Review: INUA.

After a few relaxing days away from the city, we were back in Tokyo for another memorable meal.

INUA, a newly awarded two Michelin starred restaurant, opened their doors in June 2018. Here diners experience a unique mix of Scandinavian cuisine with Japanese seasonal ingredients all while sitting on the 9th floor overlooking Tokyo’s skyline. Chef Thomas Frebel, formerly of Nomapushes the boundaries of food with innovativion and excitement.

Outside Sign.

INUA.

Entrance of INUA.

Once entering INUA, we were escorted to the elevator and went up to the 9th floor where the kitchen and dining room are located.

Beautiful Table Settings.

INUA offers two tasting menus, short and long at different price points and we opted for the longer menu.

Plum Leather with Fresh Aromatic Herbs (8/10).

What a beautiful presentation, almost like a painting. Smooth sweet and tart plum leather, basically like a gourmet fruit roll up, was garnished with numerous herbs. A fun way to start our meal.

New Season Peas with Plum Kernel Cream and Habenero Miso (8.5/10).

These vibrant fresh sweet peas were cooked in their own juices and served with a slightly bitter plum kernel cream. The habanero miso was subtle with just the right amount of heat and umami.

Aerated Monkfish Liver Terrine and Natsuhaze (8-8.5/10).

This was a wild dish where the monkfish liver was made into rectangles that instantly melted in your mouth upon contact. It had to be eaten right away! The texture was something I had never had before. Super creative.

Dried Fallen Fruits (8/10).

This was another fruit leather dish as my supplement as the normal dish on the tasting menu had mushrooms (Tommaso got that dish).

Fresh Peanut Tofu, Black Currant Shoots, and Coriander Stem (8/10).

Who knew you could make tofu out of peanuts?! It was supple and soft and quite delicious.

Quail Egg Wrapped in Salted Cherry Leaf (8/10).

A pop of flavor was hidden inside the delicate aromatic cherry leaf. A delicious bite.

Salmon Roe Herb Salad (9/10).

This was actually another supplement on my menu as the normal dish on the tasting menu had mushrooms. While it might just look like an ordinay salad, the flavor was anything but. The salmon roe had been cured in some way that had the most wonderful intense flavor and texture. With all the various components, the salad was an explosion of flavors. It was easily one of my favorite dishes of the night!

Aged and Smoked Maitake.

Aged and Smoked Maitake with Salted Sakura.

This was the normal dish on the tasting menu, instead of the salad, and Tommy seemed to enjoy it.

Sarunashi Kiwi and Forest Flavors (8/10).

I’ve never seen this type of fruit, a relative to the kiwi, growing in Japan, China, and Korea. It has an unqiue flavor of kiwi with a touch of lychee.

Canistel Tempura with Roasted Yeast (9/10).

Canistel, also known as eggfruit, is grown in Okinawa. Its flesh is almost mousse-like and custardy with a yummy subtle sweet flavor. Lighty tempura fried and seasoned with roasted yeast, this was one of the highlights during the meal.

Seasonal Citrus Cured with Kanzuri (8/10).

This seasonal citrus was similiar to a grapefruit but with a firmer texture and not as juicy. The kanzuri, a Japanese spice mix, offset the natural sweetness of the citrus.

Young Fava Beans with Dried Fruits, Marjoram, and Smoked Parsely (8/10).

Another spectular presentation with fresh fava beans nestled into their pods with an array of garnishes.

Pillow of Koji and Caviar (8.5/10).

This crazy dish blew my mind. Somehow they created a soft pillowy substance made out of koji, a type of fungus used in various Japanese ingredients such as miso and soy. The koji pillow had the softest texture and was topped with a nice dollop of caviar. So fun.

Pumpkin and “Pumpkin Bushi” (9/10).

Another favorite of the night was this dish with variations of pumpkin. The large piece of pumpkin was treated like katsuobushi where the pumpkin was dried. The numerous flavors and textures of the pumpkin was superb.

Nanatsuboshi Rice and Pine Shoots.

Nanatsuboshi Rice and Pine Shoots (8/10).

Nanatsuboshi is a type of rice coming from Hokkaido. Its well balanced flavor paired nicely with the herbaceous notes from the fresh pine shoots.

Frozen Raw Almond Milk with Barrel-Aged Sake (9/10).

Silky almond milk “ice cream” was served with sake and green juniper. With such different flavors, somehow it all came together into a harmonious mixture.

Caramelized Seaweed Millefeuille (9/10).

This was SO cool. Thin shards of seaweed were caramelized with a sweet yet umami taste and made into a vertial millefeuille. Ridiculous and genius.

Fresh Atemoya with Almond Shell-Infused Oil (9/10).

Another ingredient that I’ve never had before was the atemoya fruit, a hybrid of sugar apple and cherimoya. With its tender flesh and hints of vanilla, this fruit was out of this world delicious.

Pinecones Preserved in Honey (7/10).

Their version of petit fours were little pinecones flavored with honey, hibiscus, licorice, and saffron.

Open Kitchen.

What I enjoyed most at INUA was experiencing ingredients and techniques that I’ve never seen or tasted before. It’s not often that I have that feeling since I’ve dined out a lot. While some of the dishes were more thought provoking rather than flavor being the forefront, I admire their exploration and the excitement that comes along with it. It’s without a doubt a fun dining experience that any true foodie would enjoy. Therefore, my rating is a 8/10.

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