Dom quote

Dom quote

The Michelin Guide has consistently awarded more stars to Tokyo dining establishments than any other city in the world. I created this blog as my personal Tokyo restaurant guide, but I hope you will also enjoy reading it. If you have been to any of the same places feel free to leave some comments about your own experiences.

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Sunday, 30 May 2010

Toshi Yoroizuka, Roppongi Midtown

Oh my GOD - the cakes here are good. This is the only cake shop in the world I wouldn't mind betting that has a red carpet and doorman. You might not be used to booking cake and coffee, but this is worth it!! I think I'm falling in love...

Aronia de Takazawa, Akasaka アロニア ド タカザワ 赤坂

My dinner plans at Aronia de Takazawa came as a complete but pleasant surprise after a fellow foodie at a loose end suggested we try it together. I'd never heard of Aronia (hello, and I call myself a Tokyo food blogger!) and when I arrived I could definitely see that the place has been designed with exclusivity in mind. The discrete entrance for this rather conveniently located restaurant is to be found hiding in plain sight in an Akasaka alley just parallel to Sotobori Dori.

The restaurant sets only two tables per evening, and the chef stands doing his work on a raised platform in full view of the diners. The waitress on the evening we visited, or should I more aptly say his representative, spoke more than passable English and was very helpful throughout the evening.

I don't quite know how to describe the style of cooking, but "modern cuisine" seems the most fitting. If I had to compare a similar restaurant, albeit a more famous one, one I would say that Creations de Narisawa in Aoyama would be the most similar in goal. In terms of execution, the food at Creations is better in my opinion, but this should not take away from the assessment of the food at Aronia which is very good.

Our nine course tasting menu was 20,000 yen. This was paired with 100% Japanese wines, which provided an interesting experience. I appreciated the uniqueness of the idea of pairing with Japanese wines, but the reality is that Japanese wine simply doesn't make the grade for this level of cuisine. Every wine we tried showed a great deal of effort in its conception and realisation, however there is just something "funky" to my palate about Japanese wine.

If you consider that the wines, which my dining partner did not even to any extent fully partake of, added a full 30,000 yen to the bill, you're looking at a seriously pricey dinner that begins to unroll your socks, but doesn't really knock them off. I still give it 4 stars, but I seriously suggest some further thought be given to the experience versus the investment - especially when considering the competition at that level.

Amuses were toro sashimi with avocado mouse and little white fishies with shiso.

Very creative rendering of Ratatouille

'Sansai' Wild Mountain Vegetables

Fruit bread with pork rillette

"Hamo" with chilled tomato soup

Asparagus four ways (delicious)

Candleholder with foie gras pudding

O-toro tuna with powder dressing (liquid nitrogen powder!)

Hokkaido lamb (this was on the fatty side)

"Martini" jelly with fake olives. They're actually apricots.

Takazawa's Special Camembert

Tel: 03-3505-5052

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Ristorante Honda, Kita Aoyama リストランテ・ホンダ 北青山/外苑前

Recently I dipped my toes into Ristorante Honda again for lunch. My first experience earlier this year was very enjoyable, but I forgot my camera and also completely failed to remember what I ate so didn't write it up. This time I came better prepared.

Honda is situated just up from Gaienmae station, not far from the big Muji store. I think it's an elegant little place to dine for business or pleasure. It's just casual enough not to make you feel uncomfortable or under-dressed, but their food and service are quite refined. I was suitably impressed when they remembered who I was when making booking!

The lunch menu of which my dining partner and I partook was 3,675 yen and includes antipasto, primo piatto, secondo piatto, dolce and coffee. It's very good value, but if you add numerous wines, as we did, you can expect to bring the bill to quite a different level.

First course, pate (with raisin!) and a little potage with baby squid. Both more than acceptable.

Yes, this bread was as good as it looks.
Spaghetti with meat sauce and eggplant
A fairly fatty but tasty lamb.
Cherry clafoutis
Oops! I attacked my berry panna cotta before I remembered to take a photo.

Tel: 03-5414-3723

Saturday, 15 May 2010

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Roppongi Hills ラトリエ ドゥ ジョエル・ロブション 六本木ヒルズ

Even in a place such as Tokyo which values execution so highly, you sometimes have to be careful of the colonial outposts of masters like Joel Robuchon. For example Gordon Ramsey at the Conrad, when I visited some years ago, really did not deliver anything exciting - at least not to justify the hype and certainly not to risk violating one's purse for another visit. And don't even mention Wolfgang Puck - actually I'd be surprised if he ever set foot in one of his tacky namesakes in Roppongi.

Robuchon is in a class of his own, of course, but even Homer nods and I can attest that it is, in fact, possible to be disappointed at La Table on the ground floor at Chateau Robuchon in Ebisu. However on a recent visit to Atelier at Roppongi Hills, no such feelings were to be had. I have been there three times now and the food, service and overall execution are always up to a standard I wish we could emulate in my home country. Hah - as the hero of my personal quest to Japan maybe that's my purpose in life when one day I shall return!

My dining partner and I opted for the 5,000 yen menu which featured an amuse of rillettes en croute, two entrees - one of asparagus and crab pudding and the other of shittake en croute. The main was a bavette (which is cut from the abdominal muscles of the cow). I'm not such a fan of bavette as it can be kind of iffy in texture, bloody and oozy (ok that's a bit over the top) but this was delicious and served with Robuchon's famous pommes puree (mashed potato to the rest of us). I have to tell you the pommes puree at Atelier is not a patch on what you can find in Toulouse, here: Maybe I was just in a good mood when I visited there, but I have never tasted mashed potato like that in my life. I will return, even though all the staff went home while we were still eating dinner. Hey, pas grave it's France after all.

Atelier is the most workmanlike of the Robuchon portfolio here in Tokyo, but unbeatable for a business or personal lunch that requires a special touch, but need not be over the top. If I worked in Roppongi Hills this would be my canteen for sure!

Here are the pics. I should add that the champagne and rioja ordered by the glass hit the spot very well. And please note that the dessert was half eaten by the time I remembered to take a pic. It was goooood.

Tel: 03-5772-7500