Once in a while you come across a restaurant where the passion the chef has for his cooking just shines through. Le Bonheur, located in Tomigaya not far from Yoyogi Park and the NHK Centre is one such example.
On a recent visit for Sunday lunch I decided to try the "Menu Bonheur" which for 3,800 yen includes an amuse, entree, chef's surprise, main, dessert and coffee. Before doing so, I was offered a glass of sparkling Japanese wine from Yamanashi. This was light red and came with plenty of grape skin dregs - intentionally. Well the wine didn't really work, being way too young and with persistent bitter overtones (and 1,200 yen!), but I rated the daringness of it and this seemed to bode well for the rest of the meal.
My dining partner and I started off with an amuse of a boudin noir tart, which we were told was specially made as we had reserved our table in advance. This creation just kind of pleasantly vaporised in the mouth! This was followed by a "millefeuille" of avocado and zuwari crab served with a flake of cooked parmigiano cheese and roasted chestnuts. This was superb and was followed by the chef's surprise of an excellent, flavourful little risotto with celery and clams.
The main dish (of which we were told we had been given an extra large portion??) was a delightful beef cheek served with potato puree, seasonals mushrooms and jus. This dish was rich as can be and melted in the mouth the way a good beef cheek should.
Dessert for me was a fondant chocolat covered with a crunchy lattice biscuit and caramel ice cream. My dining partner's dessert was a gallette covered with nuts and ice cream and looked even better than mine!
All in all this was a great lunch and I can't wait to go back for dinner. The tiny, hot little bread rolls that kept coming throughout the meal deserve special mention. The waiter was a little bit intrusive but I put this down to his natural enthusiasm and desire to connect with his customers. There's very little to criticise about that! The chef was also very personable and came out to explain the menu himself at the start at said goodbye at the end of the meal - very good manners and much appreciated.