Went to eat an Italian meal in Japan, am I mad? Not once you see what Primavera has to offer
When I travel to another country I like to explore everything from the culture, fashion and most importantly the food. So when I was told we were going to visit the Izu photo museum before heading back to the airport and there was a great Italian restaurant there, I have to admit I was a little sceptical. Why would I be eating Italian while in Japan? But when we arrived in the restaurant, before even sitting down on a grey rainy day we knew we were in for a great last meal before getting on the plane.
Primavera is quite hard to find hidden behind this large hedge round the back of some buildings on the same complex as the photo museum. It overlooks the sculpture garden located behind the building, even on a grey day the view was so beautiful with sculptures just in view and the floor to ceiling windows let in loads of light. We had a limited amount of time as we had to drive to the airport so the staff were very helpful and wanted us to enjoy as much of the set menu as possible.
We never saw a menu however we were just asked whether we had any allergies or dislikes and they were happy to accommodate. We just sat there soaking in our surroundings, dreaming what it would be like to sit outside during the summer months waiting for our food, anticipating what we would get to eat. Yes it is a little weird to come to an Italian restaurant in Japan but apart from the insanely beautiful surroundings, the pretty plates, the food matched up the surroundings and maybe even surpassed it. Plate after plate, the food looked and tasted exquisite, italian, japanese or whatever when food is fresh and made beautifully no matter what you have to simply appreciate it.
The first plate looked a little weird when it was placed in front of us, it looked like a questionable looking small bowl of thick soup. It turned out to be Japanese turnip with a Japanese carrot puree centre, don’t be fooled by the way it looks, this little bowl was extremely tasty all mopped up with little perfectly round warm bread buns. I can’t really describe it, but it was the best cooked form of turnip and carrot I have ever had. It is very rare that you sit in a restaurant and get excited like a kid to see what is next as we had absolutely no clue what to expect.
The next course was more vegetables, this time with a light tempura batter, a baby turnip, white asparagus and brussel sprout were all cooked perfectly with crispy golden batter. It looked so beautiful on a patterned long lass plate. It was nice to have a turnip in a different way and you could taste the difference just simply how it was cooked.
After 2 vegetable dishes we then had seafood, half a lobster with some mixed leaves on top of it. The lobster was simply and perfectly cooked, the flavour was highlighted perfectly by olive oil and fresh lemon. You can’t beat classic flavours done well and this was done really well, I tried to get as much of the lobster out of the shell as I could, I didn’t want to leave a bit.
Following that was a little portion of pasta, the sauce was made of broccoli, green vegetables and a hint of chilli a fresh and light sauce. The pasta itself didn’t seem like a traditional egg made pasta, it seemed like it was made of a soba dough which made the noodles lighter then an Italian pasta dish would have been but I am not entirely sure. Simply yum, I could have eaten a whole big bowl of it.
After a hit of carbs more greenery came next. A piece of white fish covered in a garlic flavoured crispy coating with french bean puree sauce, a grilled spring onion, pak choi and yam all placed dancing together on a plate. I don’t know how the chefs at Primavera do it but they make the simplest things taste absolutely incredible. If we had more time we would have had more dishes, but as it was it turned out to be the perfect amount for lunch before getting on a plane.
But they hadn’t finished yet, there is always time and room for dessert right? A smooth vanilla semifreddo with roasted coffee beans mixed throughout. I thought that it would be incredibly bitter and hard to chew but it wasn’t at all. It was light, creamy and the roasted coffee melted in your mouth like chocolate.
Even the coffee at Primavera is special, I ordered a latte and it came in a beautiful white cup and saucer with a simple geometric pattern on it. The surprise came when you lifted the cup and there was a little raised porcelain butterfly on the saucer hiding underneath the cup. So cute no? So cool that we had to go and find them to buy, I am happy to report that you can get them for worldwide delivery on the D-bros website by Hotel Butterfly.
Primavera just goes that extra mile to make everything taste great and coffee isn’t an exception. There was this little jug filled with coffee syrup to get that extra kick to your coffee, basically the equivalent of having an extra shot at Starbucks in your coffee I guess.
To top off everything a big glass cake stand was bought to the table filled with petit desserts to go with your coffee. Biscotti, little profiteroles, strawberry jelly, marshmallows and little chocolatey bites to satisfy your sweet tooth and round off the whole meal.
I can’t emphasise how simply beautiful this restaurant is, the surroundings, the food, the service all make this a very special place to sit down and eat.I couldn’t have been more surprised by this meal, it wasn’t what I was expecting from an Italian restaurant, let alone a restaurant in what felt like the middle of no where in the Japanese countryside. There was no town, bus stop or train station near that I could see while driving there. But even on that grey, rainy, cold day nothing could dampen our spirits once we were confronted with this food. All we could do is go home and gush about this restaurant in these beautiful surroundings and plan when we were going to return on a sunnier day. The moral of my experience at Primavera is don’t judge a book by its cover or a place by its name, because good food no matter what kind of cuisine it is doesn’t need translating. People go to the middle of no where for amazing food, so even if you go travelling don’t turn your nose up to a cuisine which isn’t the national one. Just give it a go, you might be pleasantly surprised and it might turn into the best meal you have had on your trip. Have you been to Primavera before? Have you been to an extraordinary place which you didn’t expect? Please let me know in the comments below.
For more information about Primavera then check out their website, however it is all in Japanese so if you need the address or any more information then you can always count on good old TripAdvisor to provide you with one. Just remember to leave enough time to go and have a wander around the photo museum, shops and gardens while you’re there.