L’OSIER Lunch

It is close to impossible to find a table at the newly opened three star Michelin restaurant L’Osier in Ginza. Even after requesting a table a month before, we only managed to snag a table for lunch and that was in their private room. So we had to summon a group of 8 people to accompany us for lunch last week. The interior of new L’Osier Ginza is subtly grand and I loved the cream-colored interior. Here is a picture I snatched from their website.

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I was expecting their service to be somewhat formal and stuffy but was pleasantly surprised by the warm and hearty welcome. Lionel who served us, spoke perfect English and took great care of every detail throughout our lunch. I was really hungry and did not feel like drinking champagne on an empty stomach so he sent me some lovely nibbles.

Little nibbles

Little nibbles

Followed by a lovely mushroom custard.

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A sea urchin and shell fish custard with an egg shell broth flavored with saffron followed.

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Next, came a sea bass fillet encased in bread with grapefruit juice served with mint flavored zucchini puree. I have never been much of a grapefruit fan and found this dish to be a little sour, but most of my other friends liked it.

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Next course was a slice of beef cheek, glazed beetroot and turnips with carrot puree and cumin moose. The beef cheek was wonderfully soft.

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A fresh pre dessert sorbet followed.

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The dessert was a lovely creme brûlée, flavored with orange blossom, cottage cheese and lemon ice cream.

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And to end things on a sweet note, some lovely little delights from the sweet delicacy trolley.

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It was truly an extraordinary elaborate lunch which will throw you back about 14.000 yen excluding drinks but well worth it!.

Price : $$$

L’OSIER
7-5-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061
Phone : +81-(0)3-3571-6050

HORIKANE

Nestled in a very unassuming side street in the Shirokanedai neighborhood, Horikane’s excellent cuisine is anything but modest. The Michelin guide stated that “Owner-chef Hidehiro Horiuchi’s kitchen is a place of focused concentration”. The interior of this tiny restaurant may be a little dated but the brilliance of Horikane’s dishes are anything but obsolete.

Chef Horiuchi combines Japanese with chinese style and here are the series of exquisitely crafted dishes I was privileged enough to try.

Vegetable Appetizers

Vegetable Appetizers

I wish I could have asked what the dish on the right was but my limited Japanese skills couldn’t figure it out. The next dish was my absolute favorite. Not only was it extremely creative it was also highly delectable, a thick shark fin soup in a mango fruit. You were asked to eat it like you would a coconut. Scraping the mango flesh and eating it with the soup. Heavenly.

Sharkfin soup in a mango fruit

Sharkfin soup in a mango fruit

Next came three slices of the freshest fatty tuna (toro) with an array of condiments.

Tuna toro

Tuna toro

Following the tuna, came a squid dish bathed in black squid ink.

Squid ink dish

Squid ink dish

Next came what I thought was a tofu dish but actually wasn’t. Once again, limited Japanese language skills hindered me from finding out what it was but at least I can show you how it looked like.

Tofu-like dish

Tofu-like dish

And as the main course we were served Horikane’s famous hot pot with chunks of vegetables and delicious fish inside.

The hotpot

The hot pot

Then came a wonderful truffle scented rice porridge with poached eggs. Comfort food for my tummy.

Truffle scented rice porridge with poached eggs

Truffle scented rice porridge with poached eggs

And to end things on a sweet note. Some lovely strawberries in a sesame sauce.

I truly loved my meal. It would set you can around 25.000 to 30.000 yen but is absolutely worth it.

Price : $$$

HORIKANE
5-10-13 Shirokanedai
Minato-ku Tokyo
Phone : 03-3280-4629

 

 

AHILL

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This restaurant calls itself a “French Teppanyaki” restaurant so I was rather intrigued to find out what that meant. Ahill has a branch in nishi-azabu but I visited the one at the Velvia building in Ginza a few days ago for lunch with some friends. It was a small and cozy restaurant on the 8th floor with a very reasonable lunch set menu of 2000 or 3500 yen.

There are three choices of appetizers and we decided to each take something different to taste. Here is what we had :

First appetizer choice : Shrimp quenelles gratin style with mushroom and potatoes

First appetizer choice : Shrimp quenelles gratin style with mushroom and potatoes

Second appetizers choice : Yellowtail marinated with ginger, tomato and eggplant tapenade

Second appetizers choice : Yellowtail marinated with ginger, tomato and eggplant tapenade

And the third appetizer choice some roast beef with horseradish gravy

And the third appetizer choice some roast beef with horseradish gravy

Then came a soothing warm pumpkin potage.

Warm pumpkin potage

Warm pumpkin potage

If you order the 3500 yen set you will get an extra plate of today’s fish.

salmon. The fish of the day.

Salmon. The fish of the day.

There are also three choices of the main course which is rump steak, hamburger or sautéed pork.

The rump steak

The rump steak

The hamburger with pieces of foie gras inside

The hamburger with pieces of foie gras inside

What comes next is a definite must try. Their fried curry rice. The 2000 yen menu doesn’t have this in it, but you can order extra for 500 yen. Definitely worth it!. It was one of the best curry rice I’ve tried.

The fried curry rice

The fried curry rice

The creme brule is also a definite must try. I loved how thin it was so you can really taste the burnt crust.

The creme brule

The creme brule

And there is also a choice of apple mousse dessert.

Apple mousse dessert

Apple mousse dessert

So this is what you call French-Teppanyaki. I loved my meal. It was delicious for its reasonable price. I especially loved the curry rice and creme brule. I think I might come back.

Price : $

AHILL.
Ginza2-4-6, Ginza Velcia-kan 8F
Phone : 3562-8080

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TERRES DE TRUFFE

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Truffles have always held the top spot on my list of favorite foods, right up there next to honey.  So when I found this restaurant that serves all things truffles up to its desserts, I was naturally overjoyed. I used to frequent this restaurant when it was still housed in Roppongi Hills. They closed for a year before recently (finally) opening their cosy doors to the public in a quiet back street of Aoyama. The interior is less formal in their new location, looking more like a cosy french bistro.

They have a set and ala carte menu with wine pairing options. The set menu costs about 15.000 yen. My husband and I tried the set menu and before I go and post pictures of our meal, here is a picture of my favorite food up close.

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Isn’t she a beauty ?

And here is what we had on our menu…

Starting off simple with a slice of bread covered with cheese and slices of truffle accompanied by a small cup of hot chicken soup. This is always my favorite starter.

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Followed by some sliced fish covered with truffles. This dish is deliciously fresh.

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Another one of my favorite dish came after. A perfectly soft half poached egg in a light chicken broth with truffle slices.

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Next is a signature dish of Terres de truffe. Baked potato in a cream sauce with generous shavings of white truffle on top.

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And a wonderful seared scallop with zucchini and a slice of truffle came soon after.
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Followed by the main dish. Wagyu beef with foie gras and black truffles.

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This dish was accompanied by some lovely truffled rice.

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For dessert, we decided to try two different options. A vanilla ice cream with truffled caramel sauce and truffled cheese pannacota. Both were delicious.

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It was an absolutely wonderful feast and it being truffle season right now, it would be the perfect time to go.

Price : $$$

TERRES DE TRUFFE.
Reve Minami Aoyama  Bldg 1F
2-27-6 Minami Aoyama
Minato-ku, Tokyo
Phone : 0357722139

MERCER BRUNCH. The best French toast in town.

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Brunch everyday is the concept of this cute little restaurant in Roppongi near the Tokyo Midtown establishment. It is relatively new and the cosy design of this establishment has been pulling me in every time I pass by. I finally walked in for lunch a couple of days ago and loved the design of the place. A small dining room is laid out around a cosy fire-place.

IMG_5499Standard brunch dishes are on the menu and here is what we had.

Nordic salmon with fried egg

Nordic salmon with fried egg

Grilled chicken and eggs

Grilled chicken and eggs

But it is these babies that are the highlight of my visit…

Heavenly brioche french toast

Heavenly brioche french toast

The brunch food was just standard but the french toast was to die for!. I have never tasted a french toast so perfectly moist and delicious. A unanimous vote was cast by me and my two other lunch friends. This is definitely the best french toast in town.

Price: $

MERCER BRUNCH
Address 4-2-35 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Telephone 03 3470 6551
Open Mon-Fri 10am-3.30pm, 6pm-midnight; Sat, Sun & hols 9am-midnight

IRIE LE JOYEUX

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I am thrilled to be sharing with you my latest discovery,  a wonderful little french restaurant serenely and fashionably nestled somewhere behind the Prada flagship store in Omotesando/Aoyama. If you are familiar with the area, Irie Le Joyeux is on the second floor of the building right next to Dries van Noten.

Decorated in soothing hues of nude colors, you immediately feel welcomed. None of the stuffy atmosphere of a classic french restaurant here. Minimalism is the name of the game.

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Through an elongated window at its side wall, you can watch chef Irie and his team work their magic.  They have two choices of dinner menus,  one that is around 12.000 yen and their grand menu that cost around 15.000 yen per person. The menu only comes in Japanese and French but within minutes of choosing the grand menu, chef Irie himself had a special menu printed for us with English translations and his signature in the back. I thought this was a nice touch. So, here are pictures of our feast that wasn’t just pleasing for the stomach but also soothing to the eyes.

First came a cute little plate of bite size bread munchies.

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Followed by the first small appetizer which was a very vibrant dish of Hokkaido marinated Sanma fish with Gunma eggplant puree, red beets and tomato jelly.

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Our next dish was a wonderful and very color coordinated cold entree of Hokkaido scallop carpaccio and caviar with purple cabbage marinated in amontillado served with wasabi goat cheese.

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The warm entree which was a delicate mushroom soup with sauteed foie gras, flan and milk cappuccino was actually my favorite dish of the night.

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An autumn inspired seafood dish followed. Tandoori Pan fried sea bass from Ishikawa prefecture served with welk clams, chinese cabbage and black rice puree.

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The meat dish that followed was absolutely delectable. Kumamoto Akaushi slow-roasted beef with Syrah sauce, hokkaido oven roasted onions and ricotta cheese accent.

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After the meat course came an innovative cheese dish of blue cheese cream with hazelnut oil, radish and crouton with chrysanthemum puree.

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And a little pre dessert came before the actual dessert. Sauternes Marinated Persimmon from Kyoto with mascarpone cream.

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Chef irie’s tarte tatin was the grand dessert. A raspberry jelly with tart of fuji apple, custard and cinnamon ice cream.

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And to accompany your tea or coffee, these lovely little delights.

IMG_5494This sums up our wonderful feast. Beautiful, don’t you think ?

Price: $$

IRIE LE JOYEUX
Luce Minami Aoyama, 2F
5-5-4 Minami Aoyama
phone : 03-6418-7778
 

MAKOTO Steak house

If I was asked to name my pick for best restaurant in Tokyo to this date then it would be this little place. Makoto. Hidden in a small dark alley in Nihonbashi, you would never guess the quality of food that comes from this little steakhouse that sits about 10 people. I am always amused at the bewildered look on my guest’s faces as I guide them through this alley adorned with entangled clothes lines and storage boxes filled with liquor for the first time. The road leading to this restaurant may not be scenic, but politicians, actors and ex prime ministers have definitely sat at Makoto’s table.  There is no sign at the door and I remember ringing the wrong door on my first visit. When you get the right door, you enter a cozy little restaurant with bar seats furnished in light wood. The elderly chef will always greet you with a smile and try to converse in his limited English, making you feel right at home.

Makoto doesn’t have a set menu but the chef will ask if you would like appetizers or just the steak. This is what I usually have.

Japanese coleslaw starter

Makoto’s famous coleslaw starter

Followed by the most delicious raw beef sashimi ever. If you look like a foreigner, the chef will always ask… “Raw beef ok?”. Trust me it is more than ok. The beef melts in your mouth in such a wondrously delicate way, you start wondering if this really is raw beef that you are swallowing.

Raw beef sushi

Raw beef sashimi

A simple dish of the most deliciously sweet shrimps fried in bread crumbs are next.

Fried shrimp in bread batter

Fried shrimp in bread batter

One of my favorite dishes follows, a mini bowl of clam gratin, Japanese style. So perfectly smooth and silky you wish you could lick the bowl clean.

Japanese clam chowder

Japanese clam gratin

For the next dish, the chef usually asks another question if you look like a foreigner.  “Ox tongue ok?”. I suggest you nod because this next dish is absolutely divine. The ox tongue that comes with some grated wasabi on top of it is so soft you won’t even have to bite through it.

Ox tongue with grated wasabi

Ox tongue with grated wasabi

Last but not least, the wonderfully savory steak. At this point, I’m usually so full I hand half my steak over to be made into a sandwich that I’ll have for breakfast the next day. The chef will also ask you if you’d like some garlic rice after the steak and I suggest you try it. Ask for a small portion if you are too full.

The steak

The steak

As the saying goes, dessert goes into another stomach, so I always have room for this simple dessert which I find totally brilliant. Seared white toast drizzled in honey and sprinkled with a little salt. It looks so simple I tried doing it at home a few times but it failed to come out even close to Makoto’s.

Seared white toast drizzled with honey

Seared white toast drizzled with honey

If you can stomach a jolt of caffeine then I suggest you end your meal with this exquisite irish coffee. It might keep you up all night but you should try it at least once. Finish every drop, the last part is the best. If not, opt for the refreshing iced tea that comes spiced with a little brandy.

Iced tea and coffee

Iced tea and coffee

This wonderful feast will set you back about 30.000 yen per person, but if you ask me, its absolutely worth it!.

Price : $$$

MAKOTO
Address: 1-4-5 Nihonbashi Honcho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

Tel: 03-3241-7502