The subtlety of delicacy

The address at the entrance to Waterloo, on the edge of the gleaming Chaussée de Bruxelles, was born in the early days of this holy year. It was a daring move. But with a singular personality comes an atypical place. Enishi* opens onto a clean, sober room. We gently settle into the light tones and noble materials of bluestone and light wood. And to see this form of purity as an entrance to the stage, a promise for the moment to come.

Toshiro Fujii is by no means an unknown quantity; for almost a decade, as San Degeimbre's second in command at l'air du temps**, he punctuated the opening of the Master's bowl restaurants in Liernu, before taking over Inada in Saint-Gilles, where he set up his eponymous brand for a time. Today, Toshiro, like a free and liberated man, is at home.

His cuisine doesn't seek to impress, nor to overplay its hand, but to almost "disappear", to remain in the greatest humility, to evolve by delicate touches, to advance in a kind of self-effacement before exemplary technique and impeccable products. This is a far cry from the pseudo-mystifying hubbub of falsely Japanese addresses or fusion restaurants that succeed in doing just one thing: messing up the cuisines they insist on mixing.

Rather than fusion cuisine, Toshiro's cooking is a magnificent fusion. Of course, its Japanese source is emphasized, with clean-cut dishes and accompaniments that relay gentleness and vigor, between gentle melodies and clean strokes. Toshiro's eyes and heart are open to the world, and his cuisine can be read as an array of terroirs and their products, with a delicate touch: mackerel, tomatoes, elderberry, dashi, lobster, cherries, sakura, redfish, miso, eggplant, apricots, eel foie gras, ramen, Iberian pressa, onions, peach, basil, Chartreuse.

With each plate, you enter an abyss, between surprise and satisfaction, between finesse and emotion, as the man signs a repertoire of flavors that humbly reveals his history and the sciences acquired in the great houses that have seen him work.

This is a man who creates links between worlds. And it's important to understand this finesse. Provided they understand.


* enishi' is a Japanese term that could be translated as 'meeting of destinies'.