Hakunei main image




Opening its doors in 2023, Hakunei is the latest addition to the top fine-dining group led by Ryoji Hayashi, the restaurateur behind the successes of Sazenka, Myojaku and Ippei Hanten. From flan de foie gras to straw-smoked venison, the 26-year old head chef Dai Hayashi showcases his delicate modern French cuisine using high quality ingredients. Just within a few months, the restaurant has garnered a following of gourmands, fueling great expectations for its potential.

With no visible signs outside, Hakunei is hidden away in a quiet residential neighborhood in Nishi Azabu. When you enter the building, you will step into a waiting area that feels like a private study. You will spot a white stone plate with the restaurant’s name at the back of the room, the first sign that you are in the right place. Follow the carpeted stairway down to the basement to reach the dining area.

Taking on the property that used to house CHIUnE, the interior of the restaurant is chic and elegant. Using only white and creamy colors, the room has a gentle air. The wide counter, made of quality hinoki wood, seats just 8 lucky guests. Inside the spacious open kitchen, the team of young chefs busily prepare the meal.

“I’m constantly asking myself, why did I come up with this dish?” Hayashi explains his thoughtful approach. Every dish is made with a very clear intention, he adds. Just within a few months of opening, the restaurant has impressed gourmands with its unique omakase menu. Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and the hospitality of the friendly chef and the English-speaking staff.



Each plate makes way for the next

Behind every dish is an intention, Hayashi explains. Using high quality ingredients, he puts together a seasonal menu that changes every couple of months. Some dishes are more delicate, while others more bold. Each plate makes way for the next, weaving the meal together as a single experience.

The first thing that is served in front of you is a cup of clear soup. Poured into a small antique teacup, the consommé melds together the aroma of kelp, Shamo chicken and vegetables. Made with water from the hot springs, the fragrant soup gently warms your stomach. The turnip is soft and juicy, boiled once and then soaked again in the broth.

“The celery and apple sorbet could’ve been a salad but I deliberately made it into a sorbet because you can extract the best flavor of the celery that way,” he explains. The sorbet combines celery leaves and stems with applesauce and juniper berries.

The foie gras flan showcases the chef’s high-level craftsmanship. He uses fragrant bonito stock to lift the heaviness of the foie gras, which gives the dish an elegant taste. The shaved chestnuts add a light texture.

The spring rolls add a twist to classic French ingredients. Filled with red sea bream, mushroom and lardo, the rolls are packed with a mix of rich flavors. Enjoy one roll as is and the other with a lobster and red wine sauce.

The main course of the day is straw-smoked venison, a dish inspired by a traditional bonito grill. The meat is cooked carefully by taking it in and out of a scorching oven to control the heat. Served with some Japanese peppercorns, the shiny plum sauce brings out the umami of the meat even further.

The dessert is a classic mille crepe, a signature dish by the pastry chef. The cake is made of 30 perfectly-aligned layers, each bite soft and creamy. The sauce of the day, which changes with the season, is made of strawberry and yuzu. “We try to use as little butter and oil in our dishes as possible so guests can enjoy our entire meal, all the way to desserts,” the chef says.

Fresh seasonal ingredients are sourced from the Toyosu market as well as directly from growers across the country. Many vegetables come from Tochigi Prefecture while the fish are sent from Kyoto, Shizuoka and Kanazawa. The chef places great importance not only on the quality of the produce but on the relationship with the producers.

Hakunei cuisine #0
Hakunei cuisine #1


Dai Hayashi

Hayashi Dai was born in Saitama in 1997. He started to want to become a chef in middle school and went onto study cooking. He was in his second year of high school when he found his passion for French cuisine. Later, he spent a year learning from Hiroyasu Kawate, the chef of Florilège, and three years with Kenta Kayama of Margotto e Baciare. He also trained with Koichi Katsumata of the famous dessert restaurant Yama, where he learned the way of serving guests at a counter.

It was always his dream to open his restaurant at age 28 but he managed to land on that milestone two years earlier. He also became a father the year Hakunei opened, marking the start of a new life stage for him. As head chef, he is constantly revising and evolving the menu while asking himself what his intentions are.

“When I’m standing in the kitchen, it doesn’t matter how young I am,” he says. “I can’t serve my guests with just my energy. I want to make sure my cuisine and service are of the highest quality.”

Being as young as 26, Hayashi says he wants to be a start of a new trend where more young chefs are inspired to own their own restaurants. He also used to want to move abroad but he is now drawn to the idea of exploring different regions in Japan. He hopes that his continuous commitment to learning will help expand the potential of his cuisine.


The restaurant stocks a selective collection of fine wines that pair well with Hakunei’s delicate cuisine. In particular, they recommend Burgundy for the gorgeous fragrance and lightness, and aged Champagne for its complexity. Since aroma is a big focus in the cuisine, we’re particular about the aroma of the wines we serve, the chef says.


5PM-, 8:15PM-
Hakunei omakase course
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
Reservation Request




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Innovative, Nishiazabu
B1F, 4-9-11 Nishiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo
5PM- , 8:15PM-
Sunday and holidays


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