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Kamikozawa-tei

Commissioned and built in the early 1960s by a university professor, a German specialist, it remained his private home for half a century. Recently, he became unable to maintain it, so his relatives decided the best way to preserve this architectural gem was to convert it into an exclusive boutique restaurant. Named simply after the family name, Kamikozawa, and managed by the owner’s nephew, it opened discreetly late last year to minimal fanfare.

The menu at Kamikozawa-tei is as simple and uncluttered as the building itself. The specialty of the house is shabu-shabu, prepared with beef from premium Omi wagyu cattle. This serves as the focal point of dinner at Kamikozawa-tei. As we soon found out, though, the same beef features prominently throughout the meal, no matter which of the set-course dinners (¥6,090, ¥8,000 or ¥10,000; by advance reservation only) you have.

In such a minimalist setting — walls of unclad concrete with little or no decoration (sadly the original period fixtures and fittings have been stored away) — we felt no need for an elaborate banquet. The simplest of the three menus, comprising five courses, proved to be more than adequate.