Friday, November 27, 2015

Fiorentina : Going Italian at Grand Hyatt Tokyo

It was an early Christmas at Grand Hyatt Tokyo, where the surrounding roads were already decked out in picturesque festive lightings. Against the backdrop of this gorgeous view, I had an amazing dinner at Fiorentina, which brands itself as a casual Italian cafe but serves food that matches the level of fine-dining restaurants. 
The meal rolled off to a jolly good start with the antipasto misto (¥1800 for small/¥2500 for big), a classic platter featuring Parma ham with melon, oh-so-sweet marinated tomatoes, lasagna stack, shrimps in pesto and smoked Maguro. These delish bites were the perfect companion to a glass of red wine, which are part of the extensive selection. Fear not if you are at a lost as the friendly staff would gladly assist in recommending the best wine to pair with the food. 

Besides three types of course dinners, guests can pick from the ala carte section which offers a good range of pastas, risottos and main courses. Every now and then, look out for special highlights featuring dishes made with seasonal ingredients such as the prized Italian Porcini during autumn. 
Like any other Italian trattorias I visit, I always stick to a classic plate of Carbonara (¥3000) and Fiorentina's version was incredibly tasty. The homemade fettuccine is tossed in eggy sauce with Italian pancetta and porcini, making this a simple yet comforting staple to savour in the surroundings of warm and flattering lightings. 
The beef tagliata (¥3900) is also in the top of the game.  As a brown-hair wagyu breed raised in Kochi prefecture, this Tosa Akaushi (土佐赤牛) has the right balance on fats and lean meat which I prefer, compared to the top grade Kobe Wagyu which tends to be overwhelmingly rich. 
A meal here is never completed without the excellent desserts and pastries by its award-winning pastry chef. My previous experience with their cakes were impressive and I was not disappointed this time round as well. For instance, the Green Tea gelato is a treat for all senses; a lightweight construction that presents a tower of silky smooth vanilla gelato on a bed of bitter matcha jelly and red bean. 
Taking the throne in one of the most innovative sweets so far is this Shosai. It is distinctive in its peppery essence compacted in a crunchy sheen beneath the coffee beurre and chocolate mousse. The flavours are not too aggressive and the mousse is exceptionally smooth. 
Some strange chocolate cravings hit me that night and hence the Chocolate Fondant. I wish there was more of the flowy lava but for the intense darkness it beholds, my soul was elevated to untellable spiritual heights. Pairing the desserts with my warm cuppa of Japanese Cappucino, the night is still young.

Fiorentina @ Grand Hyatt Tokyo
6-10-3 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo 106-0032, Japan
Daily 9am-10pm
Reservations: +81 3 4333 8780
Visit here for menu and details

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Colony @ The Ritz-Carlton : NEW 3-Tier British Afternoon Tea

After a six-month period renovation, the all-time popular buffet restaurant arm of The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore, opens with a new concept and name called "Colony", which draws inspirations from the rich heritage of Singapore's colonial history. What could be better to relish an authentic afternoon tea experience than having a traditional British style three-tier afternoon tea set here?  

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Saryou Suisen 茶寮 翠泉 Kyoto : Hidden Good Find

This place may not boast a long history but it  is definitely one of the most promising tea houses I've ever visited in Japan. 

Like many of the Kyoto tea cafes, Saryou Suisen dishes out standard sweets such as parfaits, zenzais and latte. However, it is rare to have Warabi Mochi made freshly upon order and served to the guests WARM with kinako powder and black sugar syrup. 
出来立て、ほっこり抹茶わらびもち (¥630)
The plate of green gloop might not appeal in looks but the taste is excellently rich and not sweet at all. It's soft, less chewy and more stretchy than the typical warabi mochi. 
If you ever tasted this freshly made version, you will find it difficult to find another one which can surpass this level of deliciousness. It is THAT GOOD.
抹茶あわ雪氷 (800 yen) + 抹茶ソフト (250 yen)
Instead of the parfait, we opted for the lighter kakigori disregarding the fact that the weather was chilly. I topped up the soft serve at an additional ¥220 as I use this as a benchmark to compare between matcha cafes. And this soft serve is not tame at all; creamy, smooth with a lingering milk aroma, making up for the kakigori (half matcha and half condensed milk flavor) which was less fluffy than expected.
Last but not least, their beverages are the definite companion to any of their sweets. The matcha 3D latte art will most likely evoke the child in anyone and put a smile on your face but it is more than just presentation. 

The warm latte is an especially comforting treat in autumn but if you are hankering for the authentic zen experience, it's none other than the O-matcha (¥680)
お抹茶 (お茶菓子付け)¥680

Saryou Suisen 茶寮 翠泉
Karasuma Oike outlet 烏丸御池店 
Kyoto shi, Nakagyo ku, Ryogae cbo, Oshikoji Dori, Agaru Kinbukicho 461 
(Same building as Karasuma Medical Mall ) 1F
TEL : 075-221-7010 
Daily : 10.30am-6pm (LO 5.30pm)
Closed every Wed

Access: 5 min walk from Exit 2 Subway Karasuma Line, Karasuma Oike Station
地下鉄烏丸線 烏丸御池駅2番出口より徒歩5分 
Map :

Friday, November 20, 2015

Kichi Kichi キチキチ : The Omurice Show Since 1978

Thanks to my good friend's recommendation, I finally visited this small western restaurant which specializes in Omurice. Helmed by a one man chef Yukimura Motokichi, this place sits up to only 8 pax and reservation is strongly recommended unless you want to have dinner at 9pm or so. 
Diners are expected to arrive promptly at the reservation time. During our visit, there were people who walked in but they were all turned down by the chef, whom I think is already a half-celebrity considering his numerous media appearances. 

While there are a few western main dishes such as beef stew, chicken cutlet and croquettes on the menu, there is only one kind of Omurice--ふわふわの逆さオムライス "Fuwa fuwa no Sakasa Omurice" (loosely translated as "inverse omelette rice") Choose the size of your rice (half 1350 yen/regular 2500 yen), which is pre-cooked and arranged on the plate before the chef cooks the "omu". 
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