French Cuisine: Lunch at Les Cinqs


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Yesterday, Sunday would not usually sees me going for lunch anywhere, but the torrential rains having cancelled all possibilities of sport, I was not going to sulk at home and spend a miserable day in a stuffy apartment.
So, under the inefficient protection of my biggest umbrella, I walked/paddled to the bus stop (I do not drive anyway, and a bicycle ride would have turned into a filthy nightmare). I shall refrain from relating the hazards of waiting for commuters’ transport under a deluge along a crowded road and stick to the real venture of the day, namely my lunch!

Les Cinqs offers two different lunch courses 3,150 yen and 5.250 yen (I opted for the latter) with a succinct but sufficient list of wines served by the glass. Of course you may order a full bottle if you wish to.
Noticing Japanese wines on the said list, I decided to have a go for them as I entirely trusted the restaurant. They were actually priced higher than their French counterparts…
The first to come was a “Kooshu wine” Gris de Gris from Yamanashi Prefefecture concocted by Chateau Mercian in 2007. Of a very rich oaken colour, restrained aroma, it tasted very dry but fruity with a shortish tail.

A plate of amuse bouche consisting of scrumptious, if minuscule, duck liver paste gougeres.

The first hors d’oeuvres was a cold Edamame Mousse with Tomato Sauce. Succulent, refreshing and elegant, it actually a more hearty fare than one would believe.
Having chosen a table by the bay window and somewhat isolated from the other guests, I did not bother too much about my manners and ate at my own (fast) pace. Interestingly enough, only one other table had ordered wine. All the other customers were on cold water or its mineral equivalent. I wonder sometimes why people visit higher class restaurants…

The second hors d’oeuvres was “Aji/Saurel” and “Maru Okura/a round okura variety” Tartare with its greens and flowers salad organically grown by Mr. Matsuki at Bio Farm in Shibakawa Cho and other farmers in Yaizu City. The fish came from Chiba Prefecture as it is a bit out season down here. It certainly would have bettered a lot of offerings served at (good) sushi restaurants!

It was about time to order a second glass and I persevered with Japanese wine, namely a Merlot grown in Nagano Prefecture by the same company in 2006. Of a rich dark colour and pungy aroma, it showed a lot of red fruit with a dry shortish tail. I shall have to revise my thinking about Japanese wine to the chagrin of my Burgundian ancestors…


The fish was a surprise indeed, and that single dish would have earned Chuckeats and Luxeat‘s praises! Pan-fried “kuro mutsu/Scombrops gilberti (Jordan and Snyder) (I do not know the English name)

on a bed of “kushinsai/a Chinese vegetable increasingly grown in Japan/

accompanied with a square piece of grilled watermelon “ridden” by a couple of white aubergine tenpura, the whole accented with a Balsamico and sweet basil sauce.
An exquisite salty and sweet marriage!

The second glass having disappeared, I came back nearer to my roots and ordered a glass of Beaujolais Villages, Jean-Claude Lapalu, Cuvee Vieilles Vignes, “Le Petit Vernay”, 2006. A honest wine of rich red colour and powerful aroma, it did taste rich but dry with plenty of red fruit.
It proved a good choice with the meat:

The pork is local and has been named “LBY Ton”. You will not find it outside Japan, but if you do venture here, you will find it both tender and solid and certainly more satisfying in spite of its very rural image. It was served with large Shishito/Japanese Japalenos from Kyoto, courgettes and three kinds of fried potatoes from Yaizu City and seasoned with a great madeira and porto sauce, contributing the right sweet amount to the spicy approach for the pork.

The dessert, Gateau au chocolat with a lukewarm Creme Anglaise/Custard, was absolutely delicious in its simplicity. A dessert that would have had Nicholas Sarkozy run all the way from the G8 summit in Hokkaido where he had had such a hard time, teetollar as he is, pretending to appreciate the art behind a sake cup!

As a good French man (who am i kidding?), I could not help having a last toast to him and our Europeans bigwigs with a Fonseca Porto 1997!

But like Mr. Sarkozy, I do have a sweet tooth and accompanied it with some succulent mignardises!

LES CINQS
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Shichiken-cho, 17-14, Amble Court 1F (along north side of Aoba Park beyond Aoba Park Police Box)
Tel.: 054-251-7728
Cards OK (from end of September)
Reservations recommended

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Today’s Lunch Box/bento (26)


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Thursday is a bit unusual for the Missus making a bento for my lazy person, but she had to go to the beauty parlor and what with all the shopping she was planning to do on that day, it was certainly easier for her to make a bento for two (she ate her own at home) and get me out of her legs!

For the first time in a long while she came up with a favourite of mine, namely “soft ton”/very tender boneless pork cutlets. She fried them in shallow oil after after having prepared them in the “tonkatsu”/schnitzel fashion and seasoned them with white and black sesame seeds.
She put them on top of rice mixed with sweet seaweed and decorated the whole with edamame (out of their pods) and “shishito”/Japanese japalenos.
Some pickles and a salad side dish, and that was it!
She had forgotten the dessert again, but I had some ice-cream (made from soy beans, no milk whatsoever from Shibakawa Cho!) handy in the fridge!

Le Cafe-Labo: Classic Cakes (7)


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It’s pears season and Le Cafe-Labo in Shizuoka City has come up with another creation: Pear Mousse!
A cake of just the right size which should tempt Banu with some iced coffee!
A little small but more filling than you might expect.

For once I shall explain from bottom to top:
-A very thin sponge cake slice imbibed with pear liqueur
-Peaar Mousse with some pear liqueur poached pear to be discovered inside
-A thin layer of caramel sauce
-Small pear wedges poached in pear liqueur, Creme Chantilly, redcurrants, chocolate chip and mini mint leaves.

I must admit I ate it far too fast!
Taste Memory Girl and Rowena will scream at the sacrilege! LOL

LE CAFE-LABO
424-0886 Shizuoka City, Shimizu Ku, Kusanagi, 46
Tel.: 054-3441661
Also available at Isetan Dept. Store, Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Shichiken-Cho

Shizuoka Umeshu: Masu Ichi Brewery


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Every year more local breweries are offering “umeshu” eminently popular in summer when it is most appreciated poured over a few ice cubes!

Masu-Ichi Brewery in Shizuoka City has just entered the fray with concoction called “Denjiro”, which actually is the master brewer/toji’s trade name as he is the second apprentice of Denbei Kawamura, the man who created the Shizuoka Yeast.

It contains less alcohol, 7~8 degrees, as compared to the more usual 15 degrees, making it very easy to drink by ladies and younger people in particular.

Masu Ichi Brewery: “Denjiro”, “Tsuka/Plum Aroma” Umeshu

Alcohol: 7~8 degrees
Plums, sake, sugar.
Bottled: July 11th, 2008

Clarity: very clear
Colour: light red/pink
Aroma: light, dry, plums
Body: velvety
Taste: Shortish tail. Plum taste discreet, not overwhelming. Elegant. Dry.

Overall: Makes for a great light aperitif in hot summers!

Today’s lunch Box/Bento (25)


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This week, I will have (the pleasure of?) more bento than usual because of the preparations for our trip next week to Hokkaido. The Missus is only too happy to get me physically away from her, busy as she is with the luggage and all that!

This time the combination should tempt solid male eaters more than figure-minded ladies!
The main dish consisted of boiled “ramen/Chinese noodles” for which I had cold stock soup in the pouch featured in the pic at the beginning of this posting. The Missus decorated it with all kinds of vegetables, having my line in mind as ever:
From top, clockwise=soft-boiled egg, vinegared cucumber salad, cut “yama imo/taro roots”, edamame out of their pods, boiled brocoli, carrot salad, and a sprinkle of chopped thin leeks in the middle.

The “accompaniment” consisted of chicken nuggets. Now, these have nothing to do with the frozen horrors served in notorious junk food eateries (no names, alright?). The Missus used “tori no sasami/Chicken breast fillets”, the tenderest and leanest part of the chicken, which can be bought separately in Japan. A bit extravagant, I must admit. They needed no seasoning as their batter was already spiced up. She included plenty of lettuce to wrap them in, as she knows I’m a bit of a savage, eating with my fingers whenever possible!
A few cherry tomatoes and home-made baby melon pickles.
No dessert again! LOL.

French Cuisine: Les Cinqs


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LES CINQS: Grand opening on August 23rd!

At long last, my favourite French Chef in Shizuoka, Tetsuya Sugimoto, is back with us after more than three months of inactivity! Mr. Sugimoto decided to close his highly popular restaurant “Sugimoto” last May after 8 years at the helm, deciding it was time to tackle the next challenge.
The new venture is certainly of a different scale!
He associated himself with Mr. Hideya Nakamura, the owner of Les Cinqs and Mr. Makoto Toi, its General Manager. Tetsuya Sugimoto will have then his hands free to lead a team of four in the kitchen while three more staff will look after the guests and patrons.


Located along Aoba Koen/Park within walking distance from the large Tokiwa Park Fountain the concept of the new restaurant is multi-faceted to cater for different kinds of customers:
At a private counter seating six (above pic) and in two private rooms seating six and four (can be joined to seat 10, below pic) will be served upon reservation a full dinner course for 10,000 yen.

Lunch courses served between 11:30 and 15:00 (last orders at 14:00) will start from 3,000 yen. The restaurant will accept special orders upon reservation according to predeterminate budgets.

Dinner will be served from 18:00 to 23:00 (last orders at 21:00). After 21:00 guests may come just for wine and hors d’oeuvres.

An A La Carte Menu will be available in the main dining room seating twenty-four with Starters/hors d’oeuvres from 1,000 yen up, main dishes from 2,500 yen up and desserts.
Actually from what I have seen, I would recommend taking a seat in the dining room by the large bay windows, unless you prefer the extravagant privacy of the counter!

The wine list is still in process, but I already know the cellar will shelter more than a hundred kinds of mainly French wines!
Yes, there will be some great Shizuoka Sake in the fridge, too!
As for the food, expect my first report by mid September (sorry, I’ll be away for a while!)

LES CINQS
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Shichiken-cho, 17-14, Amble Court 1F (along north side of Aoba Park beyond Aoba Park Police Box)
Tel.: 054-251-7728
Cards OK (from end of September)
Reservations recommended

Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (24)


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This week being particularly busy due to the preparations for our trip to Hokkaido next week forcing me into putting two weeks’ work into one, I will have to write quite a few articles about the Missus’ bentoes (that is, if there is no repeat or sandwiches. LOL)

Yesterday’s was more of the “expat’s variety” which should tempt big eaters like Foodhoe and Gaijin Tonic again!
the “nigiri”/rice balls were made of rice steamed with mushrooms and cockles (small clams) soup.
The Missus later added some curry paste to shape those brown balls. It made for a welcome change!
She added boiled broccoli, carrot salad, French pickles/cornichons, a half-boiled egg, some edamame out of the pod and “amera rubbins tomatoes”, a variety only grown in Shizuoka. Very small and sweet, they could be served as dessert with red berries!
Some cut “nashi”/Japanese pear and plums for the real dessert.
Just enough to last the day! LOL.