The Restaurant of Love Regained, By Ito Agawa trs David Karashima

Just a little too sweet for Western palates

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The Independent Culture

Ito Agawa's foodie fable centres on Rinko, a chef who returns to her city apartment one evening only to discover that her boyfriend has taken off with her life savings and – what is worse – her Le Creuset casserole set.

Distraught, she returns home to her mother's village in the countryside, and sets up an organic restaurant catering to the locals. Her delicious cooking gains a reputation for healing powers, and fosters love and friendship in the community.

Agawa's descriptions of Rinko's recipes can be mouth-watering, particularly if you're a fan of Japanese food ("sangetan soup with whole chicken brewed in shochu"; "sautéed radish with shiitake mushrooms"). But the story itself will probably be a little too saccharine for most tastes.