For innovative dining in Tokyo, hightail it to Jingumae’s gourmet Den. Flaunting high-end Japanese home cooking with a dash of Western flavour and a hearty helping of humour from chef Zaiyu Hasegawa, this must-visit restaurant recently moved to a lovely, larger new location. Here, the food scene’s enfant terrible serves up playful eight-course kaiseki dinners combining technical skill and bonkers presentation.
Snag a counter seat to watch the yanagi knife-skills theatrics, and chat with the bad boy himself. Stodgy food snobs need not apply. The signature dish is Dentucky Fried Chicken: stuffed, fried Daisen jidori chicken wings served in a paper box reminiscent of a certain fast food joint, but sporting a pic of the chef’s face. The prix-fixe omakase menu is seasonally inspired, with a witty blend of trad and modern dishes. Segue from a monaka pastry stuffed with foie gras to clay pot rice with wagyu beef or super-fresh seafood, a 20-ingredient salad and delicious desserts.
Hasegawa-san has brought all the best parts of his old restaurant along to his new, hospitable joint, ideal for a smart-casual dinner, but make sure you reserve your spot. It’s a favourite with local food writers for a reason, drawing an appreciative crowd. What’s more, it’s currently riding high at number 11 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list for 2017, and number 45 on the World’s 50 Best roster. Happy eating!
Den / 2-3-18 Jingumae / Shibuya-ku / +81 3 6455 5433 / dinner Mon-Sat / jimbochoden.com