Acorn - The Epitome of Sophistication

A feast for all the senses, Acorn restaurant has arrived and is set to shake up the Niseko dining scene.

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From the moment you walk in to Acorn, in Hirafu's lower village, you feel like you've entered another realm. Seemingly miles away from the frivolity of a typical ski-resort, could you be in down-town Tokyo? Or mid-town Manhattan? It almost feels like you're in a movie scene! 

This is stylish, sophisticated, conceptual fine-dining. The food, whilst incredible, is just one part of the flowing, synchronized, multi-sensory experience that is Acorn Niseko. 

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Every dish is a piece of art, meticulously designed and with a story of its own, a chapter within the greater tale that is the 9-course set menu. It's little wonder that Acorn label their menu, 'The 2018/19 Winter Collection', calling cues of cat-walk fashion and gallery art. 

The moody, softly-lit space surrounds an irori (traditional Japanese earthen pot) which gently steams over charcoal. The crockery and cutlery, both made of wood, and the delicate glassware give the dining table a tactile element. These are thoughtfully made pieces, for you to touch, to interact with and they add to the experience. 

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The smells of the food are as important to this concept as the taste. Take for example, the truffle oil infused soft-boiled-egg which is served as part of a deconstructed carbonara. The moment your knife penetrates the egg, the fragrance of the truffle oil is unmistakable and fills the room. This is a signature dish borrowed from 81 Tokyo - the acclaimed restaurant established by Acorn's Creative Director, Takeshi Nagashima, and Head Chef, Yoko Aoyagi. Washed down with a glass of '08 Vintage Dom Perignon champagne, this dish is one you'll remember for a long time to come. 

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Many Niseko restaurants deal exclusively in Hokkaido produce, and understandably so given its global reputation and undeniable quality. But at Acorn, the concept is slightly different. If there is a Hokkaido product available which meets their high standard, then they will use it. But if they can get a better product somewhere else, they do, and they are unashamed about it. Chicken from Kyushu for example, beef from Kobe, and wine from France and Italy. It's a refreshingly honest approach and ultimately means the chef puts only the best taste combinations on your plate and in your glass. 

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Other dishes in the set menu include Squid Ink Crackers, Croissini and Popcorn designed to resemble a Niseko tree sprinkled with snow; Trout Sashimi with Saffron Mayonnaise, served with strawberry powder frozen to -196 degrees; Shirako (cod roe) matched with a paired sake from Japan's Fukui prefecture; Chargrilled Sawara (Spanish Mackeral) with apple pieces and apple puree; and an artfully deconstructed Tiramisu for dessert. 

Each dish is paired with wine or, for those who'd prefer, an equally-considered pairing of Japanese teas, including one which is house-made. 

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The music, like the final piece of the sensory puzzle, seems to be tailored perfectly to the culinary experience too. Low-key and lounge-y, it gradually picks up tempo as you progress through the meal, reaching a crescendo as you devour the last mouthful of wagyu beef before slowing down again as your waitress appears with dessert plates in hand. 

Open for the winter 2018/19 season until the end of March, it doesn't take a sixth sense to predict that, in Acorn, we have a Niseko game-changer. 

Check out our guide to the Top Budget-Friendly Lunches in Niseko.