LEXUS meets DAICHI TAJIMA
A bistro offering a new Tokyo dining experience full of surprise and discovery
Food director Daichi Tajima is on the cutting edge of Tokyo’s innovative dining scene, having developed unique menus and started up numerous restaurants, including “kongtong,” a hidden gem tucked away in a corner of the Mishuku district, and “content,” in the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art. For INTERSECT BY LEXUS, he has produced the bistro on the second floor, where the cuisine embodies LEXUS vision of the true essence of Tokyo and each dish serves up a unique dining experience.
The INTERSECT Bistro offers a varied and original menu of around 30 items. Dishes include a green acqua pazza with fish and seasonal vegetables served in a spinach-based sauce, and western-style chopped kabayaki eel on rice.
One of the Bistro’s themes is to offer a new Tokyo dining experience full of surprise and discovery. “It is not food that can be found just anywhere, yet it is also not overly avant-garde either,” says Tajima. “With casual ingenuity and an intuitive feel for combining ingredients to produce exquisite tastes, our recipes result in dishes sprinkled with an essence of the unexpected.”
A serving of Tokyo’s diverse culture
Reflecting on the INTERSECT concept during his development of the menu, Tajima finally arrived at two key words, “bistro” and “diner.” In its original incarnation, a bistro is a small restaurant serving French home-style cuisine. A diner, meanwhile, is a casual roadside cafeteria-type establishment that links food and car culture, characteristic of the United States. “I wanted to fuse the elements of these two dining styles, combining casualness and refinement into something that matched the ambience of Tokyo’s chic Aoyama district while also creating a true Tokyo-like vibe in which people and culture interact freely,” he explains.
Tajima originally came up with about 100 dishes that he felt fitted the image he wanted for the bistro. Through repeated experimentation, he then refined his recipes. Lunch specials cover various cuisines, including French and Italian, while offering main dish choices of meat, fish or vegetarian. For example, a French-styled main course accompanied by a side dish of Japanese rice is one of several combinations that represent the cultural diversity found throughout Tokyo. The menu is a mixture of different tastes and expresses the hugely diverse food culture of Tokyo. “Food from a wide range of countries can be eaten at the bistro,” says Tajima.
The basis of these original dishes packed with Tokyo authenticity is grounded in Tajima’s recollection of many delicious dishes he has tasted from around the world. The INTERSECT Bistro is a lounge-like environment where visitors can enjoy food and drink in a style of their pleasing. “Whether it’s a cup of coffee, a complete meal, or a casual cocktail, I wanted to create a comfortable, easily accessible space that will provide lasting memories to anyone who feels like dropping by,” explains Tajima.
A constantly evolving menu connected to people
Seasonality is a key word for the ingredients used at the INTERSECT Bistro. While sourcing domestic ham, olives and other ingredients in tune with the concept of local production for local consumption, the bistro also builds meaningful relationships between people in the procurement of its ingredients. Using trusted ingredients from farmers who are known personally and maximizing their natural flavors in each dish is a distinct characteristic of the bistro’s cuisine.
“In addition to the ingredients, the tableware and the space itself also contribute to the taste of the dish,” says Tajima. “The interior designed by Masamichi Katayama also provided inspiration while I was thinking about the menu.” The bistro’s original tableware, jointly developed with the lifestyle goods brand SyuRo, led by Masuko Unayama, plays an important role in accentuating the enjoyment of the meal. A simple design of grey and white has been used to highlight the attractiveness of the various dishes.
Appropriately matched tableware and menu items ensure the bistro can always offer its guests culinary presentations that are pleasing to the eye and enhance the overall dining experience.“At a restaurant, the menu and the space itself are things that evolve along with the clientele,” explains Tajima. “I will constantly strive to create menus that connect to the guests that come.”
Director of GARLAND Co., Ltd. and owner and chef of the restaurants “kongtong” and “content.” In 2000, after working as a chef in various hotels and restaurants, he established himself as a food producer. In 2003, he opened “kongtong,” a diner serving modern Western cuisine in the Mishuku district of Tokyo. In 2009, he opened the restaurant “content” in the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art. In 2012, as a food consultant, he produced food and drink for the “Taste AND Sense” cafe connected to the popular “1LDK” lifestyle shop in Nakameguro, Tokyo. From contributing content to magazines to producing restaurants, Tajima has been, and continues to be, involved in a diverse range of activities related to food.