HOURS Daily 11:30 AM – 9:00 PM
PRICE The kaiseki lunch menu is priced at JP¥5,800/$52
CONTACT 28F Conrad Hotel, 1-9-1 Higashi-Shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo;+81 03 6388 8745; conradhotels3.hilton.com
VERDICT The kaiseki lunch is an elegant dining option for meetings as the multi-course menu is well spaced out and not heavy despite the number of dishes served.
Kazahana at the Conrad Tokyo is one of the few restaurants in the city that focuses on contemporary Japanese cuisine. The restaurant offers a range of dining options including a multi-course kaiseki, teppanyaki and sushi lunch and dinner menus. It is decorated with traditional sumi-e (black ink) paintings and overlooks sweeping vistas of the Tokyo Bay.
I tried the kaiseki menu that began with a tofu appetizer with edible burdock root and wasabi. A succulent combination, this melted in my mouth and prepared my palate for the upcoming courses. Next was a clear soup with scallops prepared with Japanese spring vegetables. I slowly enjoyed this heartwarming concoction of Japanese goodness.
This was followed by a sashimi platter of marinated tuna with smoked radish, squid with salt and citrus and sea bream with salty kelp sauce. The fish was fresh – sourced from Tokyo’s famous Tsujiki market. Then came a well-cooked charcoal-grilled codfish in soft roe and topped with maitake mushroom, grated radish and chrysanthemum. It was evident that the menu was now moving into the main course and next up was steamed Japanese rice with the sweet and salty Teriyaki chicken – not too overpowering. To finish, I enjoyed a delectable brown sugar pudding that was surprisingly not very sweet.
HOURS 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM
CONTACT Mandarin Oriental; +81 33270 8188; mandarinoriental.com
VERDICT A premium, traditional Japanese dining experience for lovers of the cuisine.
This eight-seater restaurant on the 38th floor of Mandarin Oriental Tokyo prides itself on being a traditional Edomae-style sushi house. Edo is the former name of Tokyo and this type of sushi uses fresh fish such as tuna, sea eel, halibut and shellfish sourced daily from Tokyo’s Tsujiki Market Tokyo Bay. Headed by Chef Yuji Imaizumi, the restaurant, which is designed as a traditional sushi bar, seats only eight diners at one time – making a reservation is absolutely essential.
Lunch began with Senkin Yuki Daruma (Snowman) nigori, a cloudy, unfiltered and unpasteurized sake. There are five different menus to choose from; we tried the Izumi (“spring”) menu. The first appetizer of blanched vegetables was followed by white radish soaked in miso paste and Japanese mandarin shavings. The chef explained these dishes were snacks preceding the sushi and sashimi. The three types of sashimi were plated beautifully with edible flowers, and included thin slices of blue fin tuna, yellowtail and seaweed-flavored barracuda.
Up next was the blue fin tuna sushi, followed by meaty Japanese sea-bass and luscious yellowtail soaked in soy sauce. Other dishes included Japanese Spanish mackerel marinated in rice vinegar and sea eel drenched in water, sugar and sake. An interesting dessert of finely plated mandarin, yogurt, cinnamon, salty jelly and mandarin sauce completed the experience.
The beverage list at Sushi SORA is incredible, featuring an array of Japanese sake, including sparkling sake, plus an extensive wine list, shochu (a type of Japanese spirit made of sweet potato), beer and Japanese craft gin.