Lunch at Maison KEI
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- Meal Views
For years I have maintained that French-Japanese fusion cuisine works for me better in France then in Japan. I love places like Passage 53, La neige d’Ete and KEI. I thought the focus and discipline of Japanese chefs bring French food to a special place. The same fusion in Japan is so heavily influenced by the dominance of Japanese food culture, that it becomes a weird version of a Japanese Kaiseki meal.
However, now having lived in Japan for over one year, I need to revise this opinion because of some extraordinary meals here. One of them was this one.
Maison KEI is the sister of the three star restaurant in Paris. Kei Kobayashi was the first Japanese Chef to get three stars awarded in France. He collaborated with the Toraya Confectionery Company to open up this place in Gotemba.
The setting is close to Toraya Confectionery Company’s garden with a breathtaking view of Mount Fuji. It was opened in January 2021 and due to the pandemic induced closure of restaurants in France Chef Kobayashi spend a few months working with Mitsuyoshi Sato to get things going. And the team did a really good job.
Some of the highlights from Paris, like the famous salad, are on the menu. The rest is sourced locally, but prepared and presented in a French way. The result is deeply tasty and pleasing. There are some references to the Japanese taste like a pigeon which would be slightly too much cooked for a Western palate (but with an impeccable taste and texture).
The very moderate pricing makes this experience even more pleasing.
Together with the mind blowing show of clouds chasing around the peak of Mount Fuji this restaurant became in no time a destination restaurant which is already hard to book. Nevermind,