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Tokyo

ESqUISSE

エスキス

Progressive, elegant French cuisine comprised of dishes dense with Japan’s charms and the rich sensibilities of a chef who feels at home both in France and Japan. Chef Beccat has the techniques and heart to take even peculiarly Japanese ingredients and create dishes that are a true expression of himself and his philosophy. Often described as pure, the cuisine simultaneously conveys sincerity and each ingredient’s presence, offering a dining experience that leaves guests feeling blessed and refreshed.

Esquisse has entertained a steady stream of Japanese and overseas guests since opening in 2012 under acclaimed chef Lionel Beccat, who has earned his place as one of Japan’s premier chefs. The restaurant resides high in a building on a narrow, tree-lined street in Ginza. After alighting from the elevator, the receptionists will guide you to a lovely round table with inviting chairs in a dining room offering plenty of privacy. For groups of up to twelve, an impeccable private room awaits. By day, the mood is light and refreshing. After nightfall, the dining room has a distinctive tranquil atmosphere.

Esquisse is the French word for sketch, and the choice is intended to express unrestrained sensibility. That sentiment is channeled through the cuisine, wine, hospitality and the interior. The restaurant underwent renovations and reopened in 2019, keeping the pure, refreshing feeling of the interior while adopting a more chic style that conveys a greater sense of the earth’s power. The feature wall was produced by traditional plaster artisan Naoki Kusumi, who plastered five or six layers to create density before shaving the surface to reveal the sand and pebbles within. Artwork in the entranceway uses soil to express how nature blesses us with calm and quietude but also brings tempest.

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CUISINE

Progressive and elegant

The cuisine at Esquisse offers a window into Japan that foreign guests may not experience with Japanese cuisine. This progressive, elegant cuisine is peerless, with roots in French techniques and traditions, but featuring Japanese produce and methods. Aromas carried on the mistral—the Mediterranean breeze—are the foundation of Chef Beccat’s cooking. Characterized by citrus, spices, and herbal accents, the cuisine at Esquisse is simple, delicate, and poetic. Even the menu reads like a poem soothing guests before they take their first bite. Each dish, prepared and plated by human hands, appears as a snapshot of nature, driven not by movement but rather by quietude, with a rich expression of the vitality of the produce.

An Esquisse course begins with a glass of champagne before journeying through seven dishes, cheese, bread, mineral water, pre-dessert, dessert, coffee and sweets, and a souvenir to take home. The cuisine typically changes monthly, but some dishes only stay on the menu for two weeks, depending on the availability of ingredients. Beccat takes inspiration from his travels, artwork, history, daily living, and more. He describes his sense of place or terroir as three-fold: Japan, France, and self. His work is a constant exploration of the three. It is a challenge for guests to cover the breadth and depth of Japan in their travels, but Beccat hopes a visit to Ginza for his cuisine instills a sense of regions they are yet to discover.

Sansai wild mountain vegetables are unique to Japan and feature in a dish heralding spring that is dear to many guests. The gentle notes of bitterness come from bamboo shoots and sansai, like butterbur shoots, served alongside pig’s feet and a sauce poured at the table. For 12 years, Beccat never used sansai in his cooking, but he ate them every year and committed the flavors to his food memory file. As he takes an active, not passive, approach to cooking, he lets the produce speak to his senses and gently ruminates on dish ideas. He places great importance on accentuating an ingredient’s voice, and after a great deal of introspection, he now feels that sansai are to the Japanese what mushrooms are to the French.

An entirely white plate of food accented by white elderflowers features squid, turnip and kinome Japanese pepper tree buds. A puree resides beneath an ephemeral foam. The total absence of color allows guests to experience an exciting array of textures. The WONDERS OF NOTO dish is like an artist’s canvas, painted with an array of incredible wild and farmed vegetables from the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture.

Exquisitely cooked kinmedai splendid alfonsino fish demonstrates the chef’s meticulous calculations as he cooks, served with a trio of carrot preparations. The pigeon is, at once, delicate and impactful, with gentle flavors that leave a deep impression. It appears on the Esquisse menu as the seasons shift, just before summer and winter, always with a unique touch that expresses that specific moment. Marinated in masala and roasted to perfection with fennel, coriander and spice aromas, it was recently served with Satonishiki Japanese cherries. The desserts, reminiscent of jewels and bouquets, are almost too beautiful to devour. They feature stunning and elaborate combinations of berries, cream and elderflower.

INGREDIENTS
Esquisse’s cuisine features an enormous array of ingredients supplied by dear producer friends from the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture. The pigeon, however, is flown in from France’s Racan – a personal favorite of the chef. Beccat is an expert on Japanese regions and their specialty ingredients, sourcing bamboo shoots from Kyoto and citrus from Ehime and Wakayama. Winter fish stocks come from Kanazawa and Hokkaido. Beccat firmly believes the produce is the star, not the chef, expounding on his philosophy that once a dish is placed on the table, it belongs to the guest.

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ESqUISSE cuisine #1

CHEF

Lionel Beccat

Lionel Beccat was born on the French island of Corsica in 1976 and raised in Marseille. He remembers playing to his heart's content in the garrigue landscape, known for its distinctive aroma due to the abundance of aromatic herbs like thyme and rosemary. He tossed pine cones and played hide-and-seek all day, and those herbaceous aromas and the smell of tree sap on his hands and clothes are the memories that define his cuisine today. Moments cooking in the kitchen with his mother and grandmother taught him happiness, stimulation, a sense of tension, and most importantly, the joy of seeing someone eat your food. Beccat embarked on a career in cuisine at age 20. In 1997, he joined Le Central, the Michel Troisgros brasserie and later honed his culinary skills at the highly acclaimed Guy Lassausaie and Petrossian. He served as sous chef for Maison Troigros from 2002 until his 2006 appointment as executive chef of Cuisine[s] Michel Troisgros in Tokyo – a role he held for five-and-a-half years. In 2011, Beccat was honored with the French National Order of Agricultural Merit. He became executive chef at Ginza's Esquisse in 2012 and won the prestigious Gault & Millau Chef of the Year award in 2018. His activities are far-reaching, from a 2019 photography exhibition, “TRANSVERSALITÉ”, to the 2021 publication “Cuisine of Esquisse”.

VISION
Beccat speaks emphatically about his wish to support people suffering from January 2024 earthquake in the Noto Peninsula, home to many producers who serve his restaurant and with whom he has held collaborative events over the years. He considers the region a second home, such is the strength of those connections. Beccat contemplates his role as a chef and expresses a deep need to be gentle to the environment that nurtures us. He is also passionate about paving the way for young people to succeed and facilitating change so female chefs can play more active roles in the culinary space.

WINE

General Manager Eiji Wakabayashi has Beccat’s complete trust when it comes to wine service. Wakabayashi has worked at the restaurant since it opened in 2012, starting as the Chef Sommelier. The years before and since have brought a series of awards and recognitions to punctuate his glittering resume, highlights of which include the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne 2009, Chevalier 2012 Officier, and the Gault & Millau 2023 Sommelier of the Year. Wakabayashi offers tidbits of the restaurant’s philosophy throughout the meal, pairing umami-rich wines with Beccat’s cuisine, which he characterizes as delicate, aromatic and well-balanced. Guests may choose between four and six glasses in total for alcohol and non-alcohol pairing courses, and Wakabayashi is happy to intersperse the meal with Japanese wines and sake that many foreign guests desire to taste. While playing a supporting role in the dining experience, he believes wine has the power to complete a guest’s journey to Esquisse.

Course

LUNCH (12PM-1PM last entry)
ESqUISSE Lunch only 6 courses menu
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
¥34,000
¥34,000
Reservation Request
DINNER (6PM-8PM Last Entry)
ESqUISSE 6 courses dinner menu
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
¥43,000
¥43,000
Reservation Request
DINNER (6PM-8PM Last Entry)
ESqUISSE 7 courses dinner menu
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
¥50,000
¥50,000
Reservation Request

Tokyo

ESqUISSE

エスキス

PRICE
¥34,000
~
CHILD
12
& UP
LUNCH
OPEN
MIN GUESTS
1
PERSON
~
GENRE
French, Ginza
ADDRESS
9F, 5 Chome-4-6 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan
OPEN
Lunch:12PM-1PM (Last Entry), Dinner: 6PM-8PM (Last Entry)
CLOSED
Irregular
URL
NA
PHONE
NA

RESERVATION

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