Review: Kojyu

2 March 2017

I had a very busy afternoon that took me to various parts of town, which was somewhat complicated by the downpour in Tokyo. But got a few things done and I had just a minute back at my hotel (the fabulous Park Hotel Tokyo, which always does wonders for my restaurant bookings! Totally recommended!) before I had to go back out in the rain for dinner.

A bit of a walk to the tail end of Ginza for tonight’s dinner at Kojyu, a 2-Michelin kaiseki place that has rather mixed reviews. It was formerly a 3-star, and some rather nasty stuff I’ve read online probably didn’t help the retention. I’ve had some very mediocre kaiseki experiences in Ginza, such as the questionable 2-Michelin Okamoto, so I was a little weary.

I probably shouldn’t have been. The counter filled up at the opening hour, and the kaiseki course was served at the same time to all the diners. First up was a very nice item focused on the hamaguri.


Tasty clam, though the variety of vegetables here was the star of this dish. Everything, from radish to fiddlehead fern was delicious, working well with the meaty clam. An excellent start! As I enjoyed more sake the second dish arrived, sayuri (halfbeak).


Again, excellent, with some tasty greens on the side. I relaxed and felt I was gonna be in good hands all night. I can see why many foreign chefs like this place, as it combines simplicity with bringing out the best of natural flavours — like those vegetables. Next up was the soup dish.


Mmmm, hotate (scallops). Again, excellent flavour in the broth, which is a given, and a lot of nice veggies again. Another good dish. I see Chef Toru Okuda prepping the sashimi dish and although it looked fantastic, my heart sank at one point, and you’ll see why…


Yeah…the edible gold on the lobster. Totally unnecessary, I scraped it off. And the sashimi — saba (mackerel) and fugu were mediocre… Still, that gold…just…why? This marked a bit of a downturn in the evening…

At this point I asked for my sake to be omakase as well, so that changed a little. For awhile now we’ve enjoyed the aroma from the charcoal grill off to the side and the next dish was a joy for the nose certainly…


My favourite fish, nodoguro. Accented by that charred green onion, all topped by a healthy fugu no shirako. Sadly, the onion was the best thing on this dish, lovely deep flavours here. The shirako was a little cool, not burning hot like this morning at Masuda, and it was harder to eat as the skin had almost become rubbery. And worse, the nodoguro was utterly overcooked. Very disappointed at this dish, it could have been such a star, could have been a dish of the year, but nope…

That worried me as the next dish also came from the grill, and I think chef noticed people’s less-than-joyful reaction to that dish he personally took over the grilling from his assistant (who sadly screwed up the timing on the last dish). Then it was presented, unagi.


Oh my these were perfect. Things picking up again! A possible dish of the year here. These are thick as heck, with amazing flavour that just oozes with every chew. And grilled just perfectly. Wow… Chef smiled at our reaction…

A new sake was presented for the next course, which required a mini shabu-shabu set at each space. And the dish arrived, something so rarely seen in Japan.


Wild duck. Oh my this was so good. Just a quick zap and wow… So good…I could have eaten this duck all night… The broth was then poured for us into a bowl and that was a tasty treat too. Wow, 2 amazing dishes in a row, what will the final rice dish bring?


Well, back down to earth a bit. Cute design and I like wee citrus meshing into the rice, but it wasn’t too exciting. The seafood was nice, but felt disconnected with the rice. Nowhere as good as the rice at Ichi last night. Then a closing dessert…


A pretty good combo, from strawberries to a good caramel, and a nice yuzu sorbet. A good close. A pricey kaiseki, though partly due to the sake, but a pretty good one. Some hiccups, from the edible gold to the overcooked nodoguro, but the unagi and duck was beyond joyful to experience. And the start the veggies were fantastic. So I would still recommend this place, though with a bit of an asterisk.

Kojyu [小十]
4F, Carioca Building
5-4-8 Ginza, Chuo-ku
Tokyo, Japan

* And stupid me, I went a block away to the fabulous Bar High Five and drank for a few hours. Was good to see Ueno San, but I had a long day coming and having several cocktails was not gonna help…


One thought on “Review: Kojyu

  1. Pingback: Review: Bettei | melhuang1972

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