Japanese restaurant

Discover Kitcho, the Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant in Beijing until November 28

Beijing’s Michelin Guide, now in its second year, has been a point of contention with some diners, who argue it doesn’t fully represent the breadth of the city’s food scene. For example, no Japanese restaurant in the capital has yet received a Michelin star (which is perhaps not so surprising given the high standards of Japanese cuisine and the fact that the Michelin Guide is well established in cities like Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka), even though there are some very high quality restaurants to be found here.

So a pop-up from Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant Kitcho in Taipei is a good opportunity for those of us who can’t leave town right now (essentially everyone) to experience Japanese standards Michelin. Kitcho was first awarded a Michelin star in the 2018 Taipei Michelin Guide and has maintained it ever since. Today, Kitcho’s executive chef/owner Kyo Hsu (Xu Wenjie) braved three weeks of quarantine in Shanghai to join Chef Zhu Chongjie for a four-handed menu event at Aki Restaurant in Central Park Plaza, near from Chaoyang Park.

Aki and Kitcho both specialize in omakasestyle, a Japanese expression which literally means “I leave the choice to you”. Omakase menus are best eaten seated at a counter in front of an open kitchen, and Aki’s beautiful polished Brazilian wood counter allows you to do just that, watching the chefs present you with course after course of beautifully presented morsels of food. And even if we say bites, you’ll be ready to skip lunch the next day because you’ll have over 20 here.

We won’t spoil the whole menu, because part of the joy of eating omakase is waiting to see what the chef presents next (we didn’t receive a printed menu when we tried the food). But suffice it to say, you can expect a wide selection of premium seafood, including United (sea urchin) from Hokkaido and less common sashimi such as mehikari (a kind of tiny deep-sea fish), shima aji (striped plug), and tai (bream). Our personal highlights included two delicate pieces of octopus, hand-massaged for 90 minutes (!) then pressure-cooked, leaving it incredibly tender, and a hand roll filled with ground meat Maguro (red tuna) mixed with marinated yellow radish.

Find Chef Kyo Hsu in the kitchen with Chef Zhu Chongjie in Aki every night (6:30-10pm) through Sunday, November 28. The menu is priced at 2,980 RMB per person.

Now, yes, that’s not an everyday fare, but it’s also not unheard of for fine dining in Beijing. Plus, you’re paying for a face-to-face experience with a Michelin-starred chef using the highest quality imported ingredients to prepare a meal for you. It’s not worth much more than that.

1/F, Building A7, Central Park Plaza, Tianshuiyuan Jie, Chaoyang District (185 1855 4390)
秋日本料理 :朝阳区甜水园街骏豪中央公园广场A7栋1层

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Images: Robynne Tindall, courtesy of Aki