Difference is unabashedly French in style, with its heavy, white linen tablecloths, its lace curtains and its pair of maitre d’s, who both wear white gloves and may well be competing to see who is more soft-spoken. The standard of service, as you might expect, is impeccable. Lunch and dinner are both fixed courses and, as stated on the website, they are lengthy affairs — don’t count on going anywhere for two to three hours. Lunch opened with a tiny but cleverly presented starter: grilled eggplant on a bed of crumbly katsuobushi (dried skipjack tuna) served on a dessert spoon. This was quickly followed by asari (Japanese littleneck clam) on a cube of creamy tofu. Like many French restaurants, the servings at Difference are small and delicate, but presented on enormous plates. Next was the highly original foie gras on a chocolate stick — Choco Bar, as it was called on the menu. As I mentioned, I’m not sure if something so rich warrants being wrapped in chocolate, but perhaps Fujimoto wanted to be playful with an ingredient that often courts controversy. The chocolate and foie gras compete rather than complement each other, but its a dish that will lodge itself in your memory.
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