Day 3 Tokyo 2018 Dinner at TY Bis
Day 3 Tokyo 2018 Dinner at TY Bis
Monday was my last day of work before moving. I was keeping an eye on all the travel and airline sites watching airfares to Tokyo. Wednesday I was able to get a price I was happy with so bit the bullet and booked myself for a couple of days away.
This trip I flew JAL. Good flight and service. I shed a few happy tears as we landed, bit silly but Tokyo is one of my happy places. Very quick through immigration and customs, around half an hour, which was a pleasant experience for a change. Bought my ticket for the Airport Limousine Bus which got me to the Mitsui Garden Ginza Premier hotel and then a short walk to where I am staying. Nice weather with a temperature of 32C when we landed.
This trip I am staying right in the heart of Ginza. A small hotel, Sotetsu Fresa Inn, two blocks back from the main street but still close to Shimbashi station. In fact I dare say it may be a shorter walk than from Shiodome. The room is small by western standards but for one person it is adequate and very comfortable.
After checking in it was time for a walk and dinner. I felt like tempura so headed to a regular restaurant I go to, Ginza Tenkuni. Only a 5 minute walk from the hotel so very handy.
Perusing the menu I decided on a tempura don set. 2 tempura ebi(prawns), tempura whiting, tempura renkon(lotus root), tempura nasu(eggplant) and kakiage(small pieces of squid cooked in tempura batter) served on rice with sauce then poured over. This was accompanied by miso soup and pickles. A cup of hot green tea was also bought out. I ordered a glass of plum sake/umueshu on the rocks. This one wasn’t too sweet and was quite refreshing.
Funny how I am not keen on miso soup back in Australia, but when I am in Tokyo I love it! This one was nice and dark with lots of flavour
After my delicious dinner, I took a walk around some regular spots in Ginza checking prices at the bottle shops, deciding what to get to take home. Quite surprised to see one of my favourite Japanese Whiskey’s not available at all. No Yamazaki anywhere! And the Hibiki limited to 1 per person.
A glass of Chassagne Montrachet at Ginza Felice, then back to the air conditioned comfort of my room.
Tomorrow I am contemplating Meiji Jingu and Yaskuni Jinja or a trip out to Omiya. Will decide over breakfast.
Catch you next time!
For our past few visits to Tokyo we have been wanting to have a meal at Il Ristorante Luca Fantin. This restaurant is part of the ever diversifying Bulgari brand, and is located on the 9th floor of the Bulgari Ginza Tower. We have previously enjoyed champagne and chocolate in the bar and can finally say we have eaten at Bulgari.
This year, on a miserably wet day, we managed to have lunch at Il Ristorante. There are three options for lunch, each with a set number of courses (3, 5 or 7) all with an amuse bouche (or three) first and for dinner, two meus with either 5 or 7 courses plus amuse bouche.
After ascending to the 9th floor you are greeted and taken through to the dining room. Floor to ceiling windows line three sides of the room, giving views of Ginza. Tables are all substantial wood, covered with a delightful golden coloured tablecloth. Our seasonal flower on the table was a magnificent purple hydrangea. Silverware was all Bulgari designed and made.
First to the table was an amazing selection of breads and rolls. Accompanied by some sensational Italian extra virgin olive oil and Hawaiian black salt and sea salt flakes. They are really generous with the bread as they refilled another two times.
Our first amuse was two types of “crackers”. Corn chip with an aioli, and fish skin cracker with a piquant sauce.
Our second amuse bouche was finely sliced snow pea topped with salmon roe.
And our final amuse was corn crisp with smoke mascarpone cheese and corn chowder.
Insalata di verdure cotte e crude con crema di parmigiano (Raw and cooked vegetables with parmesan cream). This dish consisted of 20 types of vegetables either cooked or raw served with a very tasty parmesan cream sauce. This was an absolutely tasty and delicious dish. Some of the vegetables used were baby crrots, asparagus, baby turnips, 8 types of lettuce, flowers and more.
Spaghetti di Gragnano con gamberi rossi e lattuga (Gragnano spaghetti with red shrimp and lettuce). Thick spaghetti from Gragnano near Naples, served with red prawns and a creamy shellfish sauce with iceberg lettuce tossed through it. A nice big piece of dried lettuce was used for the garnish.
Baba’ bagnato al rhum con flan di pompelmo (Baba’ marinated with rum and grapefruit flan). I live a Rum baba and feel they are under rated as a dessert. This was a wedge of baba sitting atop grapefruit flan (like creme brulee), pistachio crumbles, pink grapefruit segment, vanilla ice cream and a sugar wafer ontop. So pretty it looked like a landscape in a terrarium.
We thought we were finished but no. A box of sweet “jewels” was bought out for us, along with some chocolate and coffee lollipops.
I have to say lunch was well worth the wait, and we will definitely be dining at Il Ristorante Luca Fantin when we next return to Tokyo.
Bulgari Ginza Tower
2-7-12 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Over the past couple of visits to Tokyo we have eaten in the Tateru Yoshino run restaurant at the Park Hotel and the casual Atrium dining area, but had not tried Hanasanshou, the Japanese restaurant.
We did not realise how popular Hanasanshou is. Several of the days we were there it was fully booked and not just with hotel guests. Thankfully, as we were going out one morning, we managed to make a reservation.
Located on the east facing side of the hotel, the room has a main dining area along the window and then to each side of the bar, a curtained area for a more private dining experience. Lots of dark woods are utilized throughout the room with trendy lighting around the bar.
Hanasanshou offered a menu for house guests so we chose to have that. A Kaiseki menu of 8 courses for around A$50. The other menus were also Kaiseki style with the difference between each being the number of courses and price.
First course out was a bowl of boiled taro stem from Kyoto served simply with a bonito and soy sauce. Very light and refreshing.
The appetizer was a plate of seasonal specialties. Fresh thin wheat noodles, sushi of conger eel, Chinese lantern fruit, fruit fed sweet fish salted and dried overnight with boiled octopus, young corn, grilled eggplant with sweet miso sauce.
A clear soup with a steamed pike conger eel dumpling was our third course. Very tasty, even though I am not in to cooked fish that much. Those little bits floating in the soup are seaweed that we have not encountered before.
Tuna sashimi was next, it was meant to be yellowtail but they had run out so they gave us tuna. Any kind of sashimi is alright by me. The wasabi was super fresh and grated just before serving, a taste revelation! The tuna was also super fresh, which isn’t surprising as Tsukiji Market is less than 5 minute drive away.
Next up was our grilled dish of black cod baked in magnolia leaf, accompanied by edamame and ginger shoot. Again super fresh fish, highlighted with the zingy ginger stem. The magnolia leaf was mostly protection during cooking and a garnish as it didn’t flavour the fish in any way.
A simmered pork belly with a thick, almost gelatinous sauce, potato and beans was next. This was delicious and the pork melted in your mouth and was not too fatty. A little dot of Japanese style mustard really went well with the pork.
Second last dish was rice cooked with barracuda and burdock along with miso soup. One of the best miso soups I have had.
Finally seasonal fruit and green tea. Simple but refreshing end to a very flavoursome meal. Bright green Maple leaves seemed to be the garnish of the season. I remember when I went to Tsukiji Market in autumn 2013 that they were selling punnets of maple leaves ranging from red to orange. Seasonal garnishing at its best.
We have now sampled all the food offerings available at the Park Hotel and they are all fantastic. Sometimes hotel dining can be a bit ho hum, but we have enjoyed each meal we have had during our stays at The Park Hotel.
One of our three favourite hotels to stay at in Tokyo is the Conrad Hotel in Shiodome. Located an easy 10 minute walk to the shopping mecca of Ginza, it has easy access to three train lines that will get you anywhere you want to visit in Tokyo.
This trip we were able to get an upgrade to a bay view suite, which gave us views over Hama Rikyu Onshi Tien, the Sumida River and Tokyo Bay.
The suite was amazing, so much room. You often hear complaints about the size of rooms in Asian hotels, but this was larger than some we have stayed in in western countries.
Table setting, Kazahana.
Detail of chopstick rest.
A nice cold glass of green tea.
Appetizer of Taro stem, okra, uni, seaweed sauce.
Clear broth, tofu skin, shrimp dumpling.
Pike conger, tofu and eggplant(braised dish).
Octopus and radish.
Sashimi of squid and sea bream.
Chilled soba noodles.
Tempura prawns and vegetables, rice topped with dried purple shiso leaf, pickles and miso soup.
Japanese black sugar cake, caramelized banana and watermelon with green tea.
Seriously developing a ceramics addiction. So many great pieces of ceramics used in restaurants. Need a bigger kitchen so I can go on a ceramics buying spree. Green tea to finish a great lunch.
After lunch we were in need of a lie down, which we followed with a swim in the amazing pool on the 29th floor, watching the office workers finish their day.
We can highly recommend the Conrad Hotel, great service, great staff, great rooms and fantastic location.
Thanks for dropping by!!
One restaurant we have been wanting to try since our first visit to Tokyo is L’Osier. Unfortunatley the past two visits we missed out as it was undergoing a massive refurbishment, and last year it reopened 2 weeks after we returned home. But this year we made it!
Owned by Shiseido group, L’Osier is an elegant French restaurant located in the back streets of Ginza, within the Shiseido Building. A doorman greets you as you enter and a receptionist seats you in the waiting room before you are escorted downstairs to the restaurant by one of the maître d’s. There is dress code, so Mr CA4G had to wear a jacket. No shorts, no thongs etc. Most of the diners were elegant ladies who lunch, out for a catch up with the girls.
The circular dining room is decorated in creams and shades of yellow, medium coloured woods and lots of silver and gold tones. A central round banquette, under the enormous chandelier, seats several tables for groups of two to four people, one segment of the room has tables for two and the other has tables for 4 or 6. A private room for larger groups is also available.
The service is truly impressive. I think there were about a dozen waiters plus 4 maitre d’s and a couple of food runners, and there may only have been about 30 – 40 patrons. Plates were bought out on trays by the runners and then served from the trays by the waiters. Crisp white linens, beautiful porcelain tableware, lots of silver plate and gorgeous crystal. Shiseido has spared no expense.
Unfortunately we were unable to take any other photos as they have a strict no photography rule.
We ordered a very fancy French mineral water called Chateldon, which has a very illustrious history. The story goes that this water was carted from the village of Châteldon in the Puy-de-Dôme region of the Auvergne to the court of Louis XIV, where he not only drank it but used it for bathing. They have a very small production and it is generally available only in high end restaurants and in some pharmacies in France. Price was around AUD$18, and was worth it. Ultra fine bubbles and a nice minerality to it. A shame we can’t get it in Australia.
We decided to have the Prixe Fixe lunch menu which was around AUD$100 per person. This consisted of 3 courses plus amuse bouche, predessert and petit fours and a confectionery trolley with coffee or tea. Great value and the food was amazing. Entree was a poached,chilled lobster half with a tangy gazpacho, main consisted of melt in your mouth pork belly, potatoes done 3 ways,beetroot and greens. Pre dessert was a delicious chilled fruit soup. a small platter of petit fours was also presented before the dessert. Dessert was rhubarb and strawberries, very elegantly presented and absolutely delicious.
Thinking we were at the end of our meal as we ordered our coffee, imagine our surprise when a trolley full of candies, caramels, marshmallows etc was pushed up to our table for us to choose from. All made in house. The marshmallow had a square profile and was wound into a large jar from whence it was cut as needed. Willy Wonka would have been jealous of the amazingly interesting flavours. At first we were going to pass, but curiousity got the better of us.
After our wonderful lunch, we practically waddled back to our hotel where we had a nap and a swim to work off the sugar hit.
If you get to Tokyo, you really should try to make a booking at L’Osier for lunch.
Thanks for dropping by!!
Our second night in Tokyo found us heading for a walk around Ginza to find somewhere for dinner. One restaurant that we have walked past many times on our trips to Tokyo has been Itamae Sushi. This time we decided to try it.
A bamboo and glass front hides a deceptively large (by Japanese standards) space. The front portion consists of an entrance vestibule and cashier stand, behind which is another door leading to the two parts of the restaurant. The front part consists of a sushi bar with booths along the side and behind this area are more private ‘tatami rooms’.
We were seated at the sushi bar as the restaurant was quite busy, we didn’t mind as it gave us a chance to watch the sushi and sashimi dishes being prepared. Our beverage of choice was well iced green tea, even at 7pm it was still around 30 degrees Celsius. A delicious small salad was also bought out as our appetizer.
The first dish we had was a plate of sashimi, unfortunately we were nearly finished before we remembered to take a photo.
Next up were some tuna rolls using rice sheets (like Vietnamese rolls). Filled with salad, and tuna they were light and delicious with a tangy sauce.
Our next dish was a sushi plate. Nothing like a plate of sushi in Japan. Prawn, squid, mackerel, uni (sea urchin roe), salmon roe, tuna and salmon were some of the varieties on the plate.
And a bowl of miso soup to finish. This is one of the better miso soups we have had.
All up a good dinner. They have a menu in English which also contained photographs of most of the dishes. This made ordering a breeze. It was great to watch the chefs working and to see Japanese knife skills in action, although I think I was more interested in the knives they were using. One of the things I love about eating in Japan is the matching of plate to food. No simple white plates for every dish but a plate that reflects the food and the season.
Thanks for dropping by!
Recently we had a visit to one of our favourite cities in the world, Tokyo. One thing that I go out of my way to purchase when visiting Tokyo is hand made knives. I love Japanese knives so much that all my household knives and most of my work knives are now Japanese.
Usually I shop for my knives in the many shops on Kappabashi Dori in Asakusa. Our first stop though when we get to Asakusa is always Senso-Ji.
After walking through the magnificent Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) you get to the 200m Nakamise Dori. Filled with shops selling various snack foods and all sorts of touristy bits and pieces (yukata, fans, knick knacks etc) Nakamise Dori has a history going back several centuries. It is not only foreign tourists buying the mementos, but many Japanese who may only visit once in their lifetime are also buying up bits and pieces to take home. After walking through Nakamise Dori you will reach the Hozomon Gate behind which is the magnificent Temple main Hall, the five story pagoda, gorgeously landscaped gardens and many smaller shrines and temples.
We particularly like to visit during late October/early November when the chrysantemum displays are on. Some of the chrysanthemums are the size of a bread and butter plate in diameter and then nearly 10 cm high. A lot of them need support, which you can see in the photo below.
After our stroll through the temple grounds we have a wander in the backstreets before heading back to Asakusa Dori and over to Kappabashi Dori.
After a short walk you hit kitchen ware heaven!!! A whole street devoted to kitchenware, equipment for commercial kitchens, knife shops, restaurant furnishing shops. Basically anything you can think of that a restaurant might need and then some extras thrown in.
Unfortunately this year the weather was quite incliment so our visit to Kappabashi Dori was quite short.
I did get a new knife surprisingly at Mitsukoshi Department store in Ginza. On the eighth floor amongst the home wares and household goods, Mitsukoshi stocks a range of ceramics, metalware, glass and knives made by skilled artisans. The day we went they had Yusui Nakanishi from Takeda Hamono Blacksmith showing a range of knives and offering sharpening. I ended up buying myself a Deba Bocho. The blade is made with a very high carbon content steel which gives the blade a sexy black colour. It is VERY sharp and as yet I haven’t used it. Still just looking at it.
Also in Ginza we stumbled upon lots of little shops selling artisan made products. One at which we did shop was filled with wooden items, bowls, trays, chopsticks, cups, and much more. We settled on 2 pairs of chopsticks one in red and the other in black. They are even dishwasher safe. This shop was a little treasure house of beautiful pieces to either display or use. We will be going back on our next visit for some of the bowls and cups. They were even beautifully packaged in paper to match the current season.
My final purchase this year I made on my visit to Tsukiji Fish Market. Amongst the shops in the outer market was a small one selling ceramic goods. They stocked mass produced items and some artisanl ones. Some of the tea cups were over $100. After a good 20 minutes trying to decide what to buy, I settled on two of the classic rectangle plates for sushi. These were a bargain at ¥290 (about A$3) each. Just as well I only bought two as I would have needed another suitcase.
Only a little shopping experience this time but next time I will prepare and have a list of things to buy, just wont take too much in the suitcase.
Thanks for dropping buy to see what I bought in Tokyo this year.