My mother had not been to Tokyo for many years, so I wanted to make this trip a memorable one.
We stayed at the Peninsula Hotel, not only for the comfort and the extremely helpful concierge team, but also for its convenient location in Ginza, just five minutes’ walk from the concert halls.
I also planned dinners at some of Tokyo’s best restaurants. Ma is a true gourmet and appreciates fine dining.
Sushi Aoki is a small restaurant located on the second floor of an old building, in the heart of the Ginza district. The small counter seats around a dozen patrons. You don’t really get to choose your food as there’s no menu, and not speaking Japanese makes any attempts at expressing your wishes futile. Basically, you get served the produce of the day.
That’s fine because the Sashimi and Sushi are of the highest quality. While we were there, the chef behind the counter, although busy with the preparation of the dishes, was very attentive. We had a great meal of succulent fresh fish and seafood and will definitely come back to this unpretentious but excellent restaurant.
Ma had never experienced Molecular Cuisine, and explaining exactly what Molecular Cuisine is was not only difficult, but just about impossible. So I decided to take her to the Tapas Molecular Bar at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
Personally, I prefer traditional, even simple, cuisine. However, as Molecular Cuisine has been the talk of the town for so long, I felt Ma should really experience it for herself. Some of the dishes on the set menu were tasty, some were creative, all were intriguing. Overall the meal was a success and Ma had a great time, which is the most important thing.
We also went to the restaurant of Joel Robuchon, one of the most famous living French chefs, and arguably the best. People rave about his Tokyo restaurant, and visiting it for the first time with my mother was truly special.
The Chef and Director in charge is Alain Verzeroli, an old acquaintance from Hong Kong. Before moving to Tokyo, Alain spent a few years at Petrus, the Island Shangri-La’s fine French Restaurant. We used to have a great time feasting on the special menus he created for us and our friends. It was great catching up with Alain, and reminiscing about the good old days. Moreover, seeing his maturation into an established world class Chef was very heartwarming.
The dinner was absolutely delicious, “sans chichi”, outstanding in every aspect. It was on the same evening as the “Les Funérailles de Chopin” concert, so for us, the day was an unforgettable feast, composed of a remarkable concert coupled with an exceptional dinner. What more could one ask for?
Photo credits: bach-cantatas.com, whatahotel.com