Fureika, Higashi-Azabu 富麗華 東麻布

Fureika is the fussiest Chinese restaurant I have ever been to. Nothing is brought straight to the table. Rather, like an air-express freight logistics hub, food is brought from the kitchen to a special counter where deliveries are separated, put onto separate plates and sent to their final destinations. This is even done with the tea, which is filled and refilled at this special station in the dining room. I watched, fascinated at this spectacle of process management. The way the food is served is also impeccable. I have never had tea served as gracefully in a Chinese restaurant before. Not a drop even came close to the tablecloth!

For 3,300 yen you can order a yum-cha set for lunch. There are more expensive sets available such as a 6,000 yen shark-fin lunch set. I think that is a lot to pay for a lunch set at a Chinese restaurant but then again Fureika has earned itself a Michelin star. With the curtains closed the elegant dining room is quite dark but this created a quite nice atmosphere on a blazing hot summer's day. The trio of ladies striking up some Chinese tunes now and again also added to the soothing atmosphere.

But I did not come for the atmosphere or the logistics. The first item on the set was a plate with a few small pieces of barbecued pork and a couple of small pieces of cucumber. My dining partner speculated that this was the "amuse", but I had to confirm that this was indeed the first course. This was followed by a fried prawn croquette, a small fried radish cake and a steamer with a shu mai, prawn dumpling and vegetable dumpling. Whilst the dumplings and radish were good, the prawn croquette was the best I have tasted. This was followed by asparagus in special sauce. On the way to the serving station the chef came out and showed us the plate of green asparagus which looked rather modest. We were actually wondering where the other plate was, but to our surprise, this was divided into two before it was served to us. It was at this moment that it really hit us. This place is kind of stingy. After that came a small dish of yakisoba. The final act was a dessert which was a black sesame pudding.

I'm afraid to say that, even permitting for the divine prawn croquette, I was a little disappointed. Not in the quality of the food, which is very high, or the service, which is lovely, or in the overall setting or level of refinement. There just isn't enough food. I really am not the kind of person that thinks you need an enormous serving to call it a good lunch or dinner. I am far more interested in the quality than the quantity of food. But these servings of very typical Chinese dishes felt like rations, and Michelin star or not, I'm not sure that's the way to do it.

中国飯店 富麗華 (南麻布)





Tel: 03-5561-7788


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