Saturday, March 16, 2013

Hokkaido Summer 2012 北海道夏季之旅 - Asperges, Biei Senka 美瑛選果

Visited 12.07.2012
Revisited on 14.10.2017

Asperges is a French restaurant which utilises seasonal ingredients all grown and produced in Biei. Knowing that Asperges was a popular restaurant in Biei, I made a reservation for lunch at 1130 hrs the day before with the help of staffs from Furano Natulux Hotel. Calling to make a reservation is strongly recommended as this restaurant gets pretty packed during lunch hours - was not able to book a table for 12 noon and had to settle for the earlier timing of 1130 hrs.

Got to know this restaurant through CNA's Japan Hour programme and liked the concept of incorporating seasonal ingredients which were freshly plucked from the fields of Biei every morning, in their dishes - one of the initiatives of Biei JA (agricultural association) to sustain farming activities in Biei. No English menu was available at that point in time, but fortunately I did check out the menu (with the help of Google Translate) on their website prior visiting. While putting together this page, realised that they revamped their webpage last year, and have updated their content with English version too!

Ordered two different lunch courses (the cheapest as well). Overall lunch experience was excellent - initially wanted to rush through lunch such that we can catch the earlier Furano-Biei Norokko train at 1302 hrs, but the atmosphere of the restaurant was just too comfortable and laidback, which had us enjoying our lunch in a leisure manner.

(1) Lunch course for 2,100 yen:
  • Field of Biei, assortment of 20 different types of vegetables from the farms in Biei. Aesthetically pleasant and healthy dish, which reminded me of the colourful flower parks in Biei. 
  • Nanatuboshi (Seven Stars) rice produced in Biei, four kind of beans and bacon risotto. All felt that this was a very delicious and savoury rice dish, one that will attract us to patronise this restaurant again. 
  • Cherry tomato in syrup. Just the right amount of sweetness - a simple dessert to complete the meal. 
(2) Lunch course for 2,650 yen:
  • Potato cornet, contains mashed potatoes and fried sweet potato chip.  
  • Field of Biei. 
  • Slices of Biei pork, accompanied with mashed potato and roasted onion. Felt that the pork was slightly salty, but the roasted onion was very unexpectedly juicy!
  • Cherry tomato in syrup.
  • Strawberry jelly with ice cream. A very delectable dessert - strawberry jelly melting as soon as it saw the temperature difference in the mouth! 
  • Chocolate and carrot financiers. 1 piece each. 
  • Coffee, black tea or herb tea to choose from. 

After lunch, we visited the market in Biei Senka, which sells Biei locally grown agricultural products and livestock, a similar concept to Furano Marche. Ingredients that were utilised by Asperges can be purchased in this shop too. Food such as rice, corn and potatoes were also available for taste testing. Bought a few packets of tidbits - dried sweetcorn and milk cubes, which cost around 200 - 250 yen per packet.

Tip: Biei Senka operates a stall in New Chitose Airport. If you happen to depart from New Chitose Airport, you can still do your last minute shopping there.

Recognition: Restaurant was rated 1 star in Michelin Guide Hokkaido 2012.


Biei Senka 美瑛選果

< 10 mins walk from Biei JR Station.
Opening hours:
- 1100 - 1900 hrs (1 Apr - 3 Nov), closed on Wednesdays.
- 1100 - 2000 hrs (Jul to Aug), no rest days in this two months.
- 1100 - 1900 hrs (Nov to Mar), only open on weekends. Closed from Dec to Jan.

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  1. Thanks to your wonderful review, we visited Asperges as well and loved the experience! We went for dinner though and it was empty. We highly recommend it as well.
    We wrote our own review and shared some pictures.
    Thank you so much for sharing about this wonderful restaurant that led that there as well.

    1. Hi Gary! Read your blog post and it reminded me of the wonderful gourmet experience I had in Asperges 4 years ago! How I wish I can be there now (especially when it is the summer season now)!