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, 27 January 2008

Da Noi, Nishi Azabu リストランテ・ダノイ 西麻布 

Da Noi is a little Italian restaurant situated in a basement at the Hiroo end of Nishi Azabu. We turned up at 2pm on a Sunday, technically after the last order was to be taken but they were still happy to seat us - a rarity in Tokyo. Anyway, for 1,600 yen you can have a lunch set which includes an antipasto and a pasta, but no drink. They also have larger sets if you are up for it. I ordered a prosciutto and vegetable antipasto and a homemade tagliatelle with ragout. Both dishes were very tasty, but the plate of tagliatelle was tiny. In the end it didn't matter because the waitress had brought out so much lovely hot bread - a roll, a piece of baguette and finally a very nice focaccia. The bread was served with a dish of light olive oil that the waitress kept filled. In fact the service was extremely attentive, pleasant and thoughful.

They also have a branch at Tokyo Midtown on the plaza opposite Starbucks. I go there often for a good, honest lunch set although be prepared for the indignity of being asked to pay in advance if you sit outside...
Tel: 03-3440-4424

Shanghai Shuka, Nishi Shimbashi 上海酒家 西新橋

I have come to discover that the back streets of Nishi Shimbashi are dotted with lots of interesting Asian restaurants, including this one called Shanghai Shuka. It's very inexpensive, and the staff are all Chinese which assures one of the authenticity of the cooking. A great little place for lunch if you are in the area. It's also been featured on my favourite morning TV show "Asa no Vita" which is shown on TV Tokyo every week day at 8am. This is a great TV show if you are into food and it's well worth watching even if you can't understand it all.

Il Ristorante Nella Pergola, Hiroo イル リストランテ ネッラ ペルゴラ  広尾

Pergola is a modern Italian restaurant situated in Komazawa Dori not far from Ebisu Prime Square in Hiroo. It has been on my list of "must trys" for a while now and I recently had the opportunity to have dinner there on a Saturday night. The dining room is relatively small and, with a wooden floor, it can get a little noisy. We were given only the option of an 8,000 yen menu where you can select an entree, a pasta, a main and a dessert. I ordered the sea bream carpaccio, gnocchi with ragout, veal cutlet and espresso and grappa souffle. My dining partner ordered the 6-year aged parmesan and black pepper tagliolini and the grilled duck, which she reports were both divine. The sea bream was served with some flecks of cream, herbs and a few little pieces of black caviar scattered through and was a delight to bite down on. The gnocchi and ragout was delicious and velvety and I strongly suspected that my dining partner wished that she had ordered it! The veal cutlet was crumbed and had been finished in the oven with some cheese and tomato. It was cooked medium rare and was nice enough. All of this was washed down with a good 1999 Barbaresco (an Italian red). The small espresso and grappa souffle was delicious and came with a little side of crushed ice and cream in a shot glass. The meal was topped off beautifully with some grappa. The service is a little awkward but extremely willing and pleasant. I would recommend Pergola for business or pleasure and this will certainly not be my last visit.
Tel: 03-5464-1288

Lettre D'Amour, Shirokane レトルダムール 白金

Near the top of Platinum Street you'll find a little cake shop called Lettre D'Amour. I have been walking past this place for many years and on occasion even walked in to look at the cakes. Only recently did I realise that there is a well patronised cafe on the second floor. The other day I decided to try it out. First I was directed to order my cake at the counter downstairs, then led by a waiter to the room upstairs where I was given the opportunity to order my tea. It's a strange system but you get a discount on the tea if you buy a cake and for both served together it's 1,000 yen. The second floor has a great view of the street and if you get the right table you can spy on the affluent passers by walking their dogs or driving by in their "supercars". The cake was the most delicious I have had for a long time- pistachio flavoured coating, with a layer of white chocolate cream then a core of slighty acidic, berry flavoured cream with a few real berries scattered through on a biscuit base. This was artistically served with some chopped grapefruit (which gave a great taste contrast) and dots of caramel and berry sauces. The combination of flavours was terrific, and all this was pleasantly washed down with a pot of Darjeeling tea. Usually I find these little tea rooms and cake stores terribly prissy and fussy, but I would recommend this place if you need to meet someone for coffee around Shirokane.
Tel: 03-5488-5051

Saturday, 26 January 2008

My Humble House, Ginza マイハンブルハウス東京 銀座

When my friend suggested going to "My Humble House" I thought we'd be in for pizza on the floor at her place. How wrong I was! My Humble House is in fact a large, designer's style restaurant in the middle of Ginza, near the Printemps department store. It's the child of a famous restaurant of the same name in Singapore. The ambience is dark and luxurious with plenty of plush, wrap-around banquettes and amazing wallpaper and ceiling coverings that reminded my very much of something Florence Broadhurst, the celebrated Australian wallpaper designer who died in mysterious circumstances, would have put together. We ordered a fixed menu which consisted of an entree, a fish, a main and a dessert. The entree platter had on it a fried prawn with green mayonnaise, some chinese barbecued pork and a little fresh spring roll with a dab of mango sauce. A white fish served in a bowl with fresh herbs and a little broth followed. Then we were served slow cooked pork in a little soup and a small Chinese bun to soak up the juices. Dessert was a small yogurt served with yuzu jelly. If I put the food against a good Chinese restaurant it may not come off so well in the comparison, however it was a very nice meal and I would recommend it for the stylish ambience as much as anything.

ハンブルハウス (銀座)

Tel: 03-5524-6166

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Meat-ya, Asagaya ミート屋 阿佐ヶ谷

Asagaya has two interesting features, a long tree lined avenue starting at the train station and a covered shopping arcade (shotengai) that runs parallel almost all the way. It's not really a place that you would visit unless you had a good reason but once you're there you will discover that it's a remarkably pleasant locale. In the middle of the shotengai is the most amazing little spaghetti shop. There is but one dish on the menu - spaghetti with meat sauce. This is not just your everyday meat sauce mind you. This ultra rich, dark bolognaise style sauce is simmered for about a day before being served with your choice or soft boiled egg and/or fried eggplant. Before the sauce is ladled on the pasta (a linguine) is cooked ramen style using a bamboo strainer and then tossed with lashings of butter and parmesan cheese. The final result is quite delicious and well worth the lengthy wait; the restaurant is tiny and there is always a line so I would aim to get there either early or late!

ミート屋 (阿佐ヶ谷)

Tel: 03-3315-3104

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant, Roppongi Hills  南翔饅頭店 六本木ヒルズ

There is only one reason to come to this Chinese theme style restaurant in Roppongi Hills - that is for their pork soup dumplings. These are not dumplings inside a bowl of soup - these are dumplings where the soup is to be found inside! They are simply delicious and even better when you combine them with the shredded ginger that they are served with. Just watch out though as the juice inside is usually piping hot so don't burn your mouth! I wouldn't bother ordering anything else. On my last visit I ordered some Chinese vegetables for 1,250 yen and out came three sorry looking leaves and stalks with a bit of sauce whereas you usually get a whole pile in any other place worth its salt. Oh well, they're working us over, but I can overlook it as those dumplings are good!

南翔饅頭店 (六本木)

Tel: 03-5413-9581

Le Garçon de la Vigne, Hiroo ル ギャルソン ドゥ ラ ヴィーニュ 広尾

You might be forgiven for thinking that I have a preference for French restaurants since I have written about so many on my blog. Well it's not quite true but we are so spoiled for choice in Tokyo. My latest subject is a restaurant in the Hiroo shopping street that I have been to several times. It is a small restaurant situated on the lower ground floor and decorated in an authentic French style. On my last visit I had a prawn cocktail for entree. It was so much better than it sounds if you're used to those 70's style prawn cocktails with thousand island sauce. This one consisted of some delicious prawns served with fresh daikon, avocado and a light mustard sauce. I had oysters baked with a light Hollandaise style sauce for my main. Both the prawns and the oysters were fresh and therefore delicious. They are open for lunch and the food is always decent. If you are looking for a nice unpretentious French meal in Hiroo with brisk service you could not go past Le Garçon de la Vigne once in while. Because the tables are very close together I would tend to recommend it less for business than pleasure.

ル ギャルソン ドゥ ラ ヴィーニュ (広尾)


Tel: 03-3445-6626

Sunday, 13 January 2008

La Fille Liliale, Meguro ラ・フィーユ・リリアル 目黒

La Fille Liliale is a charming French restaurant in a quiet back-street off Meguro Dori on the Shirokane side of Meguro station. I recently took Sunday lunch there with a friend and, amazingly, we were the only customers to dine there that day. I am determined to do something about that because this place is a secret that should not be kept! The lunch set costs 4,000 yen, which includes an amuse bouche, an entree, a soup, a main and a dessert. This is super value when taking into account the excellent quality of the ingredients, their knowledgeable combining and skillful cooking. I took the cold foie gras for my entree and it was without doubt the best foie gras I have had for a while. It came with a dried fig in the middle and was accompanied by a pear and butter compote as well as a dainty salad comprising among other things dill, fennel and red lettuce. This was followed by the soup which was an interesting tasting green bean and cream concoction. For my main I took the veal roll which was stuffed with herbed seasoning and served with vegetables. The dessert was a "strawberry gratin" comprised of strawberries covered in a custard and then baked and topped with a scoop of raspberry sorbet. This was such an original dish and it tasted divine. I will definitely be back to see if they can top this performance at dinner!