Its name comes from the Basque language and translates simply to ‘wines’, but Ryo Sakai’s treasure trove of Spanish cuisine offers much more than Iberian plonk. You can choose from one lunch set and two dinner options: the latter are the Tradicional (¥5,000), which rotates every three months and features dishes from one of Spain’s 17 regions, and the Degustacion (¥7,500), a monthly tasting menu that combines Spanish and Japanese sensibilities in a flash of flavours. For the Tradicional, Sakai chooses the region based on what’s in season in both Spain and Japan (the autumn menu comes from coastal Asturias).
If Sakai’s plating style resembles a surrealist or dada painting, you’re not far off. His presentation and sauce colours are inspired by the work of painter Joan Miró. One portion of the fusion menu features two gorgeous pink slices of veal over green beans with a surprising hit of spice, turnips, lotus root, and a slice of carrot surrounded by a heavenly sauce made from blue cheese and veal broth. The sauce brings out a pleasant kick that elevates the crunch of the vegetables and seamlessly entwines itself with the veal’s subtle gaminess.
The second dish that stayed with us resembled a painter’s palette, with four types of sauce splashed across the white plate. A bright orange paprika dip and a dollop of heavy-hitting smoked paprika are partnered with a piquillo pepper filled with a shrimp and cod paste. Two shiitake mushrooms stuffed with minced onions and bacon and topped with a thin slice of lard rest on the plate’s other half; they’re tempered by drops of playful olive oil and basil and a downright stunning balsamic vinegar mayonnaise. Overall, it’s a phenomenally multilayered journey through Spain and Sakai’s imagination that ends in a simple concept: food is and should be fun.
JP Bldg 2F, 1-1-20 Uehara, Shibuya-ku
|Opening hours:||From 6pm. Lunch Sat, Sun only 12noon-3pm (last orders 1pm) / closed Wed|
|Transport:||Yoyogi-Koen Station (Chiyoda line), exit 1; Yoyogi-Hachiman Station (Odakyu line), south exit|