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Ryuan

5-13-35 Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan

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Ryuan has a rather tatty entrance on a corner of a quiet road at the edge of the Minato-ku ward. You pass by the kitchen up a flight of stairs into the dining area, which is divided into three small sections. Only tasting menus were offered, the pricing lower at lunch (which is when we went) than at dinner.

The first course was a soup, and in this case we were offered a choice, but from rather cryptic names such as "silver" and "platinum". "Gold" turned out to be a vegetable consommé tasting slightly of onion; this was pleasant enough, though it has limited flavour and could have done with more seasoning (12/20). Stir-fried shrimp with vegetables was better; the prawns cooked properly, the vegetables being a mix of enoki mushrooms, asparagus stems, and broad beans, all of reasonable quality (13/20). Next was a dish of stir-fried vegetables, 22 different ones to be precise, which were capably cooked though again light on seasoning, so the overall effect was rather bland (13/20).

The main course was a stew of scallops, which actually had a little prawn and crab too, along with more enoki mushrooms. This was served with some fried rice, which sounded more exotic than it tasted, being made from a mix of seven different types of rice. The scallop slices were quite tender, the vegetables decent enough, but again the dish was crying out for some condiments, perhaps some chilli, to liven it up (12/20). Dessert was an almond pudding with the consistency of a set yoghurt, made from glutinous rice flower and milk, and certainly tasted of almonds (12/20).

The staff were friendly, and spoke just enough words of English for us to all to get by. The bill came to ¥6,500 (£43) per person, with just water and jasmine tea to drink. Overall the standard of food was between 12/20 and 13/20, and was harmless enough.

The bill was not excessive, but what is baffling to me is how this has been awarded a Michelin star. It is the sort of restaurant that you might encounter in Queensway in London; indeed there at least three restaurants in that street superior to this, but I cannot see the Michelin inspectors dishing out stars to them, and nor should they. 

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