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Reikasai

Residence B, Roppongi Hills 3F, 6-12-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan

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This unusual Chinese restaurant is in the Roppongi Hills complex, upstairs within a small block of flats imaginatively called Residence B. Finding the entrances to restaurants in Tokyo is rarely easy, but this places takes it to a new level by operating under a pseudonym. In the otherwise excellent Roppongi Hills directory, this is listed under an entirely different name: "Emperor li Family Cuisine" instead of Reikasai. The person I spoke to seemed entirely aware of this discrepancy, but I had the impression it was not something that concerned them. If you do need to try and find it, then walk up the stairs one level from the main Residence B entrance. On your left is a dog grooming parlour (I couldn't make this up) and on your right, around the corner is a grey unmarked entrance which is Rekasai.

There are just three private dining rooms in the restaurant (no shared dining area), and a set menu is the only thing that is available, though you can negotiate with them about what is to be in it. This seems to be only partially successful based on our experience, but at least a fair proportion of what I asked for turned up, and only a couple of items that I had specifically declined. Our little dining room had a highly polished wooden floor and a plain but smart feel, decorated with a few Chinese prints. Our dedicated waitress brought us excellent jasmine tea and hot towels prior to our lunch arriving. The format s that various small starters arrive together, and then the main courses one at a time.

Our starters were deep fried shrimp with omelette skin (pleasant), deep fried wild duck and shrimp dumpling (nice duck), "Jade tofu" which in fact is made with scallops and coriander, but is the colour of Jade (rather tasteless), and Chinese cabbage with mustard, wrapped in beancurd skins that was far from tasteless, with a strong mustard punch. There was also deep fried lotus root stuffed with pork and Chinese chive, where the crisp lotus root made a nice texture contrast to the pork paste. Deep fried cod with sweet and chilli soy sauce was pleasant, with decent batter, while grilled pork with sweet and sour sauce featured good pork but the sauce was over-subtle for my taste, tasing little of either sweet or sour. Finally there were a few shredded, stir fried vegetables. These dishes were well enough made but not exciting, averaging around 13/20.

Deep fried boiled chicken and bak choi had small, almost tasteless pieces of boiled chicken in a decent batter while bak choi were shredded very fine and then deep fried, the pieces so small they were really texture rather than tasting much of the original vegetable (12/20 at best). Stir fried lobster did not avoid a little chewiness though the lobster itself was fresh and had good taste (12/20). The final main course was deep fried black tip grouper, pieces of fish deep fried and re-assembled into the shape of the original fish, adorned with coriander and a well balanced sauce of Shaoxiang wine, soy and sugar. I thought this was a quite clever dish, and the sauce was well made (14/20). To finish there was a light soup of shrimp and fish air bladder, then a Beijing style fermented yogurt, which tasted of a generic sweetness rather than much of yogurt. 

The food was mostly around 13/20 level, with little (the grouper) above this, and a few dishes slipping below. Technique was generally good, as in the well judged sauce with the grouper. I would also observe that there were an awful lot of deep-fried dishes. However this is a long way from two Michelin stars in my view. Compared to serious food in China, such as that in Made in China in Beijing, it is far, far inferior. Overall this was a pleasant experience, but for a simplified lunch menu with tea only, the bill for two was JPY 30.492, so it is hardly cheap. 

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  • Vanessa

    Went to Reikasai as part of my tour of the Japenese restaurant scene (eventhough this is chinese). What a disappointment! The food was just average, there was nothing exceptional to it. We ordered a set menu with maybe 30 small dishes. After the first few courses, I just wanted to leave. I was really upset to finish my trip with such a disappointing dinner. I would have found the same level of cooking in my local chinese in London. I don't know where the 2 Michelin star come from.

  • nicolas

    I second your idea that there is a long way for a 2 stars. For me, you should go there with expectation of finding an overpriced 1 star restaurant. Hey, it is still good if you don't think about the bad aspects !

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