Tag Archive | "Tokyo"

Cerise by Gordon Ramsay – Tokyo


Gordon Ramsay may best be known for his hot headed television series Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares that has aired in America and Britain but before all of his television fame he cut his teeth at Aubergine gaining 2 Michelin stars and then turned heads by opening up his first restaurant in Chelsea, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, winning accolades from the culinary world and receiving three Michelin stars in 2001. Soon after Ramsay’s restaurant empire expanded to every corner of the world including Doha, Montreal, New York City, Versailles and most recently Las Vegas to name a few places.

With Tokyo boasting the most Michelin stars of any city in the world it would make sense that in 2008 Ramsay would open up his first restaurant in Asia, Cerise located in the Conrad Hotel of Tokyo. Ramsey hand picked Shinya Maeda a native of Japan and previously head chef of Aquavit in New York City to run Cerise. As current chef de
cuisine Maeda has consistently year after year been awarded one Michelin star for taking classical French and European cuisine and fusing it with modern Japanese technique achieving a delightful balance of 2 very different cultures. These elements can be seen throughout the six course tasting menu offered at Cerise

For instance the Sole à La Arnold Bennet with chanterelle and speckles of tender pieces of abalone and sea urchin adds excitement to what is normally an old recipe from Britain that uses poached fish and lots of butter. The creaminess of the sea urchins compliments the sole giving it a rich deep flavor.

Beyond taste Maeda has certain playfulness to his dishes. The pressed foie gras and confit de canard with dashes of rhubarb and strawberries visual appearance is of small layered French confections. Being the first dish of the evening my impression was that the menu was starting with dessert and working backwards. The execution was a very convincing Trompe-l’œil. The layers of foei gras and cured duck exploded with flavors.

With the world’s largest fish market Tsukiji, mere blocks away from Cerise Maeda uses this resource to his advantage in several of his dishes. This can be found in the squid ink tortellinis of crab and scallop served in celeriac root champagne foam. You can still taste the ocean with every bite. Using squid ink for the tortellini Maeda shows separation of color between the tortellini and sea of celeriac foam.

The true star of the menu and a staple of Cerise is the roasted and braised red Wagyu beef with bone marrow in a truffle consommé. Without a doubt this is the most flavorful and distinguished piece of tender beef I’ve ever had the pleasure of being served. Chef Maeda spent several years sourcing the finest Wagyu cattle in Japan to ensure thatthis is an unforgettable dish. Known for its marbling characteristics Wagyu is lower in saturated fats and higher in rich Omega 3 acids.

There’s a reason that these hand fed and massaged cows command so much attention and a high resale price. Chances are if you’ve been served Wagyu or Kobe beef outside of Japan you haven’t had the real thing. The Wagyu by itself is the finest piece of beef but having a broth with a fist size enormous truffle in it drizzled over the Wagyu adds even more to what is a cathartic experience.

After finishing the Wagyu it was hard to focus on the desert menu however the hazelnut chocolate gianduja soufflé proved to be light and airy and the banana and lime ice cream was a perfect pairing. Finishing the evening with a glass of flowery and fruity 2008 Kerner served with a cylinder of mango lemon thyme cream and candied pineapples made for an exceptionally perfect dining experience.

Higashi-Shinbashi, Minato-Ku,
Tokyo, Japan

T: +81 03 6388 8000
F: 81 03 6388 8001

Conrad Hotel – Tokyo


Situated 37 floors over the Shiodome building the Conrad Hotel may possibly offer the best vantage points to overlook Tokyo’s bustling metropolis. With floor to ceiling windows in the evening you can see the lights of boats on the bay heading towards the worlds biggest wholesale seafood market, Tsukiji Shijo and during the day gaze upon the beautiful Hamarikyu Gardens, the only Edo period tidal garden in Tokyo. Aside from its cinematic views the Conrad’s interior décor is just as stunning implementing traditional motifs with modern Japanese designs. Upon entering the lobby you are presented with contemporary artwork like Toko Shinoda’s arresting abstract expressionist painting “For Thee” and Kyotaro Hakamata’s “Bird Valley”. These motifs are also carried over to guest rooms facing the bay which have a subtle blue palette reflecting wind and water while city view rooms are warmer with a red hue demonstrating Tokyo’s famous flashing neon lights. Each room features high ceilings, gorgeous spacious bathrooms with enormous bathtubs and elaborate control panels that control everything from opening blinds, dimming lights and letting the hotel staff know that you wish not to be disturbed. Rooms are equipped to handle every travelers needs with around the clock room service and evening turndown service.

While Tokyo boasts the most Michelin star restaurants in the world you don’t have to venture too far to find two of them. Located on the 28th floor of the Conrad Hotel, China Blue’s modern Cantonese cuisine and Gordon Ramsay’s French style brasserie Cerise have consecutively been awarded one Michelin star. I highly recommend the chefs dinner course at Cerise. If you are looking for a more traditional taste of Japan you can venture over to Kazahana, which offers the best of kaiseki and sushi. Morning breakfast is served at Cerise where French brasserie is transformed to serve continental and English breakfast. If you are in the mood for a cocktail before heading out for the evening or turning in TwentyEight Bar is located on the same level.

If you decide to venture out for the day the Conrad is conveniently connected to the Shinbashi Station train station via underground concourse. You are minutes away from neighboring Asakusa which you’ll see Tokyo’s oldest temple, Sensji or if you are in the mood for some shopping you can hop over to The Ginza for some upscale luxury brand department stores or visit one of the many prestigious art galleries.

The Conrad is much more then a place to rest your head at the end of a busy day.
With a 25-meter pool, spa and fitness center with personal one on one training you can spend all day enjoying the hotels amenities. The Mizuki Spa offers a variety of body treatments and facials. The Mizuki spa is also the only hotel in Tokyo to offer a Hinoki tub made from genuine authentic Hinoki cypress.

The professionalism and courteousness of the staff at the Conrad Tokyo goes beyond excellence by providing each guest with a personal and unique experience. If you are either visiting Tokyo as a tourist or conducting business in one of the Conrad’s meeting facilities I highly recommend staying a few extra days.

-Marc Lesser

1丁目-9-1 Higashishinbashi  Minato,
Tokyo 105-7377, Japan


The Ritz – Tokyo


Clifford Unsworth

The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo is completely as you would expect, it isn’t cheap but you don’t stay in the Ritz if you’re watching your pennies. The staff are super polite and make you feel nothing but welcome and it has all the amenities one would expect – bar, restaurant, pool, gym, there is even a Rolls Royce to pick you up from the airport if you’re feeling like treating yourself.

The hotel is situated in the Roppongi district, Tokyo midtown. The area is generally geared towards westerners or “ gaijin “ and well known for its nightlife. The streets are heaving most nights and especially so on weekends so it shouldn’t be too difficult to engineer an interesting night out. The hotel is located next to Roppongi train station and not hard to get to by train. In close proximity are the Mori Art Museum, National Art Center Tokyo and the Roppongi Hills shopping and entertainment complex, so there is plenty to keep you occupied. That being said, you would probably be happy enough spending your time in your room; it’s impeccably clean and has everything you would need to hide out – flat screen TV with programing in several languages, free Wi-Fi, a massive bathtub that faces another TV, hors d’oeuvres and beverages served several times a day up until around eleven in the evening and the remote controlled curtains are certainly a nice touch.

I can’t really recommend the The Ritz-Carlton enough, it should definitely be experienced if you have the chance.