Serving up Tokyo
Who better to consult for restaurant and bar recommendations than a chef? Vogue asks Australian chefs doing their thing in Tokyo where to eat, drink and be merry.
With a population of more than 13 million to feed every day (plus an extra two million or so workers and students commuting daily from outside the city), Tokyo’s food scene is fiercely competitive. There are a staggering 227 Michelin-starred restaurants in Tokyo (making it easily the most starred city in the world, and, yes, that includes Paris), countless tiny neighbourhood diners and noodle joints, and plenty of great options between either end of the price scale.
Navigating this man-eat-fish world is a tableau of Australian chefs who have set up shop in Japan’s capital. There’s Jonathan Barthelmess and Sam Christie, who last year launched an outpost of Sydney’s Apollo restaurant in Ginza, introducing Japan to modern Greek fare. Christie also launched Longrain Tokyo in Ebisu just days before this issue went on sale, to add to his Longrains in Sydney and Melbourne. (Barthelmess and Christie have long been obsessed with Japan: in 2014 they created Cho Cho San, their interpretation of a Japanese izakaya, in Sydney’s Potts Point.) And in April, Giovanni and Enrico Paradiso and Marco Ambrosino, of Fratelli Paradiso in Potts Point and 10 William Street in Sydney’s Paddington, opened Fratelli Paradiso Japan in Tokyo’s Omotesando Hills complex, between the Aoyama fashion district and the teen epicentre Harajuku.
Then there’s long-time Tokyo visitor Neil Perry, who, as culinary and brand director of Rockpool Dining Group, has spent plenty of time in Tokyo, including conducting culinary research in December last year, bringing back ideas that are making their way onto the menus at his Saké Restaurant & Bar and its younger sibling, Saké Jr.
Here they reveal where they go to eat (besides their own restaurants, of course) and the bars and izakaya taverns in which they like to unwind across this massive metropolis.