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It’s not unusual for chefs to resort to highly bizarre ingredients in an effort to provide a unique, avant garde dining experience, but one French restaurant in Japan has dug deep—literally—to create a menu entirely based on one single ingredient: dirt. From dirt soup to dirt ice cream, Chef Toshio Tanabe is pulling in the big bucks with the sediment-filled, earthy menu at Ne Quittez Pas (roughly translated: please don’t leave).

Toshio Tanabe, Ne Quittez Pas, French Restuarant, Dirt Food, Dirt Restaurant, Strange Ingredients, Sustainable FoodPhoto via Shutterstock

French cuisine has often been regarded as one that includes a fair share of unusual ingredients. When UK officials discovered that horse meat had found its way into burgers, a number of commentators pointed out that freshly rotisseried horse meat can be found in many markets just a short hop across the Channel. And the whole concept of escargot can be discomforting to many. What comprises “normal” cuisine is a matter of regional perception.

But that doesn’t quite distract from the oddity of taking not the garden snail—but dirt itself, into the kitchen. However, as RocketNews24 explains, the dirt is supplied by Protoleaf, and doesn’t actually taste like dirt. Rather, it’s created from coffee grounds, palm fiber and other materials that would typically go to waste.

The characterful Toshio Tanabe—a former professional boxer—appears to know what he’s doing too; he one won a “high profile” cooking contest with his signature dirt sauce. In addition to his composted ingredient, he uses locally-sourced, fresh produce and seafood to create a versatile menu of dishes that includes “minerals of the sea and minerals of the land,” an aspic made with oriental clams and the top layer of sediment, and a dirt risotto with sauteed sea bass and burdock root,” as well as a dirt mint tea and even dirt ice cream and gratin. All of which the reviews at RocketNews summarized as an experience that featured “mild cuisine, sweet desserts and refreshing tea, the course had the flavor and modulation you would expect from Ne Quittez Pas’s talented chef.”

+ Ne Quittez Pas

via Oddity Central, Fox News