French Cuisine: Lunch at Les Cinqs

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sake, shochu and sushi


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!

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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