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Posts Tagged ‘Isetan basement’

Tokyo food highlights

26 May

Looking back at these photos is making me very hungry….. Tokyo is a foodie heaven! Some of the best pastry chef’s in the world have pastry shops here or have little counters in the basement level of the big department stores. It’s crazy!

We only had 2 full days in Tokyo before our snowboarding trip up North to  Niseko so to maximise our time I made a food itinerary. Our first day started with the free birds eye view of Tokyo from the 45th floor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku. This was OK but I was super keen to check out the food, so we headed to the basement in Isetan just after it opened. This is a good time to visit because there was hardly anyone around so we could see clearly into each display and the service was very fast. We were heading from here to L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon for lunch so I didn’t want to eat too much and after lunch we were going to the Sumo so we were unsure how well the desserts would travel around Tokyo.

This was my first purchase. I think it was a chocolate and caramel macaron from Henri Carpentier. I didn’t even wait to leave Isetan before I ate this. Delicious!

I also bought an Ispahan from Pierre Herme. I didn’t eat it straight away and they packed it up with a few small frozen icepacks to keep it cool. The time and care they took to package it was so cute. How awesome is my picture of the cross section of the Ispahan at the top of this post!!!!

Day 2 started with an early wakeup to visit the famous Tsukiji fish markets. We were planning on getting there at 5am for the tuna auction but since it wasn’t on we slept in a little and got there around 8am. These markets were incredible. You have to watch you don’t get run over by the crazy guys on the mini trucks zooming around and the variety of seafood for sale was insane.

We settled in for breakfast at a little sushi place and got different set menu’s with a few things we didn’t recognise but ate anyway. It was all so fresh and amazing.

Every time I write one of these posts I regret not writing all the details down like the cost and name’s. Oh well, I think the pictures still tell a great story.

OK so after our super fresh and healthy breakfast we decided to walk via Ginza to Hidemi Sugino. Having heard ‘soup nazi’ like stories about this place about having to get there early and line up, and sometimes they sell out by midday, it was more of a powerwalk to get there and then we were surprised to see no one else and no line. Unfortunately they were opening 1 hour later so instead of waiting around we decided to go check out the Asakusa temple and come back. When we did get back there was no line out on the street and a small line inside waiting to order but as soon as we ordered we were seated. There is only a small seating area so we were pretty lucky we didn’t have to wait. The staff were really helpful in explaining what each dessert was.

They were really strict here and didn’t allow any photos so we had to be sneaky and use my iPhone. hehe “I think I underestimated your sneakiness.” I chose the Ambrosie(¥740), a chocolate lovers dream and Brett got a caramel tart(¥630). The Ambrosie was A-MA-ZING!!! OMG I wish Hidemi Sugino was in Sydney. Big call but I think his cakes are better than Zumbo’s! Hidemi Sugino is known for his mousse layer cakes. So delish! Some of the cakes are eat in only but some are both eat in and takeaway. I’m not sure why but we only chose 1 each and didn’t take any away. So silly!

After all these desserts hubby wanted to get some real food so we had a late lunch at Pierre Herme in Ginza. :) He got a massive club sandwich and I got some macarons. hehe Seeing as we were staying in Shinjuku we had to catch the train via Isetan so we dropped by the basement and I got one of Sadaharu Aoki’s salted caramel eclairs. YUM!!!!!

What would a trip to Japan be without Takoyaki? I couldn’t resist when I saw a cute van setup at Shinjuku station selling these octopus balls of deliciousness.

Day 2 finished with dinner at Gonpachi. Rumour has it that this restaurant was the inspiration for the Crazy 88 fight with Beatrix Kiddo aka the bride aka Black mamba in Kill Bill. I might have to tell you about that foodie experience another time.

After a week of snowboarding every day in waist deep powder followed by a steamy soak in the rooftop onsen at the Scot hotel and eating out in Niseko we had 1 night and day back in Tokyo.

The morning started with a bike ride around the Imperial Palace gardens. This is an absolute must. We had a ball. Every Sunday, 500 free bicycles are lent out for use along the 3.3km Imperial Palace cycling course. Bikes are given on a first-come, first-served basis and can be picked up next to the Babasakimon police box just outside the station exit underground rail: Chiyoda Line to Nijūbashimae (exit 2).

Since my sister Dan, the other half of no red meat, missed out on Hidemi Sugino the first time, we decided to go back. This time there were more people, possibly since it was a Sunday, so we had to wait ages for a table. It was definitely worth the wait and this time we got 2 desserts each. Yippee!

I decided to try a different chocolate dessert, but it was not as good as the Ambroisie. Pictured above is the Charme, a cherry chocolate cake (¥630) and the Sous bois, a berry delight (¥630). I had food envy because Dan chose the Ambroisie and the Sous bois, the perfect combo!  The Ambroisie is definitely the clear winner. It is slighlty more expensive than the others so Hidemi Sugino probably thinks so too.

Brett had another caramel tart and also decided to try the orange tart (¥630 each).

Above is a dodgy picture of another dessert my brother in law had. I can’t remember what it was. He didn’t realise we all ordered 2 so was a bit shirty. Love the cross sections pictures below. Yum!

After Hidemi Sugino we were running out of time so had to choose between the Meiji Shrine and Harajuku. So glad we chose Harajuku. All the crazy kids were out in their get up. It was so busy and quite amusing.

We left some time to stop off in the Isetan basement again but it was so busy and crazy, we were running late for our flight and our husbands were rushing us so I ended up having to make some rushed decisions. I got another eclair from Sadaharu Aoki. This time Cassis. Mmmmm

and a few more macarons for the flight home.

After racing back to the hotel and grabbing out bags then racing to the bus stop we got to relax a bit on the bus to the airport which took over an hour. After arriving at the airport and saying ” I wish we had more time in Tokyo”, my brother in law pointed out that our flight home was cancelled. Normal people would have been disappointed but Dan and I both cheered. Woo hoo!

Unfortunately Dan and C got rebooked on flights out of Osaka on different days but Brett and I were booked on flights out of Tokyo 3 days later. So we got to experience heaps more foodie things and also do some shopping at Uniqlo. Oh Uniqlo when are you coming to Sydney?

Brett and I decided to try Joel Robuchon’s other restaurant, La Table and also a small Kaiseki restuatant in Shibuya called Yamashiroya where we had an  elaborate nine-course dinner (Y3990/person). The chef chose each course and each bowl and serving dish was different and unique. We didn’t take photos here because it was quite intimate. It was definitely a unique experience. We did however take photos at La Table, so I’ll share those one day….

Another unique Japanese dish we tried was Okinomiyaki. It was at a restaurant of the same name in Shibuya where we got to cook it at our table. I have since made these at home a few times. So easy and so tasty!

So there you have it my tokyo foodie highlights. If you want any more information about any of the places I’ve mentioned please leave a comment or email me and I’ll try my best to remember and help you out.

Happy eating!

Anita

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  1. L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Tokyo, Japan