This discreet restaurant is a hard find, it sits in the middle of a stretch of shitamachi south of Minowa station and east of Iriya but you'll be rewarded of your efforts to locate the venue among the low buildings of these quiet side streets, as this is serving the most refine vegan cuisine you can dream of in the middle of Tokyo.
Most of this trip was about what we could call vulgar and casual bars, venues which I truly love and appreciate for their easygoing ways, but the restaurant Bon was a welcome counterpoint through which I could sample the refinement of a branch of the Japanese cuisine.
Don't ask me more details, but the vegan cuisine found at the restaurant Bon is an inheritance from the Zen Buddhist monks who imported it from China 300 years ago. It is known under the mysterious name of the Fucha Ryori tradition, itself part of the larger Shojin Ryori tradition.
Ryuzo Furuzawa manages the restaurant with his wife and he is active both in the kitchen and with his visitors, the refinement of the service and traditional rooms adding to the whole picture and experience.
The house is a modern adaptation of the traditional Japanese house, with separate dining rooms, cobble stones in the corridor, and low windows here and there on a lush miniature garden. B. told me when she saw the pictures that the low windows were similar to the low doors of the tea houses under which you must bend to come in.
The restaurant is relatively expensive and we chose a very affordable option considering the treat : the lunch box. It costs 3400 Y and this is really a full and hearty meal composed of a long list of tiny and exquisite dishes.
Some of these dishes are obviously the result of a long, patient preparation weeks ahead, the taste and aroma being a wonder. I shot a few close-ups of the dishes (although this isn't my thing usually when I eat, I usually like to relax and concentrate on the treat). Don't ask me to name what I ate, I'll do some research (I should have the menu somewhere) but what you see here was just so refined. You can find many pictures on this Flickr page too.
You can see on one of my pictures this sort of black pasta made from a vegetable, this was so intriguing and subtly aromatic. I didn't spot this particular dish on the linked Flickr page, but I guess the dishes follow the rhythm of the seasons and vary from month to month.
We had tea and miso to come along, and I ordered a jug of cold sake which cost 500 Y.
Expect to pay 10 000 Y for a full dinner menu, and take it as a rare opportunity to experience an age old vegan cooking culture with a connection to the unspeakable wisdom of Buddhist monks. Furukawa-san got his training at the Manpukuji temple in Kyoto.