Niseko dining has come a long way in the last ten years thanks largely to leading eateries like The Barn – a bistro-style restaurant and bar pairing traditional French cooking with the freshest Hokkaido produce.
True to its name, The Barn is designed to look and feel like a traditional Hokkaido farm building. Floor to ceiling windows out front combined with the high, arched roof make for a dramatic first impression, but the scene inside is surprisingly cozy and relaxed (helped by friendly wait staff).
Head Chef and French native Yohan Da Costa leaves his diners in expert hands, having and worked with the best in the business, including close friend and 3-star Michelin chef Michel Del Burgo.
Perhaps the most difficult part of a night at The Barn is deciding what to order from a menu that is rich with mouth-watering options.
To start, seafood lovers will enjoy the strikingly fresh scallop tartar with whole grain mustard, red capsicum and a mixed salad, which does justice to Hokkaido’s reputation as a premier destination for quality seafood. Our favourite was the rich and velvety fois gras terrine, served generously alongside portions of of apple chutney, honey and brioche.
For the main, it’s hard to go past the beef fillet from Higashi, Hokkaido, cooked to a tender medium rare alongside a silky truffle potato purée.
Each item on Da Costa’s menu is expertly matched to a wine on their drinks list. The list features bottles from around the globe, including wines from the owners’ Boyer-Gontard vineyards in Burgundy, France. Thirsty après-skiers can also choose to head upstairs to the bar, where the day’s stories can be told over some of Niseko’s best cocktails.
The Barn has been filling up Niseko locals and holiday-makers since 2009, however a fresh look and menu for 2014/15 means there’s reason to visit even if you've been lucky enough to sit down for a meal there before.
To book a table during lunch and dinner hours, visit The Barn’s website. The upstairs bar is open from 5pm to midnight.