In an age where French cuisine is being transformed by newfangled technologies and presentation techniques that have more to do with contemporary art than good food, Seiya Kawasaki is swimming against the tide. Once guilty of the same pretensions as many of his Tokyo colleagues, the veteran chef repented and switched his focus to feeding both people’s hearts and stomachs with traditional and down-to-earth but magnificently executed dishes. This policy hasn’t wavered since 1993, when Kawasaki opened Aladdin just off Meiji-dori in Hiroo.
Now counted among the true heavyweights of Tokyo’s French restaurants, it’s an embodiment of Kawasaki’s experience (including nine years in France) and his uncompromising attitude towards the exclusively seasonal ingredients. One memorable dish usually found here is a thickly sliced truffle served with satoimo yam and a soft-boiled egg, while the autumn specials include plenty of wild game – we enjoyed the grilled venison, served with a sauce incorporating trumpet mushrooms and topped with a bit of grilled fat to add flavour.
Taking advantage of its location – right by the Shibuya River – Aladdin boasts a very calm atmosphere. The lights stay slightly dimmed, colours are warm and wooden, and sunlight fills the space at lunchtime.
Hiroo Riverside G1F, 2-22-10 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku
|Opening hours:||12noon-3.30pm (last orders 2pm), 6pm-11.30pm (9.30pm) / irregular closing days|
|Transport:||Hiroo Station (Hibiya line), exit 2|