LOCAL ingredients are a mainstay for Niseko restaurant Lupicia. A concerted effort to show off the flavour profile of Hokkaido is what makes this restaurant a pleasure to visit.
THE new timber building is open, bright and refreshing. The sign at the front clearly states what to expect – a blend of Japanese and European food. Five minutes from Hirafu, this dining locale is practical but fashionable and is the Lupicia brand’s foray into restaurants. Lupicia is a tea company that last year expanded into restaurants with its Niseko flagship – the company has recently opened up another branch in Tokyo.
Leading the kitchen is Akaishi-san who brings to the table a unique menu that perfectly melds naturally intense local Japanese flavours with European cooking techniques. There are a few menu options to choose from at Lupicia: A fixed course for ¥8,000 (9 courses), ¥5,000 (7 courses) or making your own selections from the a-la-carte menu.
With so many options on the menu, you’ll be able to visit Lupicia and sample something different each time. This visit (there will definitely be others), we opt to try the chef’s recommendations: Kakaimon Oysters and a selection of French cheese for entrée, as well as Fried Angel Prawn Dumplings and Confit de Takikawa Duck.
Chef Akaishi tells us that the oysters from nearby Akkeshi are hand delivered by his close friend. Two plump oysters presented on ice are brought to the table, and when paired with a sparkling white from New Zealand, the start to this meal is close to perfection. Along with the oysters, we are presented with popular French cheeses Mimolette and Roquefort – the essential accompaniments to a European meal.
Next to arrive is the Fried Angel Prawn Dumplings, which take on more of a Japanese feel. Two prawns are presented with a dumpling made from scallops attached to the prawn. In true Japanese style, each of these prawns should be eaten in their entirety.
Following the prawns is the Confit de Takikawa Duck – a style that’s typically French but made using duck from Takikawa, a few hours north of Niseko. This leg of the duck is slow cooked at a low temperature in oil, resulting in a deliciously tender piece of duck leg.
By the end of the meal, we are planning our return. We leave musing over Monkfish Terrine, Lily Bulb Croquette and Surf Clam with Sauteed Mushrooms and Butter. Or the Homemade Bacon with Leaf Bud Flavoured Yuzu Pepper Sauce and the Charcoal Grilled Miso Marinated Foie Gras.
T. 0136 21 7880
Lunch: 11:30 am to 3:00 pm
Tea: 3:00–5:00 pm
Dinner: 6:00–10:00 pm
Pickup service available
Photography by Joey Corcoran/Niseko Photography