Stars shine bright at these hidden dining delights. Take a journey down the culinary road less travelled at these Michelin star restaurants that dish up the finest of fare in unusual surrounds.
Sukiyabashi Jiro Honten
Don’t be fooled by this sushi restaurant’s humble location in a bustling metro station. A meal here will set you back around 30,000 Japanese Yen (AU$400) and there are rules. Lots and lots of rules, including ‘no photos’. Why? The best way to enjoy the sushi created by Chef Jiro Ono is to concentrate entirely on its exquisite flavours, colours, and textures. The restaurant’s omakase tasting menu featuring around 20 pieces changes daily, with different seasons bringing different sushi. With only 10 seats, you’ll need to make a reservation or cross your fingers that someone doesn’t turn up.
Stepping out: Visit the sumo museum and watch an official match at Kokugikan Sumo Stadium which houses 11,000 enthusiastic sumo fans.
It’s fortunate you can also stay on site at Fäviken Magasinet as it is in the middle of nowhere. In fact, the entire municipality of Jarpen has a population of less than 1,500. Diners in the cosy barn can eat in the five-table dining room or at the communal eight-seater Gateleg Table. Everyone eats at the same time, with each of the 20-odd courses announced with a clap. Local produce, foraged ingredients, and traditional preparation methods are used to create dishes such as moose broth filtered through moss and scallops cooked over burning juniper branches. There’s a cook book on sale but even adventurous amateur chefs are unlikely to whip up these dishes at home.
Stepping out: Take a snowmobile tour in the nearby Åre mountains where you can zoom along snowmobile trails with incredible scenic views.
The Man Behind the Curtain
This restaurant’s quirky name thumbs its nose at the cult of the celebrity chef via a reference to the Wizard of Oz. When Toto discovered the wizard was a fraud, the trickster used a megaphone to shout “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”. Enter through a clothing store downstairs and take the lift to the third floor where you’ll discover dishes which have more in common with works of art than dinner. Tasting menus are innovative with highlights including Iberico pork, with egg yolk, an edible ‘shell’ and ash and a chocolate dessert served with potato foam. Tickets to The Man Behind the Curtain are sold as if you’re attending a concert. If you want to save a few quid, less popular dining times and dates sell at a discounted rate.
Stepping out: History comes alive at the Royal Armouries, a free museum housing more than 8,500 war-related treasures.
Raan Jay Fai
Jay Fai, a street food cook in her 70s, creates classic Thai dishes such as Pad Thai and crab omelette at a modest restaurant near the backpacker district of Khao San. Looking at it, you would never imagine this shophouse has a Michelin star. The only thing that gives it away is the crowds of hopeful diners waiting to get in. Even after you put your name on the list for a table, it can be up to six hours before you actually sit down and eat so don’t arrive hungry. Jay Fai insists on cooking every dish herself which means orders can take a while but patient diners insist this famous street food is worth the wait.
Stepping out: Visit the glittering Grand Palace which housed the Thai King, Royal court and government for more than 150 years
Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle
Drop into the maze-like Chinatown Food Complex and you will (eventually) find this famous hawker stall which offers one of the world’s cheapest Michelin star meals. The famous Soya Sauce Chicken Rice, which is served on a plastic plate, costs just $2. It takes up to three hours to reach the front of the queue but, once you’re there, the wait is only a few minutes. The stall’s famous chicken is the star of the show, but other dishes like roasted pork rice, dumpling noodles and greens cooked in oyster sauce are also worth ordering. With only a limited number of chickens cooked each day, it pays to arrive early.
Stepping out: Explore the conservatories and beautiful gardens at Gardens by the Bay, a free public garden in the heart of Singapore.
Dusek’s Board & Beer
You’ll find Dusek’s Board & Beer inside Thalia Hall, a grand 1892 building that was modelled after the Prague Opera House and considered one of the most ornate theatres of its time. These days people come here to sample 20 different brews and dine on black truffle and foie gras fondue, sausage sandwiches served with beef fat fries and the Board & Beer breakfast, which includes two eggs, bacon or sausage, house potatoes, toast and a beer. Dusek’s is open daily for dinner, lunch during the week and brunch on weekends.
Stepping out: Catch a show at The Second City, the famous Chicago comedy club that launched the careers of stars such as Bill Murray and Tina Fey.
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