L'Embellir, Minami Aoyama ランベリー南青山
My evening at L'Embellir didn't start so well. The location was (I thought) well known to me and I had put some thought into planning a short cut where the taxi could drop my dining partner and I, so that I would not arrive dripping in sweat (this being summer and all). Well, although there was a sign, it was taped over and there was no indication of a restaurant ever having been in the building. One phone call (well actually two as the phone number had also changed) pointed us in the right direction. These days L'Embellir is located in a basement just behind the space-age Prada building.
We duly arrived after a ten minute walk with me playing my role of sweaty gaijin to a "t". That was all soon forgotten as we were seated in a cosy corner couch-style table and glasses of Bollinger were brought. This very nicely set the tone for the amazing, sumptuous feast that was to follow.
The conception and execution of the food at L'Embellir is extremely good and I can honestly say have not had such a special meal since my visit last year to Creations de Narisawa. Their basic menu is a surprisingly reasonable 12,600 yen. The only trick for young players, if one is on a budget, is not to let them bring you wine by the glass. I was given one which ended up costing 6,500 yen, perhaps a little bit over the top, especially seeing as I was not even shown what I was drinking. I'm pretty sure it wasn't Yellow Tail, but a decent sommelier should explain what he has selected and why. The cheese cart (which I highly recommend!) will also set you back 2,400 yen each and is not included in the menu. I was the only one drinking and adding some water and a half bottle of Puligny Montrachet we were looking at just shy of 50,000 yen for dinner. So, I need to warn you - special occasions only!
The basic "Menu Beauté" comes with two amuses, three entrees, a fish, a meat, a pre-dessert, a dessert, coffee, petit fours and lastly what I would describe as "bon-bonnerie". We were also given a little biscuit and nougat to take home. I promise you, you will not starve at this here modern French restaurant!
I would be very happy to return to L'Embellir for a special occasion, expecting a very luxurious and wonderful dinner. The only recommendation I would make to them is to loosen up the service. The numerous waiters were all rather serious, and I could not say that I felt any personal warmth from any of them. It's always best not to take oneself too seriously...
Beautifully set table
"Madai" with rice crispies on top and puréed potato. The fried cauliflower was overcooked IMO (sorry chef!)