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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, 13 November 2016

Liberté à Table de Takeda リベルテ・ア・ターブル・ド・タケダ

'Liberté à Table de Takeda' : quite a mouthful and a name that should hold some promise for a bit of adventure at the dinner table. So, it was with some anticipation that I headed out to Azabu Juban on a Saturday evening to take my chances with their 15,000 omakase menu.

Liberte replaces the old 'Azabu Haus' restaurant (which closed I'm not sure how many years ago) in the same high-concept concrete and glass building, tucked away in a back alley in Azabu Juban.

Chef Takeda's concept is rustic French cooking, with ingredients chosen according to the season. Not too many rules, but of course (I'm assuming) that it should impress. Although the style is French, it's clear the heart is Japanese.

I give the presentation, ambience and service top marks. Some of the food is excellent in concept and execution. Some of it missed the mark for me (mainly because I felt that there could be more attention on the stock and the impact of the flavour on some of the dishes), but this might just be a personal preference. The quality of the cooking and produce is unquestionable. Dinner for two with the cheapest Chablis on the menu (but augmented with some seasonal white truffle) came out north of 60,000 yen, so I suspect that I was more than usually sensitive to the impact on my tastebuds.



The table settings, glassware and cutlery are beautiful 


Some Henriot to start (that is a really small glass, but cute)


A pre-amuse of hozuki


Followed by the real amuse of fish with apple (and some pork terrine on a little cracker in the background)
 

The square bread comes with not butter but a tofu spread

 
The sweet chestnut mousse was the dish that my dining partner and I enjoyed the most (if a little too sweet, I thought)


Unagi (eel) with lardons (had a rather 'puri puri' or springy consistency which I found interesting)


Orange mousse and beetroot-paved raw squid. I thought the mousse lacked flavour but the squid was OK with the sweetness of the beetroot.



Some amazing smelling truffles were brought to the table. Who would refuse?


Hiding under the avalanche of truffle is a medley of seasonal mushroom with a chunk of abalone (I found I couldn't really taste the truffles though and the dashi smelt a bit of ammonia and also also not so much flavour so I will a little disappointed with this one)


This is a hunk of fugu (I lived to tell the tale). This was meaty and yummy. The dashi was a little on the strong side, but forgivable. The precious matsutake mushrooms were delicious. 


Cards on the table - I don't really like the taste of pigeon, so I would have preferred not to have been served this. But if you like pigeon, this would be a nice one.

A plate of Japanese cheeses. Honestly the French version is a hundered times better - these were bland and I did not finish them.


Dessert of pear with red wine jelly and blue cheese ice-cream (not too strong, mind you!). I liked this combo.


Some petit fours to finish off.



http://azabu-liberte.com/en/ 
Tel: 03-5765-2556




Saturday, 29 October 2016

The Apollo, Ginza アポロ銀座

The Apollo, located in the relatively new Tokyu Plaza in Ginza, is a trendy Greek restaurant concept that comes from, of all places, Sydney Australia.

You don't find a lot of Greek food in Tokyo, much less trendy Greek food from down under, so the novelty value was high for me as I tried it out one Sunday in late summer for lunch. But what about the food? Well, I have to say it was better than I expected and I had no complaints about the volume. It's a good place to fill up on lamb, if you are missing it, as their slow cooked version with yoghurt hits the spot. The honeycomb and rhubarb dessert was a lovely surprise too.

I'd definitely book (which you can do online) as it is still very popular with the ladies who lunch.













http://theapollo.jp/
Tel: 03-6264-5220

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Chez Matsuo, Shoto シェ松尾松濤

Chez Matsuo is one of the absolute standards in Tokyo dining, so it's really hard to offer up an excuse for never having been there. Recently for a summery lunch on a holiday Monday I put that right.

The restaurant is situated in ritzy Shoto, which is a quick walk from the hustle bustle of Shibuya. But Shoto is a world away. It is a place of conspicuous wealth and privilege you might never even imagine is in Tokyo, even if you have lived here many years. It's fun sometimes to visit such a place and dream.

And what is the local canteen of the upper crust? Well I suspect it's right at Chez Matsuo. The establishment itself, which has been open since 1980, is a fine old-school French restaurant in a delightful old bungalow. It's hard to believe that such a lovely house is still standing in modern day Tokyo and who knows for how long.

And the food. Well I was expecting some pretty good quality fare, and was not disappointed. Everything was excellent, and the service could not have been friendlier or more professional. To top it off, the lunch menu is far from being outrageously priced.

I could not recommend this place more highly!


Many pleasures are to be found behind this gate...




 

Yes, that's leopard skin trim on the ceiling!


Pol Roger. What else?

 
Beautiful champagne glasses

  
 
Corn blanc manger with a madelaine of ham and confit tomato

 

 Scallop with lobster emulsion and bulgur risotto

 
 
 Mackerel with cresson coulis

 

Kiwifruit mouth refresher

 

The fish of day (kinmedai) was absolutely delicious! Served with orange syrup and curried prawn

 

The main was a delicious roast pork with Lyonnaise potato and white beans

 

Dessert was an amazing collection of flavours! Mango, coconut, lime, cream, pastry and apple. Followed by coffee and petit fours~

 


http://chez-matsuo.co.jp/restaurant/shoto/
Tel: 03-3485-0566

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Lasagne Lasagne, Kita Aoyama ラザーニャ・ラザーニャ北青山

The lasagne at Lasagne Lasagne is so good I went twice in one week! Evidently something rubbed my up the right way about the experience. It's a casual, friendly Italian restaurant on the top floor of a building next to the building site that used to be Aoyama Bell Commons.

As you might have guessed, their specialty is lasagne. All types you could imagine and with changing weekly specials. This week it was octopus and chilli (surprisingly tasty) and whitebait with cabbage. The other varieties I've tried this week are sausage and raclette, and chicken and pistaccio cream. Their basic bolognese style lasagne has clove in the meat, which elevates an otherwise standard dish.

The sides are delicious too. I sampled an excellent 'Lasagne Lasagne salad', and a great grilled scallop and bean terrine. Desserts are not bad either.

All in all, a great casual, reasonably priced establishment with an interesting twist.


http://lasalasa.caviars.jp/
03-6447-2869

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Steak House Hama, Roppongi ステーキハウスハマ 六本木

It was with much excitement that I accepted the invitation to lunch by a friend to celebrate my birthday at Steak House Hama, Roppongi.

Wow, what a treat! The restaurant is just around the corner from my office and I've been walking past it for a couple of years now, wondering what lies behind the front door of that smart townhouse.

Well, I can report that lots of delicious food is the answer! Pure luxury. Please enjoy the visual feast as much as I enjoyed the actual one.

Very pretty arrangement of the garlic we were later to enjoy with our steak


This is foie gras with apple and a seaweedy sauce (interesting combination)

  

Shrimp


Preparing abalone


Delicious abalone


And the main event



Garlic rice to finish the savoury courses


And then a special birthday platter! 



http://www.gnavi.co.jp/hama/roppongi.htm
Tel: 03-3403-1717