Touring Kumamoto by sampling its cuisine—this is the essence of gastronomy, as curated by
Shogo Nakano of Les Célébrités
Hotel Nikko Kumamoto celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2022. Its French restaurant, Les Célébrités, aims for a new type of cuisine, “Kyushu/Kumamoto gastronomy,” which takes the concept of “preserving traditional French cuisine in the present” and reworks it through new interpretations of traditional French food, enriched with Kumamoto-like touches.
The Premium Menu, which was designed by Executive Chef Shogo Nakano, explores the solid traditions of French cuisine coupled with the potential of Kumamoto. Executive Chef Nakano has held his position at Hotel Nikko Kumamoto since 2013, after working as the head chef at other hotels in Kyushu. With considerable experience, he has significantly contributed to the development and propagation of French cuisine. In July 2019, he was awarded the title of Chevalier, Order of Agricultural Merit by the Republic of France. He is currently a member of Les Amis de Curnonsky International and an auditor of the Academie Culinaire de France du Japon.
Chef Kawamoto, in charge of food preparation, joined Hotel Nikko Kumamoto in 2006, gained experience working with Western cuisine, and assumed his position at Les Célébrités in February 2021, where he continues to hold this position.
Most of the restaurant’s staff are certified sommeliers, so they can suggest wine pairings for each course. The restaurant also has tea-based non-alcoholic pairings so that even non-drinkers can enjoy themselves to the fullest.
The theme of the current Premium Menu, which uses ingredients carefully selected by Executive Chef Nakano, is Le Tour de KUMAMOTO. Each course on the menu is an expression of Kumamoto and literally reflects “a journey around Kumamoto” along with surprising twists.
The first dish we want to introduce is designed with the image of the vast Aso grassland in mind. The beautiful Aso grassland, the clear blue sky, the gorgeous flowers blanketing the land, Aso landscapes floating in a sea of clouds—all of this is magnificently expressed in single dishes. Almost all of the ingredients are sourced from within Kumamoto Prefecture, including trout from the Murakami Fish Nursery in Aso’s Takamori Town. The tableware, custom-made by the pottery maker Aso Aoigama, exudes the soft deep blues that remind one of Aso’s charms.
Another dish worthy of special mention is the lamb main course. Thanks to a tie-up with the Aso Sato Farm to use lamb in cuisine for the first time in Kumamoto, this course comprises Shirohitsuji lamb, which is tender and succulent but without a strong smell, which has been wrapped in a rock salt and charcoal pastry crust and grilled to perfection. This main course is presented on a sturdy plate that evokes the power of the land created by the Gengama pottery shop in Uekicho
This menu is a gem that could only be created by someone intimately familiar with Kumamoto’s local ingredients and climate. Diners will smile at the playful gimmicks and feel inspired to take a tour of Kumamoto. We encourage them to avail themselves of the hotel’s warm and thoughtful hospitality and to savor this impressive cuisine, a journey through Kumamoto on plates that allows them to experience Kumamoto with their taste buds.
Address:2-1, Kamidoricho, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto City 〒860-8536
Business hours:17:30–21:30 (last order at 19:30)
Reservations for the Premium Menu
Each restaurant has different ingredients in its Premium Menu, so diners may enjoy Kumamoto’s seasonal dishes. Please directly contact the restaurant for details.
Price:25,000 yen per person