In these sub-prime economic times one may be tempted to cut back a little. Speaking as someone who has done rather poorly out of this financial crisis I might say that is quite understandable. But nevertheless if one can't dine properly then life is not really civilised - so I will continue my dining habit until they pry my credit card from my cold, dead hands. I hope all my readers will keep dining in these times, keeping their spirits high and all these fabulous Tokyo restaurants afloat.
So in that spirit, I finally made it to Le Bourguignon which is just down from Roppongi Hills in the street where you'll find the Chinese Embassy (and the resident protesters). This restaurant is one that I have walked past for years and never tried. I don't quite know what it was that stopped me going until now. I guess it looked a little on the expensive side and I didn't really see the justification. If you do make it inside you'll find that for lunch there is quite a reasonable lunch set costing 2,625 yen which includes an amuse, entree, main, dessert and plenty of bread and water. If you don't opt for this and choose à la carte you'll find that even the cheapest entree costs more than the entire set menu. This is just silly when you think about it.
Anyway I chose the set, and also ordered a glass of the house champagne which turned out to be a Veuve Clicquot, served with exceptional grace by our waitress. The amuse was a scrumptious little puff with bacon and cheese. This was followed by a foamy mushroom soup with a deep fried cigarello of prawn. I found the soup to be initially quite potent but the taste kind of wore off as I went on. Unfortunately although the prawn cigarello looked great, it was clear when I tasted it that it had been sitting around for some time - so it was a bit limp and quite disappointing. With the entree the waitress brought out three French white wines for me to choose from but didn't really explain anything about them. I opted for an Alsatian wine which turned out to be way too sweet.
For the main I ordered a couscous which was served with a delicious spicy merguez sausage, lamb brochette and a hot pot of capsicum, eggplant, onion and lamb chunks. A little dish of harissa was served on the side which spiced up a very tasty dish just to the right level.
After the main was finished it took a very long time for the plates to be removed but our waitress kindly covered the shame of my spilt sauce on the white tablecloth with a new serviette. After what was a wait of at least 30 minutes for the dessert plate (during which the fellow dining alone at the adjacent table actually fell asleep) a very acceptable plate of pear cheesecake, raspberry and chocolate mousse and potent vanilla bean ice cream was served. This was followed by a very ordinary tasting coffee (it is suprising how few restaurants in Tokyo actually know how to make a decent coffee).
All in all, although with all the waiting I did feel a bit like a prisoner towards the end, it was a pleasant lunch and I think the chef deserves credit for his work. I had some gripes in that the packed dining room was so stuffy I was spiflicating until I finally asked them to turn on the air-conditioning, and the service was in some respects inexplicably slow. Nevertheless I would recommend you give them a go. The à la carte menu looked pretty interesting and the prices may make more sense at dinner.