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Tokyo's best business lunch
With more Michelin stars than any world city, Tokyo is the place for a wallet-busting splurge
Recommended: Edition Koji Shimomura
Japanese chef Koji Shimomura trained at some of the best restaurants in France before returning to open his eponymous eatery in 2007. He quickly found a fan base, including our expert Patrice Martineau, chef de cuisine at Peter at the Peninsula Hotel Tokyo.
“Shimomura has a light touch; he eschews heavy cream and thick reductions in favor of ingredients naturally rich in umami,” Martineau says.
“His delicate mushroom and foie gras veloute tastes nostalgically of autumn and the foie gras terrine with fig is an unexpected but clever match for strawberry gelee."
The standout for Martineau though is Shimomura’s signature dish, John Dory, wrapped in crispy shredded kadyif pastry, atop a swirl of Parmesan broccoli sauce. “It is simply cooked to perfection,” says Martineau.
A dessert of chocolate ganache with olive oil, served alongside a drink of cacao water, rounds out the meal.
Open daily, noon-1:30 p.m. (last order), 6-9:30 p.m. (last order). Check calendar for holidays. Edition Koji Shimomura, 1/F, Roppongi T-Cube, 3-1-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, tel. +81 (0) 3 5549 4562, www.koji-shimomura.jp
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Recommended: Tateru Yoshino
This French restaurant from chef Tateru Yoshino, of Stella-Maris fame, serves food of a quality that could justify a far heavier price tag.
Starters are the chef’s forte. A mini appetizer of feuilleté pastry topped with sardines is ably executed and perfectly crispy, complemented by a zinging-fresh herb salad.
A vegetable plate, arranged to resemble a painting by Monet, comprises a variety of vegetables and herbs strewn garden-like across the plate and sprinkled with truffle vinaigrette. Classically presented smoked eel is served with cucumber strips, cubed cucumbers tzasiki style and a small leafy salad on a square of cucumber gelée.
The best is saved for last.
“The mojito-inspired dessert -- mint gelée, jellied blobs tasting of white rum, mint ice cream, tonic espuma, and chopped fresh mint -- is modern, refreshing and Yoshino’s best creation,” says our expert chef Patrice Martineau.
Open Monday - Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m (last order)., 6-9 p.m. (last order). Tateru Yoshino Ginza, 12/F, PIAS GINZA, 4-8-10 Ginza, Chuo-ku, tel. +81 (0) 3 3563 1511, www.tateruyoshino.com
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Winner: Pierre Gagnaire Tokyo
“Where would the world of gastronomy be without Pierre Gagnaire?” asks chef Patrice Martineau. “The man is a culinary icon, the chef who brought color and light to classic French cuisine."
On the 36th floor of the ANA Intercontinental Hotel, the second incarnation of Pierre Gagnaire Tokyo turns a meal into a dazzling event.
“Dishes are beautifully presented and full of dynamic contrasts,” says Martineau.
Take lunch. The Cocktail de Poche, a course of appetizers, is like an edible artist's palette, colorful, inviting, with careful attention paid to the balance of flavors and textures.
A foamy broth sprinkled with salty cubes of jamon iberico and peas is followed by a buttery cube of salmon confit, set into a piquant grapefruit gelee.
A savory mince of marinated mushrooms precedes a sweet interlude of mint-green matcha infused soup.
A subtle appetizer of tabaragani crab, raw and poached asparagus, and a scoop of green asparagus ice cream is counterpoised by an intense, cardamom-scented white asparagus veloute sauce, Martineau’s favorite part of the course.
Mains, too, are a multi-item affair. A juicy pork chop, offset by a vibrant slaw of red cabbage, thinly sliced chorizo and cilantro, comes with a terrine of pork trotter and tongue, wedged into a pillowy squid-ink potato mousseline.
“The surprises don’t stop there though,” says Martineau. “The white beer panna cotta, paired with the lemon confit, is a revelation.”
Open Tuesday - Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. (last order), 6-9 p.m. (last order). Pierre Gagnaire Tokyo, 36/F, ANA InterContinental Tokyo, 1-12-33 Akasaka, Minato-ku, tel. +81 (0) 3 3505 1111, www.anaintercontinental-tokyo.jp/pierre_gagnaire