It's not that her project, a stowaway restaurant operating inside the cavernous design-hell cocktail bar La Conserverie, isn't successful. She routinely runs out of food to serve, and juggles numerous private cooking gigs on the side. The home-cooked Japanese soul-food she prepares is gem-like and nutritious, a natural hit with her previous milieu, the fashion crowd. (Murota was previously an assistant to Christophe Lemaire.)
It's just that the whole conceptually-unrelated-restaurant-within-a-bar situation seems precarious, barely perched where it is - like a food truck, without the truck, with notably more refined cuisine, if not service. In every major city there are a thousand bloggers with peeled eyes and pricked-up ears searching for good unprofessional authenticity, the outsider art of the kitchen, and when one confirms its existence, as at Maori's Bento at La Conserverie, one usually doesn't wait long for it to disappear. But Murota has always struck me as being more or less chez elle in funny situations. So she's returned from her trip to Japan and has reopened for business this week."