July 31, 2012

Cream tea at a British cafe

Olympic Games have started in London and I have been excited to watch genuine competitions by top athletes in various sports! Due to the time difference (8 hours) between Japan and UK,I have been lack of sleep. When I have to go to bed, a lot of attractive games are on TV.
Cafe Benoist
Tea 
Scorn
The Olympic Games reminded me the UK and when I went shopping to Ginza (銀座) with my sister, we took a rest at a British cafe called "Benoist (ベノワ)." The original shop was started in the UK but the company's ownership currently seemed to be conveyed to a Japanese company. Tea was not so bad, but scorn...was not delicious enough. It was a surprise for me...tasteless and bad texture...Clotted cream was light and did not help the scorn. The atmosphere of cafe was stable so that we could be relaxed, but my rating is unfortunately 1.5 out of 5 (sorry for that). Gochiso-samadeshita!


Benoist (ベノワ)  http://www.benoist.co.jp/

July 30, 2012

Lunch at a Japanese restaurant chain

Tsukiji Uemura (つきじ植えむら) is a Japanese restaurant which has more than 60 years history. Their head restaurant located in Tsukiji (築地), Tokyo won Michelin one star. On the other hand, Tsukiji Uemura has developed a far-reaching chain restaurant business and their casual-middle level restaurants are everywhere in Tokyo.
Interior of Tsukiji Uemura 
Sashimi and Chawan-mushi (steamed egg hotchpotch 
Tempura of Anago (conger)
Hitsumabushi (eel bowl in Nagoya style)
Soba and tempura bowl
The price of their chain restaurants is very reasonable. We can taste most set meals of Japanese dishes at around JPY1,500. Ingredients used for dishes are of middle quality (particularly fishes are so so), but their cooking skills compensates the taste. Though the atmosphere is casual, waitresses put kimono (I like it). Tsukiji Uemura is a convenient restaurant which we can go easily with casual cloths when we want to have Japanese dishes. Cost performance is high. My rating is 2.7 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!


Tsukiji Uemura (つきじ植えむら) http://www.tukijiuemura.com/

Season of fireworks

In Japan, end of July and August are the seasons of fireworks. We recognize summer by watching fireworks preferably putting yukata, summer casual kimono.
Tokyo Sky Tree and Sumida River fireworks from the view lounge of my apartment
Yesterday, we had "Sumida River (隅田川) fireworks festival, one of the biggest fireworks events in Tokyo. This was the first time after the Tokyo Sky Tree had been opened and the combination of the lighted Tree and fireworks were so beautiful. Actually summer in Japan is very hot, humid and uncomfortable, but the fireworks convinced us that summer is not so bad. It was a charming night! 

July 28, 2012

Sweet treat

At a cafe. I fed myself by sweet treat. Be careful for weight gain...but can't stop it! Waffle was nice as outside was crispy but inside was soft. Gochiso-samadeshita!
cafe
Waffle with caramel and almond
parfait
cafe late

July 27, 2012

Popcorn at cinema

The other day, I had an errand to do and went to Kinshicho (錦糸町), where I seldom go. After finishing it, I found a cinema complex in a shopping mall near the station and watched a movie of "BERSERK(ベルセルク)."
Tokyo Sky Tree from the Kinshicho station
Cinema complex "TOHO CINEMAS"
Caramel popcorn
As I am busy, I haven't had chance to go cinema recently and watched movies through DVD at home. So, I was excited just to be at cinema after long and bought caramel popcorn. The taste was good with combination of caramel and salt, though I couldn't eat it up at all! Indeed, watching movie at theater was much better than DVD! Visual, sound, atmosphere! More importantly, I could fully concentrate on the movie. 

BERSERK was so exciting. It is actually an animated feature film (in Japan, animated feature films are not only for children but also for everyone including adults. We see them as one of the arts and ways of expression which are equivalent to novel, movie, etc. and accordingly, a lot of creative stories are coming from the animations.)  By chance, I got to know BERSERK lately and was impressed by its magnificent story. The movie is trilogy and the one I watched is the second one. The last one will be released in winter.

I heard BERSERK is very popular and the original comics have sold more than 31 millions all over the world. The first hurdle might be high to watch if you are not used to animated films, but I am convinced you will enjoy it! 
      

 BERSERK http://www.berserkfilm.com/index.php
   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berserk_(manga)

July 25, 2012

Teppanyaki at PALACE HOTEL TOKYO

Teppanyaki is a style of Japanese dishes that uses an iron griddle to cook fresh meat, seafood, vegetables, etc. in front of customers' very eyes. Recently this style is quite popular all over the world and I have seen many restaurants in big cities. The other day, I tried one named "Go (濠)" in the PALACE HOTEL TOKYO(パレスホテル東京), which is located in front of the Imperial Palace(皇居) and has been reopened since this May. 
Lobby of PALACE HOTEL TOKYO
table setting with champagne and beer
soup using fresh asparagus
Fresh salad
fresh ingredients to be cooked on the iron griddle
A cook is cooking just in front of us
Grilled fish with sea weed 
                               
Wagyu beef steaks!

Garlic fried rice and miso soup

The good things of Teppanyaki are being relaxed in private space, enjoy talking with a cook and seeing the live performance of cooking! Our room's seats are only 6 in maximum. As we arrived a bit late from the lunch time, we could dominate the room by ourselves and freely chatted with the deputy chief cook who was a kind and funny guy but very good at cooking! All the ingredients were fresh and of high quality. The taste was definitely very much delicious! Delicate, distinctive and impressive. I was happy to be alive... Particularly wagyu beef was super. The price is not so inexpensive and at least one person needs around JPY10,000 at lunch including some beverage. But worth for it! My rating is 4.5 out of 5. Goshiso-samadeshita!

PALACE HOTEL TOKYO(パレスホテル東京) http://www.palacehoteltokyo.com/en/ourhotel/

July 24, 2012

Cakes as a treat for work

When we finished assignments with colleagues, we bought cakes for its celebration. All of us worked hard and we deserved it!  
Cakes are of "GIOTTO (ジョトオ)", one of the cake brands of "Plaisir (プレジール)" confectionery company which is good at making gorgeous sweets such as "GRAMERCY NEW YORK", "Keith Manhattan", etc. Honestly, I hadn't so much expected, but the taste was good as the visual effects. Particularly fruits were very fresh and we could easily eat up. Maybe our relief and satisfaction for finishing the work made the taste much better. My rating is 3.7 out of 5. Goshiso-samadeshita!    

"Plaisir (プレジール), "GIOTTO (ジョトオ)" http://www.plaisir-co.com/shop.html

July 23, 2012

A French restaurant protected by a sacred tree

Near the crossroads of Hongo(本郷) 3 chome, there is a french restaurant called "PASIBLE(ページブル)." Just in front of PASIBLE, a camphor tree whose age is more than 600 years stands as if it protects the restaurant. The tree is sacred according to our native religion "Sinto(神道)" and as a proof, it has rope of sacred straw around the trunk, used to indicate the sacred areas where gods descend.    
Outside of PASIBLE with a sacred tree
From the inside of PASIBLE
Interior of PASIBLE

Jellied fall vegetables and lobster
Foie gras rolled by Helmeted Guineafowl
Veal stew in Milanese style
Beef stew sanded with mashed potato
Assorted dessert
Thanks to the big sacred tree, we were very relaxed in sitting the PASIBLE. A madam of this restaurant was very generous, which more contributed to the cozy atmosphere. Dishes were good, but a bit less impacted. The flavor was mild and it did not leave strong impression on us. But I believe such mild dishes are also the feature of PASIBLE, where local customers including the elderly come to enjoy eating in peace. The price is not so expensive. My rating is 2.7 out of 5. Goshiso-samadeshita!


PASIBLE(ページブル) http://paisible.jp/

July 22, 2012

Precious wines from Bhutan!

Many countries produce wines nowadays and we can easily buy wines of other countries. But...buying wines made in Bhutan must be nearly impossible at this moment. Bhutan is a country which is located in South Asia and preserves rich nature and traditional way of their living. Bhutan does not pursue only economic growth but focuses on happiness by producing the concept of "Gross National Happiness (GNH)." Many Japanese recently are attracted by such spiritual attitude of Bhutanese and travel to Bhutan.
Wines made in Bhutan
The other day, a colleague of Bhutan kindly brought wines which were produced in his country for the first time with the technical assistance of India. We can not buy them in the market here. I am so lucky to have a chance to taste such precious wines!

The right one was a kind of dessert wine whose taste is sweet. The percentage of alcohol seemed higher than the one of ordinary wines. The left one was made of Shiraz and the aroma was rich like berry. Tasting valuable wines over chatting various matters was so nice. Gochiso-samadeshita!   

July 21, 2012

Green tea soft ice cream of Kyoto tea shop

During shopping in LUMINE Yurakucho (ルミネ有楽町), a fashion shopping mall, I tasted a green tea soft ice cream of Kyo-Hayashiya (京はやしや).
Kyo-Hayashiya is a green tea producing company which was originally started in Kanazawa (金沢) in 1753 and then, their third President moved to and opened a shop in Kyoto (京都)). Recently Kyo-Hayashiya has developed business of cafes and shops selling green tea sweets in many places. The green tea soft ice cream was so nice! The balance of sweetness is very good and the flavor of green tea is fresh. The base of ice cream is milky enough which made the taste rich. So happy. My rating is 3.5 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!


Kyo-Hayashiya (京はやしや) http://www.kyo-hayashiya.com/index.html 

July 20, 2012

Modern Japanese dishes in casual Nadaman

A casual branch of Nadaman (なだ万) called "San Applause(讃アプローズ)" is located on the mezzanine level of Imperial Hotel (帝国ホテル) in Hibiya (日比谷). Nadaman is a traditional Japanese restaurant which started in 1830 and nowadays has many branches in major cities in Asia.
Chic interior of  San Applause Nadaman
Tasty beer and champagne 
Starters
Main dishes and tempura
Steamed rice with corn and miso soup
Dessert 1 (ice cream with bean jam, coconut, tapioca and syrup) 
Dessert 2 (creme brulee with ice cream and bean jam) 
Due to the location(at the corner on the mezzanine), it is a bit difficult to find San Applause Nadaman in the Hotel and accordingly we could enter without reservation. The atmosphere is modern, chic and tranquil. From the window I sat nearby, I could enjoy seeing bullet trains (shinkansen, 新幹線) of Nozomi (のぞみ) which come and go between Tokyo and western Japan such as Kyoto, Osaka, etc. 

The quality of dishes was just as expected of Nadaman and the quality of service was also just as expected of the Imperial Hotel! Everything was delicious though they tried to make dishes modern and creative by incorporating the elements/tequniques of other cuisines. For instance, I found coconut and sweet chili were used for the sauce of tempura and it was indeed good. Even beer was so nice, I suppose the way of making beer itself and condition of stocked beer would be good. But the price at lunch time is not so expensive. Value for money. My rating is 4 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

San Applause(讃アプローズ) http://www.imperialhotel.co.jp/e/tokyo/restaurant/50