White season and there’s nowhere more exciting to be than Niseko – our favourite ski destination. Famed for its powder, Niseko is also unparalleled because of its food scene. Here are some new places to whet your appetite.
Japanese soul food by day, izakaya vibes by night. Kumo also serves up mesmerising views of the Hirafu slopes. Lunch time eats at this ‘farm-to-flame’ resto include Crispy Chicken with Yuzu Sauce and Spicy Miso Ramen, while apres small plates feature Grilled Local Duck Breast and Scallop Ceviche. Kumo is ski-in, ski-out and located off the Alpen and Kogen runs, also within the mountain’s newly minted Skye Niseko.
Dress: Casual for lunch, ski chic for dinner.
Open: 11.30am for lunch, apres from 3pm, dinner from 5.30pm.
The baby sister of Singapore’s Wild Rocket (of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants fame), Roketto is Chef Willin Low’s Mod-Sin cuisine brought to the slopes of Niseko and will open for business January 15, 2019. Think casual noodle and rice bowls such as Bak Kut Teh Ramen, Laksa Udon and Braised Pork Belly on rice – ideal for days when a twist on Japanese cuisine is called for. By day the space is simple and self-service, but come evening it transforms into Roketto Bar, serving cocktails by the co-owners of Bangkok’s #FindTheLockerRoom, legendary master barman of Bar High Five Tokyo, Hidetsugu Ueno, Nick Wu of Bar Mood, Taipei and Colin Chia of Nutmeg & Clove, Singapore. Find Roketto at the very new The Maples Niseko.
Dress: Casual in the day, alpine chic in the evening.
Open: Lunch 11.30am–2pm, apres and bites from 5.30–11pm.
Hard to find because it’s so tiny, but worth the search because it’s so good – it doesn’t get more local than Izakaya Koharuya. The freshest Hokkaido seafood, served either raw, in sushi rolls, or perfectly grilled, plump homemade gyozas and sakes from the vicinity, all imbibed in a cosy cabin covered in snow. Koharuya is located in Lower Hirafu Village, down from the main Hirafu strip.
Dress: Warm & casual.
Open: 5pm onwards (winter), 6pm onwards (summer).
A high majority of the restaurants here take pride in their local produce and Bion is no exception, but here, the ingredients are cooked over firewood, Italian style. Expect to start with sashimi, carpaccio and salumi, then follow it with wagyu, porchetta and matcha tiramisu. Skilled combinations of Hokkaido and Italy which make a perfect meal after a cold day of snow activities. Located on Highway 343 towards Kutchan, the restaurant offers complimentary transfers when booked 24hrs in advance.
Dress: Alpine chic.
Open: Dinner from 5pm.
This gem of a place makes traditional pizza and serves them with natural wines – our idea of a perfect casual night out. A selection of classic pasta are also available from their quirky hand- painted menus. Find Boroya in Kutchan town, near Kutchan Station.
Open: 6pm onwards, closed Tuesdays.