Ino Cantonese Nihonbashi Takase
Chuka Takase is a Chinese restaurant helmed by Kenichi Takase, who has devoted himself to preparing Cantonese cuisine for the last 30 years. Chef Takase is known as a chef who has reached the top echelon of hotel chefs. Many people may remember him as the chef of Sense at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Tokyo, or of Cantonese en Ken Takase at the Tokyo Station Hotel.
While he was accustomed to entertaining large groups of people as the chef at renowned hotels, his own restaurant contrasts with a modest number of seats and a super cozy, intimate atmosphere. The restaurant opened in a brand new building in Nihonbashi in 2022, with the just eight counter seats. There are also six table seats, and though not a completely separate room, it is divided by a large partition to allow for privacy.
Takase’s masterful techniques and lively performance in the open kitchen create theater that is in perfect view from the counter seats, keeping guests entertained. Chef’s culinary experiences at the top hotels are on full display here, from labor-intensive authentic “superior” stock (shang tang) to luxurious, high-quality ingredients like Japanese shark fins and abalones. He transforms them into unforgettable dishes behind the counter.
The astute manager orchestrates the unforgettable, superb service here. The combination of high-level service, masterful cooking, and carefully selected Japanese ingredients creates an affair that is on par with first class hotels. This is an experience that gives value to Cantonese cuisine made in Japan.
The flavors of “Takase’s World.”
Chuka Takase offers only one omakase menu featuring courses that change depending on the season or the market conditions of the day. The omakase dining experience will take approximately two and a half hours, and each course packed with the flavors of “Takase’s World.”
At Chuka Takase, you can savor high-end dried ingredients often used in Chinese cuisine such as shark’s fins, sea cucumbers and swallow’s nests, but also you can also enjoy Japanese fish and seafood such as Tonsen-hata (star grouper or leopard coral trout). This fish has delicious white-flesh that is also highly regarded also in Cantonese cuisine. Freshly steamed Tonsen-hata is one of his signature dishes, served with ginger, spring onions, and a flavorful fish sauce made with fermented tuna.
His way of dressing unagi eel is very unique. He first removes the rib bone, hangs the eel, and flips the flesh inside out. He only uses large eels weighing more than 500 grams. His grilled eel has an extra crispy exterior and exceedingly tender flesh. The dish is often served along with a sauce that has irresistible flavors of sweetened soy sauce and Sichuan peppercorns.
You may notice that he uses a sauce called “JXO jiang”, instead of using Chinese-style XO Jiang. The letter “J” stands for “Japan”, and this original JXO jiang is made with Japanese ingredients such as dried scallops from Hokkaido and dried shrimp from the Seto Island Sea. It has a relatively mild taste, and he likes to use it when he wants to accentuate the flavor of a wok-sautéed dish.
Each of his dishes is quite robust in portion size, and most of the courses are like a main dish. For most dishes, he and the manager believe that a Burgundy is the best pairing, and so the list is Burgundy-centric. Additionally they offer approximately 10 types of Champagne and 10 varieties of Shaoxing wine on the list. Guests may inquire if they would like to request a beverage pairing with the menu.
Chef Takase puts emphasis on incorporating more Japanese ingredients. He sources his fish from Toyosu Market, but he also purchases fish directly from fishermen in Hokkaido, Tokushima, Yamaguchi, or Okinawa. His black abalones come from Yamaguchi, and his Tosei-hata come from Okinawa.
High-end Chinese restaurants in Japan typically use Japanese vegetables, meat, and fish yet use Chinese seasonings and sauces. However, Takase wanted to make his own seasonings and sauces using Japanese ingredients, like his famous “JXO jiang.”
His shark’s fin soup is also one of the signature dishes that is widely known among gourmets. He only uses rare Yoshikiri shark’s fins weighing more than 400 grams. This kind of “top” shark’s fin is very difficult to find now, even at high-end restaurants and hotels.
Superior stock, shang tang, is made with Jinhua ham, lean pork, chicken and bones. He does not add any seasonings like salt or pepper, yet it is aromatic and packed full of comforting umami flavor. It also has a naturally thick consistency, which blankets the beautifully prepared shark’s fin.
The thick fibers of cooked shark’s fin that glisten in the amber colored soup are often described as “golden threads”. You can tell just by looking at Takase’s dish that his shark’s fin soup is the best of the best, and it is no wonder that there are so many repeat customers who come to the restaurant to specifically to enjoy this dish.
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥8,000
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥8,000