Just so you know, it’s not often I find myself in such a fancy predicament. La Maison de la Nature Goh is the latest addition to my minuscule list of fine-dining experiences, so I suppose I could cut myself some slack for feeling a little nervous and intimidated as I sat there waiting for my food to arrive. I’m not used to this kind of thing at all, so needless to say, this was an unforgettable experience for me during my trip to Fukuoka.
My brother decided to get a reservation because he heard that the head chef here was going to work together with Gaggan to open a restaurant. We asked our AirBnB host to help us secure a reservation since the restaurant can only seat 34 people. When we arrived, the place was indeed packed.
The restaurant is located in a small alleyway, far from the main roads of downtown. It might be a little difficult to find without a map, but we found it well enough with the help of Google. (I’ve pinned down the location of the place in the map below, in case you decide to pay a visit as well.)
La Maison de la Nature Goh is a French restaurant opened by Chef Takeshi Fukuyama in 2002. In 2016, it became the first restaurant in Kyushu named to the “Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants” list; a feat it repeated in 2018. The restaurant serves up omakase, or chef’s choice dishes made using seasonal and local ingredients from Kyushu. All these facts considered, I can definitely understand why foodies from around the globe (like us) would be curious to see what Chef Fukuyama can do. (And no, this guy below isn’t Chef Fukuyama.)
As a fine-dining restaurant, of course one would expect that the prices are on the high-end side. The least expensive course you can get from here is at 6,000 yen consisting of 6 courses. (Two appetizers, one soup, two mains, and a dessert.) Goh also has an 8,000 yen 7-course experience, but we decided to go for the former since we are trying this place out for the first time.
You can also get a glass of champagne for 1,000 yen per glass, while wine costs around 800 yen per glass. Goh also offers what they call the 3 glasses prix fixe consisting of champagne, red wine, and white wine for 2,500 yen. Niagara white grape juice is 500 yen per glass; possibly the cheapest drink on their menu.
The main highlight of La Maison de la Nature Goh is really Chef Fukuyama’s innovative techniques that bring out the best in each of the local ingredients he uses in his dishes. As I watched the chef cooking in his corner, my intimidation quickly turned to excitement. (I was still too shy to stand up and take a picture of him though haha! We did get a group photo with him which you can find at the end of the post.)
In between courses, fresh bread is served with an olive oil dip, probably to help you feel full after the meal because fine-dining servings are so small, as you shall see in a bit…
Foie gras flavored with Fukuoka Amao Strawberry, cacao nibs, and topped with a sheet of beetroot jelly
On the side is chocolate croissant and some Bordeaux balsamic sauce. This was very interesting. A combination of salty and sweet, with the foie gras working surprisingly well with the sweet sliced strawberries and the earthy cacao. I never expected such a pairing!
Up next, we have four types of different small bites.
Quiche with sweet potato, leeks, and bacon
You get melt in your mouth sweet potato, with crunch from the leeks and saltiness from the bacon pieces. The crust is buttery and a little oily, but overall this had quite a creamy mouthfeel.
Nagasaki maguro topped with black olives
This was salty to the taste because of the thin tomato jelly underneath, and the slice of fatty tuna is so buttery. It felt like it was over before it even began though haha!
Japanese rice cookie with scallop, monkfish liver, topped with edible daisy
I loved this. The cone-like base is made with Japanese rice and provided a crispy contrast to the creamy and flavorful monkfish.
One bite cookie made with wasabi. It gives you a wasabi hit up the nose at the end so I imagine those who don’t like wasabi will not enjoy this. I liked it well enough!
Asparagus coulis with consommé gelée at the bottom, topped with Hokkaido uni
I’m not a fan of cold soup but Japan is really turning my feelings around. This dish was yum. It’s important here to dig from the bottom up so you can eat the salty gelée together with the asparagus coulis. The gelée on its own was too salty for my taste, but maybe that was the intention because the refreshingly delicious creamy asparagus and the sweet uni help balance it out.
Spanish mackerel with turnip sauce and thinly sliced turnip
I don’t think I’ve ever eaten mackerel cooked like this. So tender and perfectly cooked it’s almost silken. The taste of the sauce– made with yuzu, white wine, and butter– is equal parts tangy and buttery. I wish we could have had more of this!
Kumamoto beef with Kyushu Veggies and Bordeaux sauce
Another delicious offering that I fervently wish I could magic into something bigger than its matchbox size. The beef was a little too rare for my personal preference, but it was tender and juicy and worked perfectly with the Bordeaux sauce. I am now convinced I have to learn how to make some for serving with steak at home! The vegetables as well were delicious and had a natural sweetness to them despite being buttered.
For our final course, we only get to choose 1 dessert each. But since there were six of us and 3 desserts available, we decided to order 2 of each dessert. This way, we managed to sample all of them.
Brownie cake with vanilla ice cream and corn lace cookie
This was a really interesting cake. It’s basically sponge with a chocolate mousse center, dotted with walnuts and dates. Though yummy, I felt it was the most “ordinary” of the three desserts we were served.
Miso Creme Brulée with salted caramel, Amao strawberries, chocolate ice cream, and soy sauce powder
Amazing. Just really great play of sweet and salty in this dessert. I like how the soy sauce powder holds its own here, complementing the chocolate as nicely as sea salt would. Magical soy sauce powder!
“Gohdiva” sake jelly, amao strawberry, sake ice cream, covered with a layer of Godiva chocolate mousse and a touch of gold flakes on top
This dessert was fabulous. I loved the sake undertones you get as you polish off the dessert. It is just the right amount, without being too strong. It complements the bittersweet chocolate very well. The man knows how to make a signature dessert for sure!
Despite the fact that this meal was expensive and all that, I can’t say I regret coming here to experience Chef Fukuyama’s La Maison de la Nature Goh. It was a truly one-of-a-kind meal, and I made sure to savor every dish to make every yen count! I loved how each dish was described to us in English so that we would understand what we were eating and what our tongues should be looking for.
Though I can’t say this is a necessary stop when you visit Fukuoka, I would say that if you’re planning a splurge meal that is more of a unique gastronomic experience, one that you could sit down to carefully savor, then perhaps this restaurant is something you could consider. And of course, for foodies, this might be a no-brainer.
As long as you know what to expect and you don’t turn your nose down on fine dining experiences, I think you’ll find the meal here rather pleasing to the tastebuds! Oh, and Chef Fukuyama personally greeted us before we left and even saw us off after our meal. Turns out he is not as serious out of the kitchen. 😉
La Maison de la Nature Goh
More Fukuoka food experiences I talk about in this series: