Spice Lab Tokyo in Ginza is ambitious: it’s created to showcase India’s modern culinary diversity, but executed partly with seasonal Japanese ingredients. And the restaurant pulls it off gracefully, with an exciting array of new flavour combinations.
Spice Lab Tokyo’s owner, who hails from Delhi, was inspired to bring high-end modern Indian cuisine to Japan – a style that’s making its mark in dining hotspots as far afield as London, Melbourne and Hong Kong. The venue’s award-winning executive chef is Tejas Sovani, whose experience includes a stint at Noma in Copenhagen.
There are several course options available, ranging from four courses to seven at lunchtime and seven courses to nine courses on the dinner menu, with vegetarian, vegan and seafood-only options available for reservation. The menus change seasonally, rewarding repeat visits.
The kaleidoscopic range of ingredients on the menu is woven together with intuition and precision; the flavours aren’t tuned down to suit the local palate, but are refined and well-balanced. The plate of regional street food snacks is a highlight, with a shiso chaat (tempura) topped with tamarind chutney and pomegranate seeds, and a delicate panipuri dumpling filled with a fragrant blend of dassai, ume, lemon and mint, plus a few other street food snacks.
In autumn, there’s a wild mushroom and leek pilaf, served with buttery kulcha (flatbread) and a selection of condiments like smoky black lentils and garlic raita. Don’t worry if this sounds like a lot to handle – staff will guide you through the menu, offering extra contextual info about the dishes, adding a bit of humour and personal touch.