3-6-34 Moto-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan

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As so often with Tokyo restaurants, this is not easy to find. It is in a quiet residential road in an up-market part of Roppongi. To get in you have to go through the door of what looks like a residential apartment block, because that is precisely what it is. There is a sign (no Romaji) and a closed wooden door. Behind this is a low, unmarked corridor. Walk down this and you will be in the restaurant. There are two small rooms, ours with a wooden counter with just eight seats, with the kitchen visible behind. Chefs work at the counter in front of you as you eat, which is interesting to watch as they grate wasabi or demonstrate their knife skills (e.g. slicing wafer thin pieces of lime with a knife that looks like its primary purpose is to disembowel cattle). Meticulous attention to presentation is apparent.

There is no menu; a string of dishes just appear, as so often in Tokyo restaurants. There is a wine list though, with the wine labels displayed one page at a time in a thick book, which also lists sake. Louis Roederer NV champagne is JPY 1,200, Cristal 2000 at JPY 45,000, Ridge Monte Bello 1997 at JPY 37,000, Opus One 2002 at JPY 38,000, and the lists extends to more rarefied territory such as Mouton Rothschild 1970 at JPY 71,000.

We began with pieces of cold white fish (sorry, no translation here) in a jelly, served with a dish of pickled vegetables (including cucumber) with a little hot chili sauce and a cold broth of further vegetables including watershield. I didn't find this particularly appealing but it was beautifully presented in three little trays on a larger tray covered with ice, the bowls artfully decorated with leaves.  I find this hard to mark but objectively maybe 15/20.

Next was the seasonal baby sea trout, deep fried, that we tried several times this week. Here a pair of fish was presented intertwined, topped with a single small leaf an unidentifiable dish of a green-coloured sauce (some sort of Japanese herb I did not recognise, but vaguely like parsley) on the side. The fish itself has a distinct flavour, the heads in particular having a bitterness that at first seems jarring, but I actually got used to. I score this 16/20, as the one I had at Ryugin a few days earlier was far superior in both taste and presentation.

Next was a consomme with a little ball of "fishcake" made from shrimp, a single water mushroom, a solitary green bean, a hollow ring of courgette and a spear of white asparagus. Each vegetable was very nicely cooked and retained its texture properly, while the shrimp had excellent flavour (17/20). Next was what I suppose one could view as inverted sushi. A central ball of rice was wrapped with eel skin and seasoned with lime, and then cut into little rolls. This had excellent taste, the eel tasting really fresh. I should also mention the lime, which was unlike any I have encountered. As you squeeze the lime not only do you get an intense lime juice but a wonderful strong lime fragrance - this is the best lime I have ever encountered. 18/20 for the dish.

Next was the tasty tile fish we had eaten at Ryugin earlier in the week, with crispy fish scales given a pleasing texture contrast to the firm flesh of the fish. This was served with asparagus, excellent radish and a slice of the superb lime. The fish was timed just right and the scales were very good, though again Ryugin' version was superior (18/20). Three small pieces of beef (origin undisclosed) were very good, cooked rare and having the buttery taste that comes from good marbling of the beef, though the texture was nothing close to that we had at l'Osier a few days ago; this was served simply with wasabe (16/20). Finally there was a soup of tofu skin and aubergine, not my favourite ingredients but well made (15/20)

A very refreshing dessert was a mango jelly with creme anglaise, the mango of very high quality (18/20). after this was a red bean paste with green tea sorbet, which actually tasted pretty good despite my general aversion to this dish (15/20).

In the kitchen are six chefs working that I could see, serving 15 customers. Service was excellent, helpful and friendly. Overall this was a very enjoyable meal. There are elements of the meal I probably didn't appreciate properly, but I can see why this is well regarded by Michelin. The bill was JPY 53.582 for two people, mainly food at JPY 26,000 each, plus some beer.

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User comments

  • esgprice

    We went to Kenda in the beginning of March 2013. Allow me to start with a comment that even I expected a simple interior I was surprised when I entered in the restaurant which is really simple with no atmosphere. We agreed over the phone upon the arrival for a 15.000 YEN menu (no wine included). There were 8 very courses - small portions of fish and seasonal vegetables. There were two or three dishes (bites)of interesting taste (mostly row fish). Even the price was relatively low compering to 3 star restaurants in Europe I had the impression that it was a rip off. Also service was very average and at the end, around 22:30, a waiter asked if we need a taxi, so we understood that we were kicked out. We (2 persons) paid 48.000 YEN, which was 400 EUR at the time of the visit for the menu, one bottle of the cheapest Japanese wine thy had and 2 glasses of average champagne.

  • David W

    I ate here in March 2009. We enjoyed the meal, but more out of interest's sake than taste. The service was good, and the chef spoke reasonable English so could explain what we were eating - which was a big benefit! For me it was too expensive (about £150 per head for food) so I won't be returning. Maybe if the Yen/£ goes back to 240 then I could be tempted.

  • Vanessa

    I spent two weeks and Japan and did a grand chelem of the best restaurants in Tokyo. I had a fantastic evening at Kanda and the pleasure to speak to the chef in french during the dinner as he worked in Paris. All the dishes were very orginal while using the seasonal ingredients available such as hamo and ayu in July. The wine list was quite extensive and reflected the fact that the Chef spent time in France. It was a memorable evening with delicious food complemented by a lovely chat with the Chef.