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"LIVE TO EAT!" 
World-Renowned Foodie Takefumi Hamada Presents:
10 Must-Go NOW Restaurants

Mr. Takefumi Hamada;
#1 Restaurant Reviewer, OAD

Seeking to escape the less-than-satisfactory kitchens on campus during his years at Yale, Takefumi naturally gravitated to prowling the gourmet-rich streets of New York.
After graduating, he changed scenes to Paris to pursue further studies, as well as further culinary pleasures and adventures in classical music. To date, Takefumi has compiled an impressive resume of vacationeering, visiting a whopping 115 different countries and regions from Antarctica to North Korea.
Today, Takefumi advises numerous firms in areas ranging from entertainment to vacations and of course cuisine, all the while having a hand in planning and organizing gourmet-related events as well.

What is OAD (Opinionated About Dining)?

Steve Plotnicki hatched OAD in 2004 to address needs identified in accurately identifying the world’s culinary cultures and its advances.
Sharing reviews, OAD has grown today to over 5,000 dedicated haute-diners posting thoughts on 16,000-plus restaurants, and has gained international acclaim as a bona-fide go-to dining-guide for all.
A Select 10: From the Man that Works to Taste, and Lives for Culinary Pleasure

Born 1974 in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan; A graduate of Yale University; world traveler, with 115-plus countries and regions under his belt; Currently spends 6 months in Tokyo, and splits the remainder traveling the world and Japan’s provinces searching for new culinary finds; Knows many of the world’s top chefs by name, and actively spreads the word on both travel and cuisine through media ranging from magazine to internet.Who else would be more worthy of the title;
“he who works to taste, and lives for culinary pleasure” CEO, Access All Areas Japan

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CAINOYA
Chef Shiozawa’s lauded Italian kitchen offers a unique experience in southern Kagoshima

A small 8-table establishment in Kagoshima’s Shiroyama-cho district, Cainoya is a reservation-only gastronomic haven only the select few can enter. Using the newest advances in culinary technology to add to chef Shiozawa’s own skills, this Italian kitchen concocts incredibly unique and refined dishes equaling any star-studded restaurant easily.


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A restaurant worthy of the title ‘Kagoshima’s Gastronomic Representative‘.
Cainoya delivers an innovative Italian-based cuisine mixing the chef’s inspirations with the newest in culinary technology; worth special note is the restaurant’s use of the low-pressure cooker, a field where chef Shiozawa is renowned for leading. By cooking in a low-pressure environment, the chef realized both the steeping of flavors into ingredients at an unparalleled level, as well as keeping the ingredients away from heat-induced harm.

Each and every course is refined to perfection; and while the kitchen boasts 21st-century technology, the balanced-yet-bold flavors pay homage to the most traditional of culinary styles. Cainoya’s unique approach is sure to be a joy for both connoisseurs of cuisine as well as seekers of new methods, but that is not all; for those who enjoy aesthetics, the restaurant’s tableware and mariages of ware and course too are a joy to behold. Although due to the sheer gravity of chef Shiozawa’s skills Cainoya may be less a fit for those who prefer to concentrate on conversing, for all those who enjoy focusing on the plate they face, this restaurant is a must-try!

LATURE
Paying Dues to Nature and History; Traditional French Cuisine, and the Bounties of Japan

Located nearby Omotesando station, right beside Aoyama-Gakuin University, underneath the busy Tokyo streets, Lature is a can’t miss destination for aficionados of French cuisine. Chef Murota, a licensed hunter in addition to being an accomplished chef, concocts traditional French dishes out of game he himself caught. Guests are welcomed to a course of his earthly, heart-warming, and truly inspiring dishes.


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A French kitchen famed for its the quality of its gibier
Visit during winter and be wowed; the counter seating offers a museum of beautiful feathered birds in addition to an impressive pate en croute. From start to finish, every dish save the dessert incorporates some factor of house-caught gibier, offering a hearty and unforgettable helping of the season’s game. Chef Murota, excelling in traditional culinary methods best for gibier preparation, creates tastes that are as authentic as you can get.

The revamped interior post-moving the venue boasts ambient lighting and design, making Lature even more attractive than it was, a restaurant to continue to watch closely!

Oryori Miyasaka
The Dignified Grace of 2-Starred Japanese Cuisine

This recipient of 2 Michelin Stars awaits underneath the quiet residential streets of Minami-Aoyama, nearby the renowned Nezu Art Museum. Its essence? Quality; the finest ingredients of the season, and authentic culinary methods passed down through the generations. Miyasaka excels in drawing out the full flavors of the season’s fruits, down to the most subtle hints and nuances. For those who are keen to feel the breath of nature in their bites, do take the time to visit.


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From a veteran of Kyoto’s culinary scene; graceful dishes of Japan’s seasonal best.
Walk through the nondescript entrance to find an ambient dark-colored hall, a rarity in Japanese cuisine. The black-based interior serves to highlight the beautiful tableware, and the colorful creations the chef serves atop. Especially worth mention is the ‘hassun’ or appetizer plate; before picking the various tiny dishes apart, take in the varietal beauty of the whole, and the intricacy of the individual jewels. The mind-blowing artfulness owes to the chef’s meticulous craftsmanship; his refusal to compromise even the most menial of preparatory steps blows life into this culinary masterpiece.

On the contrary, Miyasaka’s course also offers glimpses of modesty in subtly-flavored, dimly-colored dishes; flowing with natural goodness, these give guests momentary respite from the awe and inspiration of more artful creations. This balance, this dignified grace to which each visitor is treated, is the true art of service of this still-young master with an essence of Kyoto’s eldest.

Restaurant Ryuzu
Artisanal Skills Sublimating the Season’ Finest Fruits

Perched beside the towering Tokyo Midtown complex in Roppongi, the 2-Starred Ryuzu is synonymous with haute-French cuisine. Owner-chef Iizuka is a veteran of kitchens domestic and abroad, and as former head-chef at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, his skills speak for themselves.


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The hall, in spite of its underground location at the center of Tokyo’s busiest districts, feels quite expansive and cozy, perfect to sit back and relax. The staff too is polite and polished; the quality of their service speaks to the heights of their teamwork.

Chef Iizuka, accoladed by the master Joel Robuchon himself, puts together a modern but non-contemporary French cuisine; whilst incorporating the seasons’ finest from Japan and his native Nigata, he imports essential French ingredients as well, and remains true to French traditions in preparation and flavoring, giving his courses a distinctly authentic reassurance in both taste and look. The kitchen takes pride in its superbly reliable sans-innovation nature; with durable tradition backboning both course and service, Ryuzu is sure to be a loved destination for years to come.

Nishiazabu Otake
Lavish in the Season’s Sensory Pleasures; Original Dishes and an Establishment Inheritance

‘The Monthly Chef’s Course’; there is only a single menu item at this backstreet Nishi-Azabu den. The chef’s unique connections with sources far and wide support a colorful menu featuring the season’s best from Japan’s mountains and seas; from Gifu’s gibier and wild vegetables to fresh seafood flown directly from Fukui, Otake’s course is a treasure trove of seasonal gems.


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A ‘Kappo’-style traditional Japanese cuisine restaurant, by an anchor of Gifu’s famed ‘Takada Hassho’.
The last time I visited ‘Takada Hassho’ was almost a decade ago, but the marvelous experience I had there came flashing back instantly as soon as I had Otake’s inherited ‘Potato Hari-Hari’ dish. Identically reminiscent of great memories of the past are some of this unique restaurant’s items, infusing authentic Japanese installations with a slight twist of innovative western hue. Where the kitchen’s creations seemingly lack in initial impact, it more than makes up for in a subtle and cozy sense of fulsome pleasure.

A precious open-till-midnight ‘kappo’ restaurant in Tokyo, Otake remains, for the time being, reasonably bookable… remember this fact of convenience, and go, while seats last!

Takumi
A One-of-a-Kind Creativity Blows New Breath into Tokyo’s Culinary Scene

Chef Takumi Otsuki, a young but seasoned veteran of Marseilles 3-Star Le Petit Nice among others, brings a star-filled resume to his own establishment; the Roppongi Takumi, just having opened in 2017, has already caused much wonder with its unique approach and inspiring menu. For those looking for a unseen-before style of haute-French cuisine, don’t miss out.


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Takumi’s hall is of stylish contemporary design; the glistening white table cloth reflects brightly the lighting, luminating a graceful and refined expanse as if it were canvas, waiting eagerly for the color of the chef’s creations to paint a vivid and inspirational tone.

The essence of Takumi’s menu is in the enjoyment of combinations; Each dish brings about new and surprising pairings of ingredient upon ingredient, layers of differing matches that continually please the senses.
To keep guests up to date, each course comes with a dedicated card; explaining the dish in detail, from ingredient, preparation, sauce, and more, visitors are invited to read, and enjoy cuisine in dimensions never seen before. This style offers a variety of merit for all involved; those preferring to taste may ignore, whilst those who prefer to know can read to their heart’s content; cutting the mouthful that is the explanation out assures guests can enjoy the moment their dish arrives, instead of waiting and risking the course slowly cooling; efficient, stylish, and effective.

To add an interactive facet, each dish is accompanied by a rack of individually blended spices; note that these are not to tinker with the taste, but to add distinct notes and nuances through scent.Guest’s are invited to enjoy the colors and various whiffs alongside a newfound sense of how differing parfum tones can create incredible mystique in altering how bites taste.

Takumi’s inventive presentation allows a truly original restaurant experience, where guests can delve into the ‘how’ of cuisine before, and as, they enjoy each dish. For a one-of-a-kind evening of pleasure to the mind and the senses, take note of Roppongi’s Takumi.

La BOMBANCE
A 1-Star Gourmet Experience that Transcends the Boundaries of Traditional Japanese Cuisine

A free-spirited chef offers Japanese cuisine in a new light; infusing dishes with inspirations transcending borders, this Nishi-Azabu hole-in-a-wall invents liberating culinary wonders aplenty. The one-line menu ‘Chef’s Monthly Course’, presented with confidence, features the season’s finest bounties crafted meticulously into eye-opening concoctions that grasp guests’ hearts to never let go.


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A restaurant that delivers a downright ‘new’ form of Japanese cuisine.
The hall, contrary to what the venue’s name nuances, boasts a sick and cozy interior; from semi-private room to counter seating, guests have their choice of comfort. Although not one for dress codes, La Bombance nevertheless inspires one to dress to their best; an elegant and mature air settles guests in, only to present the chef’s playful side in a coded course menu. Visitors are invited to take up the challenge, and hope to decipher what creative dish will come their way next.

The entirety of La Bombance’s existence is an anomaly in the scope of Japanese cuisine; full-heartedly embracing the English concept of ‘buzz’ or the French ‘convivialite’, the venue folds the hall into a living entity, making mutual the musical noise and excitement.
A perfect fit, for foodies who are willing to venture.

La BOMBANCE

Nakajo
The Finest Seafood, and a Master’s Craft; Yokohama’s Crown Jewel of Sushi

Under the banner of ‘harmony; the finest seafood and dedicated sushi-rice blends’, Nakajo sources only the very best of ingredients from trusted merchants. Known especially for the quality of his Tuna, the chef meticulously adjusts temperature, maturation, and degree of slice to sublimate his finest procurements into rich gastronomic pleasure; close your eyes, and taste the harmony of an artisan’s toil and nature’s gifts.


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The best sushi in Yokohama, period.
Nakajo’s signature is its tuna piece. Personally, I especially love his Spring offering, using fixed-net-caught Bluefin; it is refreshing and not overwhelming, with the perfect balance of umami and a whiff of the sea. Of course, the other pieces too are marvelous; at my last visit, the abalone, cockle, whale, eel, and mantis shrimp were all quite exquisite.
What makes Nakajo’s sushi special is its utter lack of off-flavors; there really is nothing attributable that is distasteful, not even subtle hints, which makes it a great recommendation for even those that don’t take too well to seafood.

Another point worth mentioning is Nakajo’s merit of location; thanks to its being in Yokohama, it remains decently bookable in spite of the quality of its fare, unquestionable on par with even the most lauded of Tokyo counterparts. Definitely a can’t miss hidden gem worth a pilgrimage or multiple, especially for those that don’t mind a commute for a step up in flavor.

S'accapau
Vibrant Creative Italian Cuisine, and Vin Nature for Company

Not far from Nishi-Azabu crossing underneath the bustle of Roppongi’s sleepless streets, S’accapau is an adult hangout limited to a lucky 9. The prized counter seating, looking into a dynamic and live kitchen, produces vibrant dishes that pair wonderously with the venue’s pride; a worldwide collection of natural wines that open the door to extraordinaryl contemporary mariages.


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Step down under a nondescript building not far from upper-class Nishi-Azabu’s central crossing to find an elegant hall of contemporary design. Cool and masculine, it beckons guests to both table and counter seating; personally, the counter seats looking directly into the kitchen are by far the more exciting. Enjoy a live connection with the chefs, and wonder at the concoctions heading your way.

S’accapau’s head chef is one of unique upbringing; after an Italian training, he then headed to Germany to work a kitchen in his craft learnt. Although the pasta, a mainstay of his course, keeps the general circumference steady, the others tend to transcend borders, rounding up a genuinely international inventive menu reflecting the chef’s own fluidity. For a complete experience from plate to airs that pairs exciting culinary adventure and a mature-yet-casual environment, book a seat today!

S'accapau

Simplicité
Straight-From-the-Source Seafood, and Flawless Technique; an Immaculate ‘Mature-Seafood French Cuisine’ Brimming with Flavor

Daikanyama French restaurant Simplicite; the welcoming wooden interior and cozy atmosphere are reassuring backdrops for chef Aihara’s phenomenal creations. Enjoy the fruits of a chef’s toil in handling each ingredient with sincere care and deep thought, the blend of inspiration, dedication, and natural magic.


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A breathtaking French course anchored by superb seafood creations
Chef Aihara’s signature matured-seafood meets guests at every turn of Simplicite’s course; impressively however, it never gets old, nor does it get overwhelming. The subtle aromas are masterfully synthesized using a variety of ingredients and sauces, leaving only the flavorful notes whilst diminishing those less favorable. Such additions, although subservient to the main cast of seafood, are still quite remarkable standing alone; from Bordier seaweed butter to paper-thin sabres, each piece shines brightly given the right attention.

Even the course’s lone altercation from seafood, a main dish of duck, maintain Simplicite’s form via plenty of seafood infusions; the sauce, mainly comprised of broth taken from dried sardine and tuna flakes, is just one of such immersions. In total, the strength of the duck’s innate flavor pairs astonishingly well with the umami-laden seafood-based sauce, completing a symphony that leaves no doubt about its place in the seafood-centric menu.
For a restaurant of constant theme and transient content, taste the seasons in seafood at Daikanyama’s Simplicite.

Simplicité

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Mr. Naoyuki Honda

POCKET CONSIERGE

Flying between homes in Tokyo and Hawaii in his daily work advising investments in startups on both sides of the Pacific, Naoyuki’s life sets no boundary twixt work and play. With an impressive lineup of 60 countries and over 200 cities visited, he boasts a seasoned tongue with a wealth of experience enjoying everything from roadside pop-ups to 3-starred establishments. From this breadth, he moonlights as a manager of events, hosting collaborative dinners featuring some of the world’s most renowned chefs, as well as writing on a variety of topics; writings include the ‘Leverage’ series, ‘Why Japanese Chefs Could Take on the World’, and ‘Originality’.

We will send you information on must-go restaurants in Japan that are not introduced in guide books.

POCKET CONSIERGE

About
Pocket Concierge

We provide online booking and pre-payment services, offering access to over 800 of Japan’s most sought-after and exclusive restaurants. From Michelin-Starred establishments to up-and-coming newcomers and hidden gems that the best chefs and foodies keep well guarded, we feature partners from all across Japan. For guests from abroad, we currently operate in English and Chinese as well; in order to realize our vision of a totally hassle-free way to premium restaurant experiences and the facilitation of Japan’s incredible culinary arts, we are working daily to improve our service.
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