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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Thursday, 23 February 2012

Kaseiro, Kamakura 華正樓鎌倉

Kaseiro was recommended to me at least two years ago by my hairdresser, Nobu. I've been going to his salon as long as I've been in Japan, and he always has some interesting thoughts on places to go and things to do around Tokyo.

He described it as "Chinese food served by middle-aged ladies in Kimono". Well, I can't really put it better than that! It's opposite the big Buddha in Kamakura which means that, on a weekend, you can expect loads of traffic and hoards  of people bustling about, which does not make for a relaxing time. Also, if you want to drive to Kamakura on a weekend you should budget for lots of time to get there - or leave early.

On the day I visited, our party set out by car around 12.30pm and arrived at 3.30pm. We called ahead, not really expecting to still be able to do lunch as we had booked for 1pm, but the restaurant told us there was no problem and they were waiting for us. The parking area is a bit of a challenge as you need first of all to get into it past the traffic and then find a slot. Eventually some people leaving a funeral drove out so we were able to park. Actually there were a couple of funeral lunches on that day, lending a rather less than festive tone.

One advantage of being late was that we got to have our own private room, with a nice view over Kamakura out to the sea. To our astonishment at one point a bushy tailed squirrel dashed past, adding to the lovely atmosphere in this old building.

The food is old-school Japanese chuuka, and rather refined at that. It's not cheap, but the experience is unique and I'd highly recommend it as a place to bring foreigners. Noone could be failed to be charmed by the service and surroundings.

Tel: 0467-22-0280

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Atelui, Ebisu あてるい恵比寿

Atelui bills itself as an Hokkaido dining and old rock bar. I'm sure many an old rock favourite has been heard over fresh as can be seafood delights from Hokkaido.

Apart from a menu of seafood and assorted other bar food they offer a fixed-price "tabehoudai" of oysters served either grilled or fresh for an hour or so. They don't exactly force them on you but if you keep pushing you will get your fill!

An Hokkaido resident hangs outside to greet you...

Fresh oysters

This fish is a "hoke", and it's completely tasty with a unique buttery mouthfeel.

Ikura's not totally my cup of tea but my dining partner went gaga over this pile!

Karaage was as good as it looks!

Potato croquette to finish - I needed something unhealthy after all that fish.
Tel: 03-5784-2668

Retro, Azabu れとろ麻布

Retro is a wine bar/ izakaya to be found a little off the beaten track on the Roppongi end of Azabu Juban (actually it's in Moto Azabu to be precise). There are no other shops or businesses in the immediate vicinity and the establishment takes up an entire house. There are tables and a counter area downstairs, as well as an upstairs area. The place is nicely decorated and the obis draped over a pole as a feature on the second floor are an interesting touch.

The food and wines are mostly French. On the night I visited my dining partner and I were the only customers in the restaurant which allowed us to speak very freely. I suspect that the place is usually not so crowded so if you are looking for somewhere intimate and relaxed this would be perfect.

I found all the food to be very good and wine, served by the glass, was delicious.

Kind of a retro luxe feel upstairs

Pâté de campagne was very tasty

The foie gras served with cinnamon pancake, strawberry and cream was decadently delicious!

As if it wasn't naughty enough already, the foie gras also came with some port!

This "butterfish" definitely lived up to its name making for a unique taste sensation.

The main dish was this rare pork served with Japanese vegetables (including gobo, to the chagrin of my dining partner, but he never offered it to me!)

Tarte tartin to finish
Tel: 03-3478-2666

Tsunahachi, Nishi Shinjuku つな八西新宿

If you're like me and you hate lining up for anything then I suggest you give the Nishi Shinjuku branch of Tsunahachi a try. Tsunahachi has branches all over the place and is famous for its delicious tempura. The honten (hq) is in Shinjuku, but if you walk just a little further you can go to the top of Opera City Tower, and you probably won't have to line up. Further, if you get a window seat the views are amazing. My suggestion would be to book ahead to get the window!

Tel: 03-5353-0278