Many of the best restaurants in Japan are notoriously difficult to find and Kanda is no exception to that. Even the Japanese have problems of finding some of the restaurants so make sure to have a good map in Japanese with you to show to a taxi driver unless you do not speak Japanese. Kanda is located in a quiet residential area in the exclusive parts of Moto-Azabu not far from Roppongi in Tokyo. As with several other Japanese restaurants you can forget about any signs to help you and the restaurant is located in the same building as the Chef lives in so it does not look like the typical restaurant entrance, more like you enter someone’s private home.
Chef Patron Hiroyuki Kanda has many years of experience. He worked at the famous Basara restaurant in Tokyo’s Akasaka before he founded his own restaurant in 2004. Kanda’s restaurant became an immediate success. The Chef is specialised in kaiseki, but with a contemporary twist so his cooking is both refined and feels up to date. Hiroyuki Kanda’s cooking is guided by the seasons so you can expect only the freshest ingredients and always according to each season. Just like several of the small top dining establishments in Japan your experience will depend on how many times you visit the restaurant, since they keep track of what you had on previous visits and always make efforts to give you different dishes at each visit. You have three different set-course menus to choose from and the menu is changed daily so you do not know what you will have until you are served. We recommend that you at least choose the second most expensive menu since you then will have Chef Kanda’s beef which is out of this world delicious, especially his beef cheek from Kyushu Island which is a dish to remember for the rest of your life. Kanda’s seafood is of top class as well, the kawahagi sashimi with liver is amongst the best in Tokyo.
A reservation has to be made in advance or you will not have a chance of any of the eight seats at the counter with Chef Kanda behind it, or in the private dining room with six seats. The wooden interior is of absolute top class and the elegant style of the dining room is relaxing and so is the whole dinner experience as well. The atmosphere is a bit more relaxed than several others of the most exclusive restaurants in Japan so even if you do not speak Japanese you will have a pleasant evening with impeccable contemporary kaiseki.
The wines and sakes are beautifully presented in a thick book with one bottle and label presented on each page. There is a wide range of top brands so you will find what you need no matter what it might be, for the perfect pairing to the cuisine. Sommelier Kazumine Hirose does a great job in serving you whatever you please.
Kanda’s presentations of the food and his cooking look simple and are simple sometimes, but executed with extreme precision and skill – it takes perfection for this kind of simplicity.
Written by Andy