Study In Sketch
Countless chefs have capitalised on the confluence of French and Japanese cuisine – each with a historic culinary tradition, a disposition for chef’s tasting menus (be it dégustation or omakase), and flavours and sensibilities that have proven to harmonise perfectly with the other. Yet few have struck this exquisite balance as swiftly or seamlessly as Chef Lionel Beccat, who left Tokyo’s two Michelin-starred French fine diner Michel Troisgros to open Esquisse in June. A white-walled, wooden-floored, and beam-ceilinged Ginza oasis, it quickly earned Beccat two coveted stars of its own.
As evidenced by his restaurant name (which translates to ‘sketch’), Beccat doesn’t like to set things in stone – instead, he serves his signature ‘menu spontané’, with classical French training anchoring the technique, and local, seasonal Japanese ingredients influencing the flavours. There’s an 8-course or 10-course dinner menu, each including a fish plate and meat dish, and both beginning with a glass of champagne and ending with a ‘gift’. The extensive wine list courtesy of chef sommelier Eiji Wakabayashi also features a handy 5-glass ‘collection Esquisse’ or a 6-glass ‘collection Eiji’ to pair with your meal. Luckily for Beccat, it turns out his sketch is quite the chef-d’oeuvre.