Monday, October 28, 2019

All About Sake

We spent our second day in Hakone visiting a local sake brewery; then later on, a dinner at our hotel specially crafted for us to pair with a few bottles produced there. Hakone area, or to a wider extent, Kanagawa Prefecture, was probably not the most prolific sake producing area in Japan, but with the water coming from the nearby Tanzawa Mountain long considered one of the best underground water source in the region, there are a number of decent breweries around. (Of course it won’t hurt by its proximity to the capital and the local demand from the popular travel destination of Hakone nearby)

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Last Lunch in Tokyo

We wanted to stay in at our hotel on the final day of our Japan holiday, just to spend the morning in the neighborhood then lunch at one of their restaurants. Azure 45 is considered one of the best French restaurant in town (with one Michelin star which they keep for a number of years) and shared the same floor as the hotel lobby up at the 45th Floor of Tokyo Midtown.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Zest-y Lunch

It's a pure coincidence that we had quite a number of meals that featured western style cooking re-interpreted by Japanese chefs in quick succession, first while we were in Japan late last month and that trend continued after returning to Hong Kong, including my recent visit to this new restaurant at the top floor of a commercial building in Central.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

First Night at Hiramatsu

We love everything at Hiramatsu Resorts while staying there for 2 nights at their Hakone property, but one thing that truly stood out was their culinary offering. It’s something they are proud of and by all means they should. Our half-board package came with breakfasts and dinners for both nights, so on the first day, after settling in at our gorgeous room and a relax dip in the onsen bath both in our room and at the private outdoor hot spring in the annex building, we walked down to the restaurant located on the lower floor, where a table has already been set up for us.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Start of the Season

It’s somewhat a rare sight these days in this town – with a restaurant filled to its capacity, but Nicholini’s at Conrad was packed with customers on a Friday evening. I guess partly because everyone are just itching to be out and about freely as things got stabilized a little bit and partly because the white truffle season has officially begun and the restaurant received its first batch today.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Omakase in a room

We managed to try Sushi Masuda in Tokyo's Aoyama right before Chef Rei Masuda closed his namesake restaurant to focus on his outlets elsewhere. I did hesitated when i was told the only seats available would be the one in the private room instead of the counter, but given our tight schedule this time and it's "now or never", I reluctantly said okay to such arrangement and confirmed our booking. And part of me wanted to treat this as an experiment to see how much our dining experience would change at a rather unusual setting.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

New Level of Fine in Fine Dining

I felt like this is only the first time I could properly sit down and check out the food at Bibo, with Chef Nicholas Chew settling in his new post after moving on from the much-acclaimed, now-defunct Serge a la Phoque almost a year ago. That plus it's only my first time coming for the dinner tasting menu, with my previous visits during day time on weekends for the simpler brunch.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Returning To An Old Favorite

I felt obliged to go back to Tempura Fukamachi to eat this time - it's been one of my favorite restaurants in Tokyo (back when I came more regularly) and I wanted to show CYY what the fuss is about this small restaurant at the back alley not far from Ginza. So I asked the hotel concierge to make the booking for us once our Japan itinerary was confirmed.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Satisfaction Restored

We felt we needed time to adjust as we left the tranquil Hiramatsu resort in the countryside of Hakone and checked into our hotel in metropolitan Tokyo for 2 more nights. I normally prefer staying in Shinjuku for its proximity to the shopping district and major train lines, but this time we decided to visit The Ritz Carlton in Roppongi for a change.

Monday, October 7, 2019

An Itinerary of Do-Nothing

Given we have been to Hakone before, albeit more than a decade ago, and hit most of the tourist spots back then, we decided to bypass the common itinerary and hit a few spots slightly off the beaten track, so instead we spent a leisure afternoon walking through a few galleries/museums in the proximity of the hotel.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

My Perfect Kind of Resort

After a summer of turmoil in our city, we were desperate to get out for a little break where we can switch off and relax. Earlier we received a kind invitation from The Hiramatsu Hotel & Resorts group for hosting us a couple of nights at their property in Sengokuhara near Hakone, so we thought the timing was just perfect and it’s perhaps a blessing in disguise.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Learn and Feast

Barely a week after we spent the weekend at the Four Seasons Hong Kong for the much-enjoyable staycation, I returned one morning to attend a cooking demo plus lunch at the Caprice with the restaurant's culinary team plus guest chef from Valrhona.