We had no inkling of this – and nor, I suspect did he – when we dropped in for dinner last week. As usual, we had a really fine meal.
We nibbled on plump juicy jumbo olives until our first course arrived. Like all the dishes, the charcuterie platter is intended to be shared between two. It includes jambon cru, salami, pâté and a tranche of really good terrine – plus Harakawa's tasty home-made pickles (all made with vegetables from the Kamakura farmers' market).
As a main course, we shared the grilled duck breast, which came with lightly pan-fried whole negi onions and white beans.
Dessert was a choice between semifreddo or fruit with ice cream. Instead, I had a snifter of Vin Cuit. As always, it was a really excellent meal.
Harakawa is part of a new generation of Japanese chefs who have been inspired by the produce and easygoing ethos of California cooking – and by Alice Waters in particular.
It's not just that they use quality natural ingredients and seasonings to produce simple, satisfying food. They also recognize that the setting is just as important for nourishing the heart and spirit along with the taste buds and stomach.
Back in June, when I wrote up Yuri Nomura's restaurant, Eatrip in Harajuku – another place in a very similar vein – Shin-san had this to say: “It’s a complete atmosphere: good vibes, happy food, music, flowers, the staff, everything. Eatrip convinces me that a restaurant is not just what is on the plate: It is a space to share the moment together.”
You could say exactly the same about Beard.
This is the magazine cover: it's available here and there around Tokyo. Including, of course, at the Monocle Café in Yurakucho.