Petit Point, Hiroo プティポワン 広尾

I had been meaning for some time to go again to Petit Point, and an end of year dinner with a good friend seemed like the perfect excuse. It's a small French restaurant located next door to a graveyard in Hiroo, not far from Tengenjibashi. I'm happy to report that, graveyards notwithstanding, the food is very much alive and kicking. So it's really with some sadness that I relate that we were the only people in the restaurant - on a Saturday night coming up to the end of the year! I don't know if it's that the places that got a Michelin star are drawing all the punters now, if it's the dodgy economy or a combination - but it was worrying to me. With regard to the Michelin craze, you know I have to say that I feel rather less positive about it if, for Tokyoites, the lack of a star somehow comes to mean the place is not worthy. Frankly I would say Petit Point, and others like it such as Alladin (but many more come to mind) would easily rate with some of the places in the guide. So by all means I would encourage you to explore the Michelin Guide but please don't go all fundamentalist about it...

Enough ranting. Well a couple of things I didn't like so much, so let's get them out of the way. This is going to sound hyper-critical but I found the service pleasant but lacking warmth. We were the only people in the place but our server really didn't at all attempt to make a connection further than making an announcement about each dish. Hmmm - perhaps I'm too critical but I didn't really feel that welcome. The other thing that irritated a little was that there were no prices shown (at all). We were presented two alternative set courses and told to both order either the same option. We opted for the larger set of the two (what else?), but it wasn't until we got the bill that I found out how much it would cost. As I was taking my friend out, I didn't want to be so gauche as to ask the price as if I was in a negotiation as the souk but... Further, the lovely half-bottle of Vincent Dauvissat 2002 Chablis was not offered with a price. So watch out! Just FYI, including two coupes de champagne, half bottle and the course menu, the bill came to just under 45,000 yen. I don't think that's overpriced but the idea of hiding the price strikes as rather pretentious and belongs to another era. OK sorry Terry - enough vulgar discussion of the price of things!!!

When we arrived, on the table there was a dish with an intriguing Indian-style spice mix on it which was an accompaniment to bread and olive oil. Dinner opened with a foie gras served with fig jam. The foie gras had hints of an aromatic herb that I couldn't pin point and was delicious. This was followed by a clear, buttery soup of small but plump mussels and crunchy, chopped vegetables. In a soup you usually expect the veges to be cooked till they're soft and mushy, but the texture of the veges here was a surprise and doubled my interest in the dish. To follow was a croquette of hamaguri, a kind of clam, which was covered in a deep fried bird's nest of cornflour and a foam flavoured with scallop. This dish combined a very interesting taste and texture. Honestly speaking I found the hamaguri itself to be not much more than a chewy piece of rubber, but I suppose this is how it's meant to be! Hmm. Following this was a divine piece of wagyu beef served with tiny potato cubes cooked in the meat's lard. With the spurt of balsamic on the plate and the horseradish, this dish was a hit. Next to come was the cheese which was a suitably soft Mont d'Or which is a Swiss cheese often used in fondue. The dessert was a pleasant caramel pudding served with yummy ice cream, nuts, dried fruit and a cute little "moon man" made of sugar. This was followed by a delicious coffee and petit fours.

Petit Point is somewhere I would put on my circuit of above average restaurants for business or pleasure. I thought it would have been nice if the chef came out to say hello, and I have to admit that I found this to be a hint of arrogance along with the the no price policy but I guess I can overlook it...this time at least.
Tel: 03-3449-3975


Anonymous said…
You were perhaps fortunate that the chef did not make an appearance. He did when we visited, conducting a 30 minute conversation with the table beside us (you know how close those tables are!). Great for picking up culinary gossip in Japanese, but it rather ruined the atmosphere for us and others.

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