Lupicia Restaurant Niseko
Table of Contents
One of the earliest signs of the rise of Niseko from out-of-the-way ski resort to a serious global winter destination was the appearance of Lupicia Villa. Situated on route 343 in the Kabayama Lupicia Restaurant Niseko occupies not one but three standout buildings gives the appearance of a serious investment. Lupicia Villa was and remains today one of the better architectural designs in all of Niseko. Understated, unique, intriguing and yet still appearing as though it belongs in the neighbourhood of GENTEMSTICK SNOWBOARDS headquarters. Given the uneven track record of restaurant openings and closings in Niseko prior to Lupicia’s birth – this was by all indicators a risky gamble. Especially puzzling was the choice of location away from the crowds of Hirafu and not within walking distance of a single major hotel. So what lies behind this well-executed yet daring project?
As it turns out Lupicia is the name of a global tea, teaware and confection company. Lupicia started out in Japan in 1994 as two separate tea stores. The first was a black tea specialty store called “L’epicier” which means general store in French. Later on a green tea specialty store offering teas from China and Japan called “緑碧茶園 Lu Pi Cha En” which means jade green tea garden in also opened. By 2005 the company bid to become a purveyor of world teas and combined the orignal two stores. LUPICIA was chosen as the combined enterprise name. It would seem that the Lupicia Villa goes well beyond a local business and will also function as a brand beacon to ski tourists visiting Niseko from all over Asia. It also explains why this sizable investment was made here.
MULTIPLE DINING OPTIONS
Lupicia Restaurant Niseko has evolved since its inception. The menu changes daily but always includes, meat, fish, vegetable, pasta and desert. Billing itself as Euro-Japanese it currently offers multi-course menus for ¥5000 and ¥8000 for its more popular dinner seating. All meals begin with Artisan bread baked in the boutique building daily along with an assorted appetizer plate featuring various specialties of Lupicia Restaurant Niseko. Second course offers multiple choices built around the fresh seafood supplied daily by EZO Seafood. The ¥8000 menu offers this in 3 separate mini courses while the ¥5000 offers a single course to choose. The main course offers several meat choices and all are charcoal grilled using classical European methods. Dessert changes daily according to the pastry kitchens whims and is accompanied by coffee or LUPICIA Tea.
Lunch is scaled down to a small prix-fixe menu with enough diversity to please everyone. Menu item styles range widely but most are made with local ingredients. All food is made within the restaurant or in one of the two dedicated production kitchens behind the restaurant. In one building charcuterie is handcrafted while in the boutique building breads and desserts are made daily.
GLOBAL TASTE / LOCAL INGREDIENTS
Lupicia Restaurant Niseko is a curious combination of tastes that is difficult to categorize as Italian , Japanese or French even though the majority of menu items are certainly based in either of these cuisines. A recent menu had Chef’s Curry, Sauteéd Chicken and Spaghetti Bolognese for example. What do 3 different cuisines have in common? At Lupicia Restaurant Niseko the local ingredients and taste preferences are the “glue” of these seemingly disparate menu choices. Seasoning is typically Japanese meaning that it is more on the sensitive side. Rather than aggressive or bland one can expect fine seasoning that never veers overboard nor underwhelms. Presentation is sensibly rustic and certainly suitable for the environment.
At its very core Lupicia Restaurant Niseko is a comfort food restaurant. It is the element that ties together the French, Italian, Indian and Japanese influences visible on the menu. The priority clearly is to appeal to the many rather than the few and may be the secret to success in this off-the-beaten-path location. At night the warm lighting and wood panelling add to this appeal – especially so in the heart of winter. No matter what you order there is the rustic warmth of long-fermented, hearth oven-baked breads to accompany the food. Traditional processed charcuterie with its lengthy marinating and aging further enhances the experience.
ARTISAN COOKING, BREAD & CHARCUTERIE
The same wonderful bread, salads, sauces and charcuterie that is served in the Lupicia Niseko Boutique are served in the Restaurant. For LuxNiseko these are the real strengths of the food here and form the backbone of the Lupicia Restaurant Niseko. No matter the curious daily whims that sometime appear on the menu one can always count on the bread, charcuterie and pastries to make a meal here memorable.
LOCATION & HOURS
ADDRESS: 58-5 Kabayama, Kutchan, Hokkaido, Japan
LUNCH: 11：30 – 15：00 (Last order 14：00)
TEA: 14：00 – 17：00
DINNER: 18：00 – 22：00 (Friday and Saturday only L.O. 21:00.)