Somewhere in the midst of the concrete jungle that is Shiodome you will find (hopefully) the Conrad Hotel. This designer hotel is home to Gordon Ramsay's Tokyo flagship (and the slightly less fancy Ramsay project, "Cerise"). I went there recently for my birthday dinner, hoping for something a little bit special. The decor, ambiance and number of waiters are what you expect from a restaurant at a Tokyo five star hotel, and the 28th floor dining room offers views over the neighbouring towers. After we were sat in our comfortable chairs a truffle cream cheese dip with tiny rusks was presented to us, which was a promising start. The a la carte menu is not very large, but there were two set menus to choose from, the "Prestige" for 24,000 yen and the "Spring" for 15,000 yen. In a fit of moderation we opted for the Spring menu which consisted of two entrees, a main and two desserts.
We started with a glass of Henriot Blanc Souverain Champagne, which is 100% chardonnay, very dry and very delicious. The opening food act was an "amuse" of a foamy onion cream soup in a small coffee cup. This was delicious, with a very potent onion flavour. The first entree was a pork hock terrine with a stripe of foie gras in the middle served with pickled cauliflower and onions and a small piece of lightly toasted foccacia. The overall impression of this dish was very homely. The second entree was a bisected scallop served with two small mushroom and truffle ravioli and a mint foam. This dish with its little truffle bombs and mint contrast, was quite delicious and I could have easily had another! The main course was a slow cooked piece of pork belly served with sauerkraut, tiny artichoke pieces and a little langoustine. To be honest the pork was a little bit fatty and bland, but the langoustine and the accompaniments were very tasty. In line with the moderate theme of the evening, these foods were washed down with just a half bottle of Pouilly-Fumé which was sweet but only lightly so and very enjoyable. The first dessert course was a small banana pudding (which I passed on as I do not like banana), and one of our servers, having recognised that I was rejecting the pudding brought over a little verveine sorbet which was very tasty. The second dessert course was brilliant, a chocolate ganache served with passionfruit cream and coconut ice cream. The design on the plate was stunning, reminding us of a Mondrian painting in caramel. Dessert was, hands down, the best course of the evening.
While the meal was very pleasant overall and it was interesting to finally try out a Gordon Ramsay restaurant, on the night the innovativeness of the food and overall experience compared to the price was not benchmark-setting, and my search for the truly amazing premium class dinner continues. Veteran Tokyo foodie Terry White has a much more enthusiastic point of view on this establishment (he was lucky enough to go there when THE Gordon Ramsay was actually there), and you can read his review here.