Nope. Japanese remains on the top of the list of my favourite foods. But still, Peruvian restaurants are gaining ground all over the world, and this is probably due to the amazing flavours of the Peruvian cuisine. Generous, tasty, spicy and crispy just as it should…
These are the incredible qualities I discovered about it when I had lunch at Matsuhisa a few weeks ago.
What makes Matsuhisa so attractive on the paper is first the ‘Japanese-Peruvian’ status it claims; something we are not used to see here, in Paris. But it’s also the shimmering titles of the dishes, in which Jalapeño 🌶 meets miso, shiso, Matcha and some other Japanese foodstuffs that I love.
I used to deplore the fact that there wasn’t any Nobu restaurant in Paris, until Matsuhisa arrived. They settled in one of my favourite palaces in town, le Royal Monceau. It’s been there for more than six months already, and I just couldn’t wait to finally taste it, being a fervent addict to the Sunday Brunch of the same hotel (of which you can read the article here).
So I skip the drinks part, I simply ordered a classical Genmaicha tea (which is a green tea made with puffed rice, for those who don’t know it yet). Plus, I must point out that besides the sakes, the drinks choice is quite reduced. But we are not going to make it a big deal: what’s next is surely outstanding enough for this mistake to be forgiven.
The concept is easy: each dish is supposed be shared with all the table, which means you can end up with six or seven dishes just with the first and the main courses. You can either let the chief decide of your meal, or not trusting him and decide for yourself. Since it was my first time there and I didn’t know this kind of cuisine yet, I chose to rely on the chief.
A PERFECT OMAKASE MEAL
While waiting for the dishes, I had probably the best edamame I ever had : it was served slightly hot with some fleur de sel on top of it, and inside, the green soybeans were a bit crunchy, just the way it should. It was like perfectly al dente pastas…
The first dish was a salmon tataki with a (fantastic) miso mustard dressing. The tataki is a Japanese preparation that consists of seizing a fish or meat very quickly so that the heart remains raw. (And miso is a fermented soybeans paste.)
The second dish was a seabass sashimi with dry and crispy miso. I think this is the dish I enjoyed the most in the whole meal, for was both crunchy and soft, spicy and sweet, light and addictive. I could have eaten thousands of those.
The next dish was crispy rice in cube served with a kind of tuna tartare. It was so hot that I almost lost my tongue when I ate it at first. Still very good, of course. But maybe a bit too satiating and frankly not as tasteful as the previous courses.
A big salad of spinach with dry miso (again! But still a delight) came to our table while we were eating the rice cubes. Hopefully it could bring an ounce of freshness into my mouth.
Afterwards came another fabulous dish:
It looks like gnocchi but it actually is (you won’t believe it) rock shrimps tempura, creamy spicy! So sweet, generous and… I dont know what to add more! It’s just fantastic.
Then it was finally time for the main courses. You might wonder how I could still manage to eat something at this stage (and myself still don’t know how I actually could) but I came to realize that when at four on one dish, the portions are not as huge in your stomach as they would seem under your eyes.
The first main course was a saikyo-yaki cod (made with miso and yuzu) and served with radish pickles. Once more was incredibly tasty, the fish was wonderfully caramelized and soft and yet not too sweet. The little radish (I can’t remember what sort of radish it really was…) was juicy, tart and fresh, like a kind of salted sugar cane.
The following dish was a piece of the famous some black Angus beef, with an anticucho sauce (a Pre-colombian sauce). To be honest, I didn’t exactly get the concept: why were there three sauces? All I know is that there was one soft, one mid-spicy and anot her very spicy. I think this dish was not necessary: there was not any new flavour, nor particular taste.
We ended with an assortment of sushis and California rolls, which is a must-do when you are in such a high-qualitative Japanese restaurant. As I presumed, the sushis were excellent. Extremely fresh fish and well-prepared fish, perfectly sticky rice. I especially enjoyed the Tamago sushi (the Japanese omelette), which was smooth, sweet, rather warm and fluffy like a sponge. The California were not exceptional, but still better than all the ones you might find in a classical sushi shop. (The wasabi was tip top, too)
And then we ordered the desserts. I had a deliciously fresh hibiscus tapioca with lychee and grapefruit and an excellent grapefruit sorbet. I usually don’t like eating ice creams or sorbets (1. My teeth are too sensitive. 2. I just don’t like it), but I asert that this one was exceptionally good. Not only that was a refreshing and boosting dessert, but also I felt like a hundred of little sweet fish eggs were exploding into my mouth at the same time.
We also had some mochi (bean paste flavoured with various flavours among which green tea, yuzu or cherry flower, and filled with ice cream). Although this has never been my favourite dessert, these ones were quite good.
In conclusion, Matsuhisa is absolutely worth the try! And since this Japanese-Peruvian cuisine has conquered my heart, I will certainly come back soon! Moreover, the waiters are really nice and attentive to their clients. I could eat there every single day!
>> So, are you convinced about the power of multicultural food?