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Value Press reports on the intersection of three interesting things: sake, molecular gastronomy and projection mapping.

The “sake restaurant” Molecu-L. in Ueno, Tokyo proposes Japanese food with a side of novel sensations created by molecular-level mapping of tastes and light displays. It opened in Ueno on 19 July 2018, and dining is by reservation only.

Molecular gastronomy, the application of scientific principles to cooking, is credited with catapulting the El Bulli restaurant in Catalonia, Spain, to notoriety. It was only open from mid-June to mid-December, and had capacity for 8,000 diners during that time, but received more than two million reservation requests. Used daringly, the article claims, molecular gastronomy can also completely restructure washoku, traditional Japanese cuisine.

The Molecu-L. restaurant takes black as its base note, and uses projection mapping in its chic interior to create an otherworldly space where you can enjoy specially selected sake. An English tagline on the Japanese site states “Forget everyday life”.

The article reminds us that washoku was designated as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in December 2013, and that surveys of  inbound tourists to Japan by the Japan National Tourist Association show food is what they’re most looking forward to. Molecu-L. takes this traditional cuisine and releases it from its traditional shape, cooking at very low temperatures in water baths and presenting food in a completely new way.

A nine-course meal costs JPY 10,000 (before tax) and they have a lineup of 20 sake to match, which is rotated each season, including some drink-them-before-they’re-gone labels such as Hiroki (飛露喜), Denshu (田酒) and Jikon (而今). There’s a “pairing plan” where you’re served sake to go with each dish, which adds JPY 5,000 to the cost of the menu. They also offer drinks made from essences produced through molecular gastronomic techniques, and non-alcoholic cocktails.