The Tokyo dining scene is as vast as the urban structure of the city. There are just so many varieties to choose from. My ideal choice for a restaurant would be; nice ambiance, nice view, exceptional service, and very good food. I’m sure there are an abundance of restaurants that fits, but my Tokyo trip is just for a couple of days. The online travel guides with user review makes every restaurant look all the same. I found one that might fit while I was staying at the Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo. I know the ambiance, décor and views are spectacular. Don’t know about food or service, there’s only one way to find out.
I came to the restaurant at around 7pm, the floor to ceiling window provides a memorable view, the sky was just turning dark blue in contrast with the city lights. There is an impressive leaf sculpture that looked very appealing. The dark tone décor is lit by controlled lighting that shines on the table so the food can be nicely presented.
We started with cold sake. In the menu there are many a la cart items and sets. What caught my eye were the sets, one of it is called Wazanmai (12,500 yen about 5,000 baht) which had a variety of well rounded dishes.
After ordering, the appetizers were presented beautifully in small little bowls. I stared with the most delicate, milk tofu with sea urchin. The milk tofu was very good, it’s not like the normal tofu, it’s more sticky, chewy and more taste, combined with sea urchin; I wanted more. Followed by “cold vegetable and deep fried squid”; “salmon roe, chopped fresh tuna over rice”.
The sashimi dish was tuna, squid and yellow tail. Surprisingly the best one I like was the squid. Done by a very experience chef, he made the common squid tasted more expensive, very frequent tiny indent on the squid. I know every squid sushi is done that way but this was a lot more frequent indents, what this does is; more surface to touch the tongue, the affect is tremendous.
Tempura was a bit different from the usual; they were sweet prawn with a very thin layer of flour, still crisp, inside very moist and juicy almost raw. This way, it’s not too filling and a very good taste of the prawn.
Salad is a combination of white radish, mustard, cucumber and potherb; crisp and chilled to a point that makes it so refreshing. It comes with a homemade sesame dressing.
The teppanyaki steak was one of the best I had, nice sear outside, inside was bursting with flavors. I can tell from the taste of the beef it had a high marble score. The manager said it was Kagoshima wagyu; the beef is compared to the more familiar Kobe and Matsuzaka. He also told me about the word wagyu; wa meaning Japan, gyu meaning cow. I always thought wagyu was Australian.
After I finished my steak, was the sushi; flounder, horse mackerel, white shrimp, and chotoro tuna, serve with red bean miso soup. The white shrimp was very rare, it’s the first time I tried it. It tasted similar to sweet prawn but a bit different texture and sweetness. The chotoro was out of this world, just couldn’t get enough of the fatty tuna belly.
Variety of tea served during the meal, it starts from left; Hoji a roasted tea has a smoky scent; sushi green tea or kona cha has a strong flavor it’s meant to have it with sushi; zencha has a light flavor goes nicely with dessert.
For dessert we had vanilla ice cream and tapioca with Gula Malacca.
This is a complete Japanese dinner Kaiseki style. The only thing I could think of that was not serve in this set are the noodles and rice dishes which will be too filling. The dinner completely serve my criteria; good service, great atmosphere with a city view and fabulous food.
Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo
Marunouchi Trust Tower Main, 1-8-3 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8283, Japan
tel: (81 3) 6739 7888