Expect avant-garde Japanese cuisine done with French flair and an eco-conscious sensibility.
Foodies traveling to Tokyo in the next few months will no doubt be disappointed that Narisawa, one of the city’s hottest tables and a fixture on the World’s Best 50 Restaurants list for the past 15 years, is closing from mid-March to late May. (This is for renovations ahead of its 20th anniversary celebrations in November.) But Singapore-based gourmands have reason to cheer: the fine-diner is relocating to the Little Red Dot for a five-week residency from March 24 to April 30, 2023 at the Mandala Club.
At a press conference, chef-owner Yoshihiro Narisawa declared that this will probably be the first and last time Narisawa will close and move its operations elsewhere. His entire kitchen team of 16 people will be based in Singapore for the duration of the pop-up. After it ends, Narisawa will focus on opening his first overseas outpost in Shanghai, scheduled to debut in May.
Narisawa first made his name 20 years ago as a progressive Japanese chef who advocated sustainability even before it became fashionable. With a “soil-to-hand” approach, his omakase menus showcase Japanese ingredients prepared with French techniques, while channeling the nature-friendly ethos of the satoyama culture, an age-old way of life still found today in the villages of Japan’s rural foothills. The chef is also known for his zero-waste practices, which have earned his restaurant a Green Michelin Star.
Since heavily urbanized Singapore has little in the way of a farming culture or local produce, Narisawa will be looking to the rest of Southeast Asia, and even Australasia, for ingredients and inspiration. Half the menu will be made up of signature dishes with a local twist, while the other half will be brand-new creations. These are still in development: the chef reveals that he particularly likes the tropical banana flower, and Western Australia’s marron — a kind of large freshwater crayfish.
What’s clear is that Narisawa’s most famous specialty, Bread of the Forest, will be on the table. Patrons can look forward to seeing an elaborate preparation of yuzu-infused dough slowly rising in front of them, surrounded by a floral wreath, as they dine. The dough is then cooked for 15 minutes in a stone bowl heated to 200°C, and served with his signature “moss” butter featuring powdered parsley and dehydrated black olive.
Drinks-wise, the pairings sound promising. Narisawa will offer Japanese wines and sakes created exclusively for the restaurant. Handpicked items from the latter include Iwa, made by former Dom Pérignon Chef de Cave Richard Geoffroy, and a rare hand-brewed Masuizumi by the Masuda Sake Company.
Held in partnership with Porsche, the Narisawa pop-up is the Mandala Club’s fourth tie-up with a world-famous chef. Previous collaborations were with Mauro Colagreco of Mirazur; Gaggan’s irrepressible Anand Gaggan; Virgilio Martinez of Central, arguably the foremost modern Peruvian restaurant on the planet.
Lunch at Singapore’s Narisawa pop-up is priced from S$518 (US$390), while dinner starts at S$748 (US$560). Non-alcoholic and alcoholic pairings will add another S$70 (US$52) and S$100 (US$75) to the bill, respectively. Mandala Club members have been given first dibs on reservations, which opened to the public only today (February 23). Bookings can be made at mandala.club.