The Japanese chef Toru Okuda is used to Michelin stars. Since the first Japanese edition of the Michelin Guide was published in 2007, his signature restaurant Ginza Kojyu has continuously been awarded three stars. In 2012, when he launched Ginza Okuda nearby, it gained two stars within four months of opening. So it comes as no surprise that Okuda Paris – which opened without fanfare in October 2013 – has just six months later been given its first Michelin star. ‘Just one?’ might be the most appropriate reaction.

A look at Okuda’s most restaurant, his first outside of Tokyo, reveals what the fuss is about. Okuda Paris is a tiny kaiseki (a traditional Japanese format where only one menu of a series of small dishes is served) in the smart eighth arrondissement. With room for just 23 diners across the bar, private dining room for four or in the kitchen, the space itself is beautiful but simple – a timber counter, tatami mat floors and discreet furniture. This is a restaurant where the focus is on the food.

And what about that food! A series of appetizers (think sea bass with Miso-Yuan, fried avocado, sweet potato and lemon), soup (crab with mushrooms), sashimi (Okuda works with a Breton fishery to ensure freshness) and a three-course dessert (stewed peach with peach sorbet) is typical of the menu that even at lunch requires nearly two hours.

The flavours are subtle and the provenance undisputed –Okuda is at pains to work with local producers such as Nantes-based farmer Olivier Durand for vegetables and the famous Paris butcher Hugo Desnoyer. Just as important is Okuda’s exquisite presentation – dishes such as red mullet tempura with Japanese biscuit powder are miniature works of art.

In food obsessed Paris, where for years the culinary scene has been ruled by French gastronomic titans (Yannick Alleno, Alain Ducasse et al) and more recently by the young inventors of the “neo-bistro” in the east of the city (Inaki Aizpitarte of Chateaubriand, Bertrand Grébaut of Septime etc), Okuda is fresh in every sense of the word.




7 Rue de la Trémoille, 75008 Paris
+33 1 40 70 19 19
www.okuda.fr

Okuda is extremely popular and reservations in advance are essential
Lunch €150
Dinner €220