGORY: Japanese Kaiseki style dinner, secret dining club
DRINK: Too much sake from the sake pairing, too little sparkling water
WE THINK: Finding an address in Tokyo is notoriously difficult given the lack of street names and a house numbering system that defies logic. Finding a secret dining club in a Tokyo residential neighbourhood is therefore no joke. Luckily, a white-clad chef holding a flashlight came running towards our taxi as we approached the location of Yakumo Saryo, an old-school Japanese villa that looks like someplace a feudal lord would live. We were escorted through the house to our private dining room, passing a few other rooms and hardly-visible secret guests. The interior design is very minimalistic with light woods, grey granite and custom-designed bowls, plates and crockery throughout. We sat down for a traditional kaiseki style dinner and a sake pairing; the latter so abundant that by the end of the dinner we were unable to focus on the desserts and therefore left with no recollection of what they were made of. The food was very good but didn't blow our minds apart from: the deliciously buttery sweet shrimp sashimi and the simple yet spectacular slow-cooked daikon.
OUR TIPS: No. 1: Make friends with the chef during dinner as this may lead to him giving you his business card with the all-important phone number so you can get a reservation next time you want to go to Yakumo Saryo (or just make you feel important). No. 2: When checking out the display of Yakumo Saryo's special-designed bowls for sale, don't ask to buy one without checking the price first. One of the cheapest pieces, the above-pictured laquer bowl, will set you back $950.


  1. that looks $$$$$$

  2. How do you get a reservation to eat at Yakumo Saryo???????

  3. we had an insider book it for us, so i'm not entirely sure. if you speak japanese, check out their website (link above) - think there is information on how to book.
    good luck!

  4. "One of the cheapest pieces, the above-pictured laquer bowl, will set you back $950."
    It's ¥950. Their pieces are very reasonably priced.


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