Toufuya Ukai, part of the Ukai group, has only been open since 2007, in stark contrast to the many restaurants in Tokyo boasting long and storied histories. It is, nonetheless, close to a must-visit on any trip to the Japanese capital these days. Sitting at the foot of the Tokyo Tower, one enters through a beautiful Japanese garden, to be greeted by a kimono-clad hostess at the door of an Edo-style mansion. The restaurant is not small – it seats 550 people, and yet is so popular that advance booking is a necessity – ask for a table on the second floor overlooking the garden for the best views.
5 different set menus are offered, 3 all-day menus, and 2 lunch-only menus, with prices ranging from ¥5,500 for the cheapest lunch menu to ¥12,600 for the most expensive all-day menu. We opted for the more expensive of the two lunch menus, the “Matsu Course” at ¥6,500:
Lotus root cake
Deep fried Tofu with sweet miso sauce and omelette roll
Simmered; Tofu and ball crab
Salmon roe and Japanese pickles, Shrimp with covered rice crackers & Mushroom and turnip leaves
Tofu in seasoned soy milk
Grilled salmon with miso
Boiled rice with sweet potato
Sweet bean soup
The underlying theme of the meal was one of breathtaking lightness and sereneness, very much in keeping with the setting of the restaurant. The star of the show was undoubtedly the tofu – freshly made, wonderfully fragrant and so pure. Almost every dish, even the simple Boiled rice with sweet potato, was outstanding. The only disappointment was the sashimi course, especially after breakfast at Sushi Dai that same morning, but one doesn’t go to Toufuya Ukai for the raw fish so I was happy to give them a pass for that, especially when the other dishes were so exceptional. My personal favourites were the Deep fried Tofu with sweet miso sauce and omelette roll, our first taste of the lovely tofu, crisply deep fried, brilliantly complemented by the sweet miso sauce; the trio of Salmon roe and Japanese pickles, Shrimp with covered rice crackers & Mushroom and turnip leaves; and the simplest of all the dishes, Tofu in seasoned soy milk, showcasing the tofu in its purest form.
In a nutshell…
Sensational setting, superb quality tofu, fantastic meal.
4-4-13 Shiba-Koen, Minato-ku, Tokyo
+81 03 34361028
Average Price: ¥10,000
1 Michelin Star