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Yama exemplifies the concept of chefs as artists from cuisine to ambience, tableware and glassware. The magic of this place evokes a sense of impending success in the vision to gain the first star in the assiette dessert category. Utterly satiated by the jewels devoured here, you will leave with a sense of expectation and excitement for the next chapter.

Yama is an impossible-to-book dessert restaurant — a style still relatively unknown in Japan. Chef Koichi Katsumata entertains his guests with his unique worldview built on the concept of “okashi na restaurant”. It is a play on the Japanese word for sweets (okashi) that also sounds like the word for odd, because there is nothing conventional here. The star is always the most incredible version of that season's fruit, be it mango, fig, or chestnuts. As the stunning antique tableware is layered with sweet creations, you are drawn in to the live performance. And the flavors are blissful.

Emerging in the popular restaurant district of Ebisu in July 2019, Yama is so hidden you are likely to walk right past the small sign outside on your first visit. Follow the narrow staircase downstairs to behold a brass sign engraved with the character ‘yama’, meaning mountain. The elegant aroma of incense greets you as you open the door, intended to heighten anticipation for the course set to commence. Selected by the chef to suit not only the season but also the weather each day, this day the aroma is called Horikawa River Path by long-established Kyoto incense maker Shoeido.

The restaurant has just six antique rosewood seats along a more than five-meter marble counter and from where guests can view everything. The beautifully placed cutlery was made by a metalworking master and purveyor to the Royal Family of Thailand, and the knives are antique Laguiole with buffalo horn handles, all in motifs of white and gold. The lights hung on the oblique above the counter were made by Oita-based wooden lighting artist Hidetoshi Nakamura from black persimmon timber, with its dark inky grain, which has been lacquered six times.

Chef Katsumata contrasts the concept for his space with the legendary Tournedos Rossini recipe saying rather than foie gras and truffles, it is “foie gras and potato” in which the simplicity of the potato accentuates the luxurious nature of foie gras. He points to the walls, which he shaved himself, saying they are the potatoes, and the marble counter and lamp objet d’art are the foie gras. He is influenced by the European aesthetic of beauty in the incomplete.

The name Yama was inspired by a series of ideas and anecdotes. One is a show of respect for his French training ground, Sola, and another is the location of his hometown on the edge of Mt. Fuji in Yamanashi Prefecture, from where many ingredients are sourced. Finally, the name signifies the chef’s unswerving devotion for elevating his work from the ordinary to higher peaks.



Emotion and surprise

There is emotion and surprise in every dish, allowing you to enjoy Chef Katsumata’s viewpoint, which blurs the line between savory dishes and sweets, and flips on its head all your definitions of cuisine. The elegantly flowing meal leaves no impression of the intense difficulty of composing an entire meal of dessert dishes. Amuse bouche, ice cream, warm dish, granité and main dish – the preparation performance is a feast for the eyes. The non-alcohol pairing course includes herbal teas made by a friend from the chef’s hometown and served in antique wine glasses. Occasionally, such as during peach season, the pairing also includes champagne.

Every two months, Chef Katsumata unveils an incredible course showcasing carefully selected fresh fruits: strawberries in January and February, cherry blossom or citrus in March and April, mangos in May and June, peaches in July and August, figs in September and October, and chestnuts in November and December. The fruit takes center stage, with tasty accompaniments only present to accentuate the fruit.

Perhaps the most well-known of Yama’s dishes is the amuse bouche – a plate of ten migniardise sweet mouthfuls. However, the specialty is most certainly the chef’s fascinating take on a caprese salad, which appears like a savory dish but eats as a delicious dessert. Layered in a unique crystal glass from India, starting from the bottom you will find basil granité, smooth tomato juice, olive oil with salt, and tomato granité.

Ginger and yoghurt ice cream topped with just-made luxuriously smooth mango sauce is served in a stunning Bohemian cut crystal glass atop a mirror. The canvas for the chef’s vacherin is an exquisite Arita-yaki porcelain bowl with a fine gold rim. Atop a glassy mango sauce sits a pure white meringue to which the chef generously layers mango, Kiyomi tangor citrus, and pineapple – a superb balancing act both physically and in flavor. It is all finished with orange zest for an unforgettable aroma that beckons you to dig in.

The delectable chirashi, also available to take home, was inspired by scattered sushi and served in a wooden box typical of that dish. Receiving this breathtaking dish is like opening a gift box to find sparkling jewelry inside: hidden layers of mousse and cream are adorned with precious colorful combinations of either peach and grapefruit, mango and Kiyomi tangor, Shine Muscat green grapes and melon, or Sato Nishiki cherries.

The seasonal ingredients seen in Chef Katsumata’s creations can almost never be found in markets. Not beholden to famous regions or brands, he goes out in search of producers, reaching out to them personally so he can create the ultimate desserts in the distinctive Yama style. Mango is the star from May to June and features the highest quality variety grown by Onitsuka-san in Miyazaki Prefecture. So meticulous is the cultivation that the mangos arrive marked in the order they should be used. They have an exquisite coconut-like aroma and flavor that will make you forever yearn for this variety. Katsumata visits the orchards every year and invites the producers to experience Yama in October after the harvest is complete.

Chestnuts are sourced exclusively from Adachi-san in Tanba, Nakayama-san in Ehime, and Iinuma-san in Ibaraki, with an eye to using aged chestnuts going forward. Herbs arrive at Yama fresh from HERB STAND Presented By MY HERBS, where they are cultivated by the chef’s friend Yuta Hirano, or the fields of the chef’s family home, both located in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi. Found in the foothills of Mt. Fuji, the high elevation and cooler temperatures of the town are ideal for growing high-quality herbs. The assortment includes unusual varieties like the leaves of akamatsu Japanese umbrella pine and kuromoji spice bush, as well as trees like kumayanagi paniculous supplejack and megusuri Nikko maple.

Other key ingredients include organic flour from Tanaka Flour Milling in Yame, Fukuoka; free-range eggs from chickens who roam around mandarin orchards in Saga Prefecture; oil from olive trees in Amakusa, Kumamoto; and salt from Ariake Bay, Saga. Almost every component of every dish is produced in Japan.

Yama cuisine #0
Yama cuisine #1


Koichi Katsumata

Koichi Katsumata was born in Fujiyoshida City, Yamanashi Prefecture, in 1985. He initially had his sights on a local Chinese restaurant during high school, but eventually chose to attend Ecole Tsuji culinary school in Tokyo with a vision to see the bigger world. Immediately after hearing a lecture by Head Pâtissier at the Nagoya Marriot Associa Hotel, Yoshinori Matsushima, Katsumata boldly requested to be allowed to train under him.

His wish came true. For three-and-a-half years Katsumata honed his skills under Matsushima, a winner in the ice carving division at the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie. Katsumata also used those years to study fine arts. In his late 20s, he joined Bistro L’Empreinte in Tokyo’s Marunouchi district on the condition that so long as he completed all his pastry work, he could spend the rest of his time on cuisine. He went on to serve as chef at Marquise in Ginza and further polished his skills at Minami-Aoyama’s En Cachette before leaving for France.

Katsumata found himself first in southern France at Hostellerie Jerome before becoming head pâtissier in December 2015 at the highly acclaimed Sola in Paris, opened by Hiroki Yoshitake. The chance to participate in an event in Switzerland was a painful revelation for Katsumata that his English was not good enough, so he headed to Australia and the kitchens of Melbourne’s Vue de Monde and the Bennelong Restaurant within the iconic Sydney Opera House. That was the last stop before his return to Japan and preparations for opening Yama in Ebisu in July 2019.

To create his elegant masterpieces, Katsumata buries himself away in a café, then goes over the methods countless times in his head while sitting in his office, sometimes for up to six hours at a time. On days off, he frequently visits his hometown of Fujiyoshida.

Chef Katsumata’s vision is very clear: changing the status quo in which it is impossible to head a restaurant from the position of pâtissier. He is devoted to that cause and wants to lead the way and gain a star for the assiette dessert style.


Gracing the restaurant is a stunning collection of incredibly rare and valuable antique glasses and decanters. Katsumata has so many that he rents a separate storage space nearby. First charmed by an encounter with a 130-year-old Baccarat piece, he jokes that his daily motivation is the promise of his next antique purchase. Mainly Baccarat, the collection also includes San Luis and Lobmeyr, many from the turn of the 20th century. The Baccarat decanter with a plum motif was order-made for a Paris antique shop that no longer exists, its address is inscribed on the base. And another eye-catching decanter has the intricate arabesque pattern of Baccarat Michelangelo antique glassware.


12pm-, 3pm-
Yama dessert course in March with 1 take away fruit cake
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
Reservation Request




& UP
Dessert Dining, Ebisu
1F, 6-16-41 Shirokane Minato Tokyo
12PM-, 3PM-, and 6PM (6PM is only on Sat)


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