by Low Lai Chow in New Food and Packaging on Saturday 23 February 2013

At French restaurant Ne Quittez Pas in Tokyo, which serves up southern French cuisine with fresh seafood from Misaki, Kanagawa as well as green produce, you can also find soil in your food. It’s not of the accidental variety either. Owner-chef Toshio Tanabe, who has previously worked at Michelin-starred restaurants, recently started offering customers a six-course soiled meal for 10,000 yen or nearly US$110.

Tanabe sources his chemical-free soil from a supplier in Tokyo, preparing the ingredient with some light cooking to release the flavour before running it through a sieve to remove sand grains. Dinner starts with an amuse bouche of soil soup and ends with a soil sorbet and sweet dirt gratin. The highlight is dubbed the ‘soil surprise’ or a soil-dusted potato ball with a truffle center. As one guy comments: ‘Apparently there’s about $11,000 worth of fine cuisine behind my refrigrator (sic) right now.’ He’s right. Yum.