Murakami has become internationally acclaimed as a pioneer of Kappo cuisine, combining the finest culinary traditions of his native Japan with the best seasonal, rare and exotic ingredients he can find. The emphasis is on simplicity: a simplicity which has propelled his Kinoshita restaurant into the World's 50 Best. "Less is more", he tells me, as we talk about the philosophy which informs his cooking. "Less is more".
The invitation to cook at Obsession came after Nigel Haworth traveled to Brazil for the World Cup, and ate at Kinoshita. "He said - wow, you have to take part in this event which I run. And it is a real honour and a pleasure to be taking part. I will be preparing four dishes and one dessert."
He has especially enjoyed sourcing local British ingredients to use in his very Japanese menu. "The produce here is very good. Brazil has a tropical climate but here it is much more like Japan with very definite seasons. Winter is winter, summer is proper summer."
Two of his Brazilian team have flown over with him, but Murakami has embraced the opportunity to work with Northcote chefs who are getting a unique chance to experience his kind of cooking. "The chef working with us has a very good heart, very powerful. It's such a good experience for our staff, but also for some of the young people trying to become chefs, and have never come across Japanese techniques."
Murakami has constructed a menu full of minutely balanced flavours and textures. To start, Scottish salmon, both fresh and smoked, served with tempura vegetables. "You have the soft taste of the fish and then the freshness of salad on top, with very crispy tempura."
Next, there's various seafood, served with a Japanese style vinaigrette combining vinegar with egg yolk. The third course is hot: local sea bass marinated in sake and miso, then grilled. "With that, I am serving all kinds of mushrooms including Portabello and enoki...which I cook and then put inside a hollowed out lime."
There's wagyu steak to follow, with foie gras and a spiced miso sauce, plus some Japanese eggplant an asparagus alongside.
"For dessert, something very different. Sorbet with yuzu and lemon, and tomato and celery marinated in Sochu, a Japanese spirit, with some shizo leaves. Very 'less is more'!"