Tag Archive | Michelin

Ryuzu: a 2 star Michelin restaurant

I have a year’s worth of blogging to catch up on. Recently, I’ve managed to rack a few Michelin dining experiences under my belt over the last six months. This is one from last October.

I had an arranged to take a half day off work along with a friend and we went for an impromptu Michelin lunch around the corner from our work (we work in the same building). Without a reservation, we dropped by on a chance there were would be availability. Who knew that this was hidden in the one of the back streets of Roppongi. We went to Ryuzu – a French cuisine restaurant with 2 Michelin stars with reasonably-priced lunch options. The chef has trained under Robuchon establishments and I could see the influence in Ryuzu, even right down to the similar plateware.

There are three lunch course options ranging from 3,600, 5800, or 8.400yen. We decided each on the Menu du Jour for 5,800yen. Ryuzu was very understated and for that reason, I really liked it. I liked everything about it – the food, the service, the ambience. You can basically enjoy the likes of the Robuchon establishments without the massive price tag without compromising on quality.

From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin

We were surprised we were able to get a table without a reservation.

Interior was warm and comfortable especially given the fact that it was a raining Thursday.

From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin

We ordered a glass of champagne to start with. (I was in a celebratory mood for reasons to be explained in a later post).

From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin

First up was a pumpkin soup to amuse the bouche:

From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin

The obligatory serving of bread typical at most French restaurants:

From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin

We each ordered different starters with our course so we could try each others.
The foie gras:

From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin

The shiitake mushrooms:

From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin

Here are the rest of the dishes:

From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin

Sharing:

From Ryuzu Michelin

For mains, we got the fish and the pork between us. The food was so light, fresh and flavoursome:

From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin

Dessert was pretty amazing. I decided on the mango and my friend got the chocolate. I had a little bit of dessert envy.

From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin
From Ryuzu Michelin

Petit Fours:

From Ryuzu Michelin

A wonderful lunch.

Michelin star dining: Alain Ducasse, London

Have a throwback Tuesday post for you.
Unforgiveably overdue.

Rewind 2 years back when I did the Trans-Siberian and ended up in London to visit my best friend.
A whirlwind 3-4 day stay in London which consisted of mostly just eating and not a lot of sightseeing. Granted, I have been to London before.

Best friend organised an awesome treat, knowing what a foodie I am, had booked lunch for us a the Michelin star restaurant of Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester. I actually visited The Dorchester two days in a row – once for high tea and again for the lunch.

The Alain Ducasse experience, as it is, is very impressive. Service was impeccable. Most of the waitstaff are actually from France.

Enjoy the photo journey below.

Hotel lobby – this shot (I took) is actually pretty similar to the one that is on their website. It’s incredibly hard to get a frame without anyone walking through it.

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

We are escorted to our table:

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

Wine is ordered, of course:

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

Yummy bread is served to whet the appetite:

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

This was like mochi bread balls: super light and airy:

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

And fancy butters:

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

First up, is the cold soup (fret not, it’s meant to be cold). The soup dish (shaped like an egg) is pretty cool:

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

Fish and potatoes for main. But these ain’t your ordinary fish and chips.

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

Besties enjoying good food:

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

And this dish was yum:

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

We were seated closest to the outdoor window area which gave a lot of natural light rather than indoors where the mood lighting is more dim.

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

Food was excellent and service was amazing.
Dessert was plentiful.
We had chosen a dessert each but were also served a petit four arrangement – we didn’t really need to order dessert.

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

Little gold nuggets:

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

Petit macaroons:

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

And chocolates:

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

I had to try a bite of everything!

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

And these as well. And these were all the desserts we didn’t actually order!

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

I went for the chocolate dessert:

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

And Em went the berry dessert:

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

Teapot servings won my heart, as did the teacup design:

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

Good times. Hard to believe this was 2 years ago:

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

The cutest teacups ever:

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

The dining experience was pretty awesome. But the food wasn’t even the best part. The highlight was going backstage into the kitchen of a Michelin star restaurant. I’ve only had 2 Michelin dining experiences – one in Tokyo and this in London, and each time, I’ve been able to meet the chefs. In Tokyo, I got a snapshot with one of the chefs but no entry into the kitchen. Here, we got to go a little tour backstage. Felt like such a kitchen roadie/foodie(?). Was a huge expected delightful bonus.

The pastry corner:

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

Woohoo, backstage:

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

As Em so eloquently phrased it, I was as happy as a pig in mud.
Also got a photo in the kitchen with the head maitre’d but I won’t post that up but everyone was super friendly and obliging.

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

Whilst we were seated near the windows, this is what the inside main dining area looks like:

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

The cordoned off, private table:

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

And to top off this wonderful experience, we got a little goodie bag to take home. I wonder if this is standard at all Michelin restaurants, because I also received a goodie bag at Rabuchon in Tokyo as well.

Some sweets to take home:

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

Wonderful experience shared with a great friend.

From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester
From Alain Ducasse, The Dorchester

Am very tempted to dine at his Tokyo restaurant now.

Shirako* (one Michelin star)

Racked up another Michelin star to my eats tally. This time a one Michelin star in the Shonan area. In the onsen town of Yugawara, a short walk from the station, in a non-descript building, you’ll find Shirako. The menu doesn’t have a lot of variety. I think there’s only about 6 dishes that you can choose from, at lunch time anyway. But what they do do, is good. Come here for the food. Not for the service though. And there is only thing you need to order – the kinmedai fish dish. Absolutely delish. We tried to order 4 of them (one each), but alas they only serve a limited amount a day, so we could only order 2 and we’d share it, and ordered another dish to share. We got the sashimi platter. It was pretty good but not the best sushi I’ve ever had, but a good assortment of sashimi though.

From Shirako michelin
From Shirako michelin
From Shirako michelin

Was not a fan of the side dishes:

From Shirako michelin

And the lunch sets also come with rice and soup.

The kinmedai fish (金目の姿煮定食) is where it’s at. It takes 40minutes to prepare. But so worth it. They bake it in this amazing marinade stew and it’s so amazingly meaty. I would come back here just for this dish. Was totally bummed that we had to share the fish between two. I so wanted a whole one to myself!

From Shirako michelin
From Shirako michelin
From Shirako michelin
From Shirako michelin

A job well done!

From Shirako michelin
From Shirako michelin

Very, very reasonable prices too. 3500yen for a one-star Michelin meal.

You wouldn’t think it would be Michelin starred.

From Shirako michelin

Website here. (Open for lunch and dinner)

Molecular Gastronomy in Tokyo

I had a pretty awesome Saturday. I slept in late, then hit the gym. Swam 1km and did a 7km jog (and walk). In the afternoon, I went to the Tokyo Photography museum to catch the last weekend of the World Press Photo exhibition (a yearly photo exhibit which I try to go to see each year when I can). There was a lot of people there. Memo to self: don’t go on the last weekend of an exhibition. I thought I’d see the women’s Olympic triathlon at a sports bar or something. Tried two pubs. One wasn’t open yet (at 5:30pm) and the other was only showing the rugby, and not a single Olympic event! Went home and managed to see the event on my “tv”. Dinner was the highlight of the day. A late dinner at 8:30pm was a 20-morsel journey of molecular gastronomy. Food meets science. I think molecular gastronomy is pretty fascinating. At the end of the day, cooking is technically a science of processes and chemical reactions. Dining at the Tapas Molecular Bar at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel had been on my Japan bucketlist for a while now. The main deterrent was it’s price tag. However, when a friend organized the event a couple of months back, I was definitely in. There are 2 seating sessions per evening. 6pm and 8:30pm. We were booked in for the 8:30pm. Seats are limited to 8 people only. It’s more than food, it’s a performance show. A magic show of sorts. The Tapas Molecular Bar is technically the bar that’s in the Lounge of the hotel on the 38th floor, the same place where they serve afternoon tea which I did a couple of years back.

From Molecular Gastronomy

There was 6 in our party, and then a couple on the end. The food and the way it’s served is crazy and wacky. However, it does not compromise on taste or flavour. Arguably, the flavours are enhanced by the techniques they use. As we sat down to the counter, we were faced with beakers, test tubes and pipettes.

From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy

This was the aperitif – a red shiso mojito.

From Molecular Gastronomy

We had to squeeze the contents of the pipette into the test tube, shake and then drink. It was very, very shiso-ey. All the food is served at the counter, in front of you, by two chefs (although a lot of the mis en place has already been done). They explain in both English and Japanese the technique and process involved and you’re free to ask them questions.

From Molecular Gastronomy

Next up were two snacks. 1) Caramel popcorn.

From Molecular Gastronomy

This was just bizarre. They have to prepare each one individually. It tasted exactly like corn soup (very corny), but powdery and then was coated in a caramel syrup.

From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy

Second snack was caprese – a dehydrated tomato skewered by a pipette filled with cheese. You had to inject the cheese as you ate the tomato.

From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy

There are 10 courses in the degustation part of the menu. They used a lot of tweezers and liquid nitrogen to prepare the next few dishes. The presentation of these dishes were amazing. Beautiful and creative. New soba – a jelly soba with wasabi and soy sauce foam and karasumi. Karasumi tastes like cheese, but is actually fish eggs.

From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy

The soba dish was delicious. Was definitely one of my favourites. So flavoursome! Who knew foam would taste so good.

From Molecular Gastronomy

Gotta love the silverware – skinny forks and a scalpel-like knife. Super fine and sharp.

From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy

The soba was followed by the crystal salad – dehydrated salad components with dressing that had been frozen and quinelled onto the plate. The salad was also really awesome. I can’t tell you how flavoursome all this food was. There was just so much flavour and taste and a variety of textures. The salad lacked height though. Everything was so finely sliced.

From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy

That went down a treat:

From Molecular Gastronomy

Delicate work. Food surgery:

From Molecular Gastronomy

Next up was the squid ink soup. Earlier during the evening, the chefs prepared squid ink balls. They squirted squid ink blobs into calcium water to soak and form balls.

From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy

They later used these squid ink balls for the squid ink soup.

From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy

Here are the stages of the squid ink soup: The components – a squid ink cracker (which was tasty), the squid ink balls which now looked like mini kidney sacks. and octopus legs.

From Molecular Gastronomy

They they add broth to the dish:

From Molecular Gastronomy

You then pierce the squid ink ball to release the squid ink:

From Molecular Gastronomy

And then we added something to it and stir. I cannot recall what it is. I thought it was a mustard, mayonnaise of sorts, but it had a cream-like texture. Stir it all through. The dish was surprisingly yummy, especially since I don’t really like squid/octopus. I ate the legs and had a few spoonfuls of the soup. The soup was tasty, but the flavours were very strong. It was very squid inky. Like I said, there was no compromise on taste. If anything, all the flavours were accentuated and were quite strong. Despite the small portion of the soup, I couldn’t eat it all. Next up was the cryptically-named dish called “Summer Mountain Stream”. Watching the chefs prepare this dish was like watching them make a diorama or collage. Check this out:

From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy

So pretty. The rocks weren’t edible, but the fish and the crab were. I didn’t care much for the coating on the fish. Unusual flavour. But made better with the green jelly sauce. The baby crab was a little more awkward to eat. You had to eat the whole thing in one go, and all of it – shell, legs, body and all. It had been fried in oil and again was really tasty. Very, very crunchy, I might add. We’re now about halfway through the culinary journey. Uni and fennel – powdered, dehydrated uni (sea urchin) with the use of liquid nitrogen, served with a hot fennel broth which they poured from a teapot. There was also fennel tied to the spoon to add to the aromatics.

From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy

Try each component on its own, and then mix the uni into the fennel soup. Very unusual flavour combination. The next dish was called “Beach” and ended the four-dish seafood section of the degustation.

From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy

There was a scallop with a clam sauce. The scallop was delicious. Have a thing for scallops, I do. The shell came complete with a pearl which contained a yoghurt sauce of some kind inside when pierced. Even the sand was edible. Did not care for the sand.

From Molecular Gastronomy

For the gazpacho that followed, the chef injected the tomato with liquid:

From Molecular Gastronomy

The gazpacho:

From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy

This was one of my least favourite dishes. It was a frozen tomato, injected with something served on more of that “sand”. My tastebuds were not happy with this dish.

From Molecular Gastronomy

Chef at work:

From Molecular Gastronomy

The next three dishes were my absolute favourite of the evening – these were the meat dishes. Hell yeah. Give the girl some meat. The whole meal had been carb free and I’m not sure that I was yet full. The next three meat morsels were divine. First up was a dish mysteriously called “Smoke”.

From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy

Smoke had been captured under the glass klosh.

From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy

When you lifted off the lid, I took an inhale – a very woody aroma. Underneath the klosh was chicken and gooseberries. This dish was awesome. But the next dishes got even better.

From Molecular Gastronomy

Next up was sholompo which technically means a dumpling but is soupy and juicy on the inside. It’s the squirty kind of dumplings. To our surprise, we were served up lamb. We were told to eat the thing in one go. The inside of the lamb with be all squirty. Simply delicious.

From Molecular Gastronomy

I could have had me a dozen of these.

From Molecular Gastronomy

The final dish of the degustation was the piece de resistance, simply titled “wagyu”. Mmmm drool.

From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy

The potato mash puree was so light and fluffy. The wagyu had been roasted at 58 degrees for 6 hours. My only complaint was the tiny petite portion of wagyu. I could have had me a whole slab of this. And a yummy red wine jus. Pure culinary magic. And here is a magic trick of my own… Now you see it:

From Molecular Gastronomy

Now you don’t!

From Molecular Gastronomy

The great disappearing act. Except it lacks the prestige. “It’s not enough to make it disappear. You have to make it come back” – a line from the movie “The Prestige”. You must see that movie! Food bliss:

From Molecular Gastronomy

I absolutely love that every course is served on different plates and serving ware. That’s a whole lot of washing up! Now onto the desserts. And what’s molecular gastronomy without MORE liquid nitrogen!

From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy

The chef’s made a mint puff – which was like a mint marshmallow. This thing was freaky. You placed the puff on your tongue and chew fast. The liquid nitrogen can kind of freeze your tongue. Your tongue goes a bit of a numb tingling sensation, but as you eat it, all this “smoke” comes out of your nostrils. It’s pretty insane.

From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy

Then the dessert wheel is brought out:

From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy

On the top shelf was cappucino-flavoured fairy floss.

From Molecular Gastronomy

On the next layer was the NY cheesecake and olive oil gummy.

From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy

The cheesecake was good, but the olive oil gummy – what were they thinking. It was very olive oil. Even the thought of consuming a jelly lump of olive oil makes my blood curdle a bit. I had a tiny bite to taste, but pass. Sparkling chocolate which contained popping candy inside and then a berry meringue.

From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy

Nice views from the 38th floor:

From Molecular Gastronomy

The next dessert dish was the pina colada ice-cream. Deliciously refreshing. Enjoyed this dessert.

From Molecular Gastronomy

The final dish of the evening was “Fruits”. We could see them prepare fruit such as oranges, lemons and lime. How were they going to jazz up some citrus fruit, we wondered.

From Molecular Gastronomy

They instructed us to eat one of the strawberry halves, one lemon wedge, one lime wedge and one lemon wedge. Obviously, these were really sour and not what you would call an enjoyable dessert. We then had to take a sip of water (which they also provided). We then had to put the red berry in mouth for about 1-2 minutes without breaking the seed inside and just keep it in our mouths. They even had a egg timer going. This red berry they told us was called a “miracle berry”. Once the time was up, we had to remove the see from our mouth. We then had to eat the remaining lemon, lime, and orange wedge. Amazingly, the citrus fruits tasted super sweet. The miracle berry makes whatever you eat afterwards sweet. This effect can last up to about 2 hours. It was amazing how the lemon and lime tasted so sweet! Wow. I was impressed.

From Molecular Gastronomy

If you consume red wine afterwards, it makes it taste like port. Everything tastes so sweet afterwards. What a sweet way to end the night! The other Japanese couple in our seating session, it was the guy’s birthday so they did a little cool birthday surprise trick for him at the end of the night. Won’t give you any spoilers, just in case, you decide to come here for your birthday, which would indeed be a treat. My first foray into molecular gastronomy was enjoyable. Definitely interesting and creative and pushes the boundaries of food and science with some unusual taste sensations and flavour combinations.

From Molecular Gastronomy
From Molecular Gastronomy

The Tapas Molecular Bar received one Michelin star for the last four years, but was not awarded a star this year. The menu changes with every season. We had the summer menu. But it would be really interesting to see the offerings for the other seasons. Seating is only limited to 8 people. Two seating sessions per evening. I recommend the later session. The earlier session has a very strict time limit to make way for the 8:30pm session. But with the later session, you can sit and linger at the bar for a bit at the end of the meal. I’m undecided whether it’s value for money though. It is incredibly pricey, but there is a lot of food and a lot of ingredients go into the preparation of the course. And the price does not include drinks, so drinks on top plus the service charge, make it overpriced. You’ll definitely need to save your yen for this one. Good to try the once, but based on price, will not be in a hurry to relive this kind of dining experience. Still, the food was pretty incredible and definitely has entertainment factor.

A date with Joël: Le Chateau, Tokyo

Had a date with Joël today. He’s a man that needs no introduction, but I’ll introduce you anyway. Full name: Joël Robuchon Age: 66 years old (what can I say, I like older men). Nationality: French (excellent lovers, so I’ve heard) Occupation: Chef He’s a man in demand. Had to book 3 months in advance to score a lunch date. Take a number, ladies. Ok, the above is not entirely true. It wasn’t really a date. But in my defence, dining at a 3 star Michelin restaurant is a bit like a blind date. The girl ums and ahs over what to wear, you wine, you dine and you want to be impressed and hopefully walk away at the end of the night without a bad aftertaste. (NB: I’ve never actually been on a blind date, but it’s how I’d like a blind date to be). First impressions were not too shabby. I will admit, he was a little bit out of my league though. The reality is, today I got to tick off something on my bucketlist – and that was to dine at a 3-star Michelin restaurant. A once in a lifetime dining experience (for the economically challenged like myself). For this one guy, back in 2004 – he spent an entire year traveling and dining at every 3 Michelin star restaurant around the world at that time! Deep pockets AND a big stomach. Really, I’m just jealous though. Japan is the culinary capital of the world and Japan has been awarded more Michelin stars than any other country (even France). I think there are 12 3-star Michelin restaurants in Japan. A group of us went to Joël Robuchon’s Le Chateau restaurant in Ebisu. Robuchon is a world-class chef. He has a total of 26 Michelin stars across a dozen restaurants around the world, more than any other single chef in the world. Quite the achievement. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this building in Ebisu’s Garden Place.

From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau

And for the longest time, until recently, I had no idea that it housed Michelin star establishments (yes, that’s right, more than one). Inside this chateau, you’ll find the Robuchon bakery, Rouge Bar, a restaurant called La Table on level 1 (2 Michelin stars) and Le Chateau restaurant (3 Michelin stars) on level 2, and on the third level is the private dining room for the Le Chateau restaurant – all by Joel Robuchon. He also has other 1 and 2-star Michelin dining venues around Tokyo. My friend organized this dining event last year, securing a reservation 3 months in advance. We were impressed she got us a table there. Lunch is cheaper than dinner, so we indulged in a long lunch on a cold, wet January Saturday. (For dinner, you might want to get a loan approval.) Upon arrival, my coat and umbrella was taken and placed into the cloakroom. I was then escorted up the stairs to the second level and into Rouge Bar. I had arrived early and was seated in this waiting room. I think the bar is only serviced in the evening. I was left unsupervised in the room which provided a good photo op. Gradually the other girls in our party arrived and we hung out in the room posing and taking photos. Here are photos of Bar Rouge. My photos aren’t so great. There wasn’t a lot of light in the room:

From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau

The carpet: So that’s Rouge Bar, where the colour theme is obviously red. As it turned out, I had arrived half an hour early, hence the number of photos of the bar. Once everyone in our party had arrived, we were ushered to the ‘Gold room’ – the Le Chateau Restaurant. The 3-star Michelin restaurant. Wow! We had entered the pearly gates of culinary heaven. We had all half-thought that they may reject the likes of us (even though we had a reservation). We worried that they probably would have thought that we couldn’t afford to pay the bill at a place like this. This is a place for people with real money, as opposed to us girls with fake Monopoly money. We were seated in our chairs, beside which were little stools for our handbags. Table setting was amazing. And yes, I was totally going to be that person who took a photo of everything on their SLR camera and look like the tourist. (Bless, Japan. Don’t reckon I could get away with it in Paris).

From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau

We had a glass of champagne to begin with.

From Robuchon Le Chateau

And soaked in the ambience. So much gold and bling.

From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau

It almost felt like we were in a gallery or museum. All the walls were protected in glass.

From Robuchon Le Chateau

There was even bling for the table.

From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau

The dining ware was amazing. Check out the bread plate.

From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau

We ordered the lunch course – menu Plasir (french for ‘Pleasure’), which offers dishes from the dinner menu so at least we got to sample some of the dinner dishes. It was an 8 course affair and then some. They actually offer a few set lunch courses here, of varying prices to suit your budget. I’m going to spare you a detailed pompous commentary/critique of the exquisiteness and delicacy of the food, barring a few side comments. I’ll leave that to the professional food critics. Suffice to say the food was really good. It was an amazing dining experience. And it is just that, an ‘experience’. The whole thing was amazing. And I was so elated to be there. Bliss. I’m just going to post up lots of photos instead and let your imagination do the tasting. The menu was in both Japanese and French, so I’ll also write a brief description in English. (I took home a copy of the menu. Don’t worry, it was totally kosher to take it home). We were served bread to start with.

From Robuchon Le Chateau

First up, was the amuse bouche – a pumpkin mousse of sorts.

From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau

Dish name: L’Oursin (sea urchin). A delicate sea urchin gelee with cauliflower cream. I don’t like sea urchin. I don’t eat sea urchin. But here I was faced with sea urchin. I ate it all. (The kitchen will change certain ingredients if you don’t like certain foods or have allergies. They let us study the menu beforehand. I was happy to try the sea urchin and opted not to change the menu.) Still have to say that I don’t like sea urchin. It ain’t my favourite food. It was served in a glass shell. The tiny roses that you see on the plate were real roses!

From Robuchon Le Chateau

From Robuchon Le Chateau

Good food must be accompanied with good wine. The wine menu here came out on an iPad. Welcome to the future, ladies and gents. We ordered a bottle of red wine for the table. We were scared to ask the price, but ask we did and went for the cheapest bottle (at 6000yen). Even the cheapest red wine at a 3 Michelin star restaurant must still be pretty awesome and probably the most expensive wine I will still ever have. The bottle opening is quite the affair. A trolley is brought out, the bottle is opened and then poured into a large glass flask and then left to sit for a while. We were told that the wine needed to “breathe”. Geez, that must mean that every red wine I’ve drunk up until now has choked. It never had a chance to “breathe”. I’m not sure what the significance of the lit candle was. I thought the Sommelier(ess) was very knowledgeable and professional. At the end of the meal once we had polished off the bottle of wine, they then handed us an envelope with the wine label laminated and a profile label which you can fill in. I thought that was super cool. The girls let me keep it coz I love that kind of thing. Pretty special. The whole experience was fascinating. There was a bread trolley which they wheeled around, and you could select a variety of breads and baguette. They came around a few times during the course of the meal. I really enjoyed the black olive bread. I also tried the onion bread as well. After making your selection, they would go off and toast your bread so it was warm before serving. (The bread selection was all complimentary with the meal. You can have as much bread as you like, but it would be a shame to to fill up on bread coz there’s like another 6 courses to get through).

From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau

Dish: Le Foie Gras de Canard Foie gras (duck liver) in a parmesan risotto. This dish was delicious. The parmesan risotto was amazing. I think I liked it even more than the foie gras. Rice and cheese never tasted so good. To make rice and cheese taste like this could bring world peace. If only one could bottle it’s aroma.

From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau

Looking deliriously happy: Dish: L’Amadai. Tile fish with baked scales poached in yuzu broth with a root vegetable. The cooking technique of the fish scales on this dish, is something special. The fish skin is crispy. It’s almost like the fish equivalent of pork crackling.

From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau

DIsh: Le filet de boeuf Beef accompanied with peas, green beans, carrots, mushrooms, served with a carrot oil. I really loved the colours and flavours of this dish. The mushrooms were pretty divine. And I do love a good red meat.

From Robuchon Le Chateau

And how cool is the plate!

From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau

Seriously, let’s just hang this on the wall and call it art. What a masterpiece!

From Robuchon Le Chateau

Now for dessert. I wasn’t expecting so many dessert dishes, of which there were four! Dish: Le Guava. Lychee gelee with vanilla cream, with guava granite, and rose foam.

From Robuchon Le Chateau

Bird’s eye view:

From Robuchon Le Chateau

Here’s a group photo of us enjoying our meal:

From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau

Dish: La Mangue Mango coulee praline parfait with toffee and pepper. Also delicious. Mango, toffee and hazelnut. Best combo ever. And great textures too. Soft and crunchy. Everything on the plate was edible including the halo-looking bit.

From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau

Splurged on a glass of port as well. Tea/Coffee, served with sweets. The waiters even synchronized the tea pouring (which I might add, should totally be an Olympic sport – the synchronized tea pouring that is) (3 of us had tea). Lots of little details like that throughout the meal made the experience awesome, like the little nifty crumb sweeper thing that they used towards the end of our meal. Dish: green tea (matcha) gelee with creme brulee.

From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau

The coffee cup and saucer were really cool.

From Robuchon Le Chateau

Last up was a chocolate and macaron.

From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau

A pretty special experience. Here are some additional pics of the restaurant.

From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau

The food was very filling and we were totally satisfied. We lingered around until everyone in the restaurant had left. We had been there over four hours just soaking in and savouring the experience. We were the last party to leave. The waiters were really accommodating and let us (me) take as many photos of the restaurant as I liked considering there was no one there.

From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau

We were also led out by one of the chefs! My brush with a culinary celebrity. We had actually discussed during the meal whether we would be allowed to meet the chef(s). As it so happened, I got to talk with and have a photo with one of the chefs – Mr T. Watanabe. He was the chef responsible for the fish dish. He was super nice and friendly and more than happy to have photos with us.

From Robuchon Le Chateau

And then the battery on my DSLR went dead. It had luckily survived the meal. I had taken over 250 photos! So the next few photos are on my regular digital point and shoot camera (hence poorer quality).

From Robuchon Le Chateau

Upon leaving, we were also given a souvenir goodie bag (that all diners receive), which had a loaf of special bread of some sort from the Rabuchon bakery. Ah, the irony. Exchange one kind of dough for another. And then some more photos:

From Robuchon Le Chateau

3 stars, count ’em:

From Robuchon Le Chateau
From Robuchon Le Chateau

It was 5pm by now. A day well spent.

From Robuchon Le Chateau

The Chateau by night:

From Robuchon Le Chateau

I thought the service was good. Very polite and professional. The staff were multilingual (Japanese, English, French – and possibly other languages) and spoke English for our group. They weren’t at all haughty or arrogant. And they were so accommodating with regard to photography. Everyone in the restaurant was taking photos of everything that was put in front of them and the staff happily took photos for people and were happy for people to snap away. As for the price, well let’s just say I dropped some yen, but it was worth it for a bucketlist experience. And that’s the point of a bucketlist. If you had a month to live, what would you want to do? If I had a month to live – climbing the corporate ladder, getting married, buying a house, buying the latest gadget etc would not be on that list. Instead, I’d be traveling, eating, traveling, eating and then repeat. All with good company, of course. I’d want to see and eat as much as I possibly could. So, yes, money would be no objection. A Murakami quote from one of his books comes to mind: “A real gentleman never discusses women he’s broken up with or how much tax he’s paid”. In my case, “A real lady never discusses men she’s been broken up with or how much she’s paid for a meal.” Sadly, my blind date with Joel will be just a one-night stand. Following the above maxim, I mustn’t discuss this either. However, I will treasure the receipt. (They of course, will split the bill accordingly to what each guest consumed. This is one place where you don’t want your guests doing a runner on you and leave you footing the entire bill! FYI, there are no banks nearby to rob.) Le Chateau Website. I also recommend that you try and get your hands on and watch a neat documentary called: “Michelin Stars: The madness of perfection”. It’s a fascinating and interesting doco providing an insight into the history and secrecy of the Michelin headquarters and it’s anonymous judges with a “licence to eat”. The pursuit of perfection and the chase for a Michelin star even drove one chef to suicide. I came across this documentary on a long-haul flight (in-flight documentary) a year or two ago. It was aired on Australian tv last year. I think it’s a BBC production. Get your hands on it and watch it if you can. Super interesting.