Any visitor who has been welcomed to Restaurant Hiramatsu Hiroo by Madame Keiko’s smile will understand our story:Keiko Hiramatsu helped to develop the restaurant from the start, working alongside her husband Hiroyuki, its founder and chef. Over the years she has become an emblem of the restaurant, and continues to charm its numerous guests.
“When we first met as students, he told me that he hoped I would preside over his restaurant in the future,” Madame Keiko recalls, smiling. After they married, they went to train in Paris, and on returning to Japan opened a restaurant in Tokyo’s Nishi-Azabu district, under the name Hiramatsu-tei.
“In those days, there were very few restaurants run by an owner-chef. I worked in the dining room, taking orders. Many guests from those early days are still coming, and I often think how lucky I am to work in a restaurant that inspires such loyalty.”
Chef Hiroyuki, passionate about food, and Madame Keiko, always smiling as she talked to guests, may have had different roles, but they were always pulling together, close partners, working as one to make the restaurant a success. Over the years, Madame Keiko became a vital presence at Hiramatsu-tei, and her genius for hospitality blossomed. Hiramatsu-tei became a legend, enjoying unrivalled popularity.
In 1988, to enable more guests to enjoy its cuisine, Hiramatsu-tei moved to its present location in Hiroo, and began a new chapter in its story, as Restaurant Hiramatsu Hiroo.
“The decision to move to Hiroo came about because of a series of chance events. I was a little anxious, as we had suddenly gone from a small restaurant seating only 32, to a big restaurant spread over three floors. But there were many other restaurants in the area, and as Japanese people were beginning to develop a taste for French cuisine, we were able to get off to a very smooth start. I feel we were very lucky.”
Thirty-five years on, the leadership of Restaurant Hiramatsu Hiroo has passed from Hiroyuki Hiramatsu to Hiroki Hiramatsu. The restaurant has evolved, but its friendlyatmosphere remains unchanged. “Times change and things move on, but I am still here. That is one of the fundamentals, one of the things about Hiramatsu that doesn’t change, one of the things that really make it Hiramatsu.”
To be charming, to smile, and to put heart and soul into looking after your guests — to Madame Keiko these are the most natural things in the world. It’s no exaggeration to say that she was born to her role. Madame Keiko has watched lovingly over Restaurant Hiramatsu Hiroo for 36 years, and along with her staff, continues to greet its guests with a smile.