Hoshinoya, Kyoto: A sylvan paradise

  11/16    Japan

It’s difficult to imagine a more perfect setting for a ryokan experience. Just twenty minutes from the centre of Kyoto, a sublime natural hideaway where the food matches the feeling.

Hinokizaka, Ritz Carlton Tokyo: Master at Work

  10/16    Japan

Hinokizaka in the Ritz Carlton, Tokyo, brings together masters in four separate styles of Japanese cuisine – with the teppanyaki a mesmerizing demonstration of technique.

Rakuichi Niseko

Rakuichi, Sapporo: Sublime soba in the snow

  01/16    Japan

It’s an aesthetically-pleasing circular route from Chitose airport through to Sapporo, down to the mountains of Niseko and back again. The slight detour on the route, however, is more than worth the loss of symmetry for some justly-famous ramen at Rakuichi, a tiny wooden shack with just twelve seats, hidden amongst the snowdrifts. This being ski season and …

Tokyo: world’s greatest food city? My piece for CNN

  11/15    Japan

Tokyo is a gastronome’s paradise – here’s my piece for CNN explaining why: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/12/foodanddrink/tokyo-world-greatest-food-city/ (CNN)When it comes to global culinary centers of excellence, one city stands head and shoulders above the rest — Tokyo. The Japanese capital’s got a mind-blowing 226 Michelin-starred restaurants, leaving it light-years ahead of its nearest rival, Paris, which has a …

Signature, Mandarin Oriental Tokyo: Less is more


Earlier this year, Signature Restaurant at Tokyo’s frankly beautiful Mandarin Oriental Hotel was the hottest culinary ticket on the planet. Rene Redzepi and his band of Merry Men from Noma had decamped from Copenhagen for the ultimate residency, following discussions with the hotel’s GM Anthony Costa. Costa’s vision was perfectly timed and the Noma stint was a …

Japanese convenience store sandwiches – Everywhere, Japan

  08/14    Japan

We all have food fetishes, from banana and marmite on toast to spreading butter on Weetabix. I have more than a few, but one of the more repeatable is my obsession with Japanese convenience store pre-packed sandwiches. Sober or sake’d up, at breakfast or midnight, the fridges of 7-11, Lawson and Circle K Sunkus beckon me …

Daigo, Tokyo: Vegetarian Nirvana

  08/14    Japan     Michelin Stars

 Sometimes photos should do all the talking. This was a dinner last year at the two-starred Daigo in Tokyo’s Kamiyacho. They only serve Buddhist vegetarian cuisine, or shōjin-ryōri. The works of art served up by chef Daisuke Nomura were so numerous that after a while we succumbed and I stopped taking notes to fully immerse …