Hills aoyama B1, 3-39-9 Jingu-mae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan

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Editor's note: Esaki was reportedly moving premises at the end of 2016.

Esaki is in a mainly residential area in Jingu Mae, in the basement of an office building. The restaurant seats just 24 diners and serves traditional Japanese food. The decor is, as often in Japanese restaurants, simple, with a pale pine wood counter, regular tables, some cherry wood beams and marble floor, with an attractive flower display. The chef Shintaro Esaki (born in 1962) trained in various restaurants in Tokyo and Kyoto before opening his own restaurant in 1994.

The first course was one of prawns set in jelly involving egg poached in hot spring water. This was very pleasant, the jelly having good texture and the prawns enjoyable (17/20). Next was soup of sea bream from Ebaraki, the stock of the soup using dashi made from tuna rather than the traditional bonito. The bream was particularly good, better than versions I had eaten in recent days, and the soup was light and garnished with burdock root, lime zest and chives (18/20).

This was followed by sashimi of a particular variety of horse mackerel, from Ise called Island horse mackerel, served with wasabi and soy - this was of very good quality (17/20). Next was a hot dish of lobster from Ohara, served with red yellow and green bell peppers; the lobster was tender and the peppers excellent, having a lot more inherent sweetness than the ones that we are familiar with in the UK (17/20).

At this stage the traditional rice, miso and pickles appeared, in this case the rice enhance by the addition of maitake mushrooms and also the more common shimeji mushrooms; this was pleasant enough, though hardly exciting (15/20). A milk pudding followed, made from eleven different cereals, on top of which was a white wine jelly, and Japanese blueberries. This was really enjoyable, the wine jelly skillfully made and the flavours nicely balanced (18/20).

The bill came to ¥20,727 between three people (£52 per person) for lunch; it would be more expensive in the evening.


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User comments

  • J Edwards

    More modern than a traditional Kaiseki restaurant but the quality of ingredients is not up there with the other top-rated Kaiseki restaurants in Tokyo. I find it hard to understand why this restaurant has 3 Michelin stars. You better be good with chopsticks as in the evening I was served a whole fish on the bone.