The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Lunch @ Gordon Ramsay, Tokyo

On Saturday, we lunched with the lovely Shan and her hubby Leigh at the Gordon Ramsay in the swanky Conrad Hotel. Shan found the restaurant a few weeks ago and suggested that we try the food, to which Rob and I happily agreed. I've never watched Ramsay's shows, but I have heard of him because he is quite prominent in the foodie world. It would probably be true to say that his reputation of possessing a fierce temper and a mouth that uses colourful language is probably more well-known than his chef abilities. He's been awarded a total of 12 Michelin stars, which is reason enough to try yet another celebrity chef's restaurant.

The restaurant atmosphere was sophisticated and elegant to match the hotel's standard. The service was impeccable with attentive waitstaff to ensure that we were comfortable and happy whilst under their care. This restaurant certainly caters well to the foreign clientele. From our table, we enjoyed a view of part of the open kitchen - I love watching hustle and bustle of the kitchen as chefs prepare food and plates them with detail and care. There were set menu priced from 4000yen (~AU$40) and a-la-carte dishes were also available. The Lunch Set Course (4000yen) was a 3-course meal with two options for each course. There was also a Tasting Lunch Menu (6500yen) which include one or two extra course (most of which were available on the lunch course) and a complimentary champagne or fruit juice for the ladies (actually, we couldn't really figure out whether the complimentary drink was for everyone, or ladies' only). And then there were other more expensive set courses available if you feel like indulging in the more expensive ingredients. Unfortunately for me, I forgot to take notes of the menu, so the following (boring, unimaginative) names of the dishes are by yours truly and not the restaurant.

View of the kitchen from our table; and arguably the lovelier half of our table:

The four of us liked the look of the Lunch Set, and between Rob and me, we ordered both options for each course except for the entree. Somehow we'd unknowingly ordered the same entree, so unfortunately we couldn't try the Quail Egg creation that was the other option. However, the Asparagus Salad was pretty good, carefully assembled and beautifully presented in a geometric kinda way. The leafy salad ring had scatterings of hazelnuts which gave a pleasant contrast of texture. Simple is best for asparagus, which was the treatment given to these stalks, and it was a great start to the meal. Throughout the meal, we were served warmed bread which was a great filler for those with bigger appetites.

Entree: Asparagus Salad:

For the main course, we had the option of the Ocean Trout Pavé or the Chicken Medallions. The trout was deliciously crispy, and served with minimal sauce and seasoning which is the best way I like to enjoy a good fish fillet. The cubes of beetroot and rounds of fried potatoes were also delicious, and contributed nicely to the gorgeous geometric presentation. The chicken was served with a creamy foie gras sauce which was a nice way to update a fairly common meat. The chicken breast meat was tender and moist, and we wondered briefly how the medallions were so neatly carved out of the chicken breast.

Ocean Trout Pavé; and Chicken Medallions:

Dessert was either Earl Grey Parfait with Granita or Banana Pannacotta. The parfait was really gorgeously assembled, and once again I love the geometrical presentation. It was delicious, with the panes of crunchy caramel providing a lovely contrast of texture to the softer parfait filling. The parfait filling comprised of a fairly solid custard base, cream of earl grey and topped with red granita. All these were a delight on the tongue from the custard base to the smooth cream to the cool frozen granita chunks. The banana pannacotta strangely did not have much banana flavouring. Rob reckons it tasted more like passionfruit. The thin crisp chocolate layer on top of the pannacotta was fun to break through, but I thought that this dessert option paled in comparison to the Earl Grey Parfait, both in taste and presentation. We were then served our coffees and teas.

Earl Grey Parfait; and Banana Pannacotta:

We had a great time with wonderful company. Time flew by quickly and before we knew it, we'd already spent almost 3 hours eating and chatting. Topics of food, careers, babies and living the expat life in Tokyo dominated our conversation. Thanks Shan and Leigh! It's our turn next time :)


  1. Our pleasure!! yes we must do it regularly!
    Had to look up your blog for some food descriptions ... hehehe ...
    Baaaad photo of me! You look great though! Hey I just noticed your hair looks curly ... did you curl it?

  2. Wow!
    Hi, I am Jun, a colleague of Rob. We are enjoying your blog!
    Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmare is one of our favorite TV programs here in NY.
    It is not silly like Japanese cooking fight TV programs, but treating serious problems, with many F words accompanied with beeps. And we can only see too much unhealthy or too much healthy things in ordinary US food TV programs. Fortunatelly this is a BBC program.
    Funny thing is that we have been watching the show long without knowing who Ramsey Gordon is. For us, without any prejudice, he seemed to be a very logical and good-at-management guy, who is very rare in kitchens. (My wife has worked as a cook in French cuisine in Paris, and she knows who are cooks.) But his frequent F*#K word speaking is a very typical property of a cook, and in addition, he cooks properly even he is a Scotsman! Lots of confusion here. Anyway, we thought he must be very good both in cooking and business. And he really is. :-) I cannot not believe it contains too much fakes. You must watch the program. We have learned lots of things: how to cook, how to encourage people at work, and how to use F$*k word properly.
    After knowing he has a restaurant here in NY too, naturally we started planning to eat there, but I forgot to carry a nice jacket from Japan. "F#*k me!"

  3. Re: Wow!
    Hi Jun, thanks for reading my lj! And thanks for the information about Ramsay :) I'd heard of his TV programs, but never got the chance to watch them because they don't show it in Perth and Japan!
    I'm envious that your wife has French cooking experience. A few years ago while I was still a university student, I worked for 1 week in the kitchen for the Hopman Cup (a tennis tournament) at a convention centre. All the supervising sous chefs - and the head chef too - advised us younger helpers NOT to become chefs. I remember it was hard work in the kitchen, so it's no wonder Ramsay's favourite word is the f-word!
    P/S: Ramsay has a restaurant in New York, called The London. It has 2 Michelin stars.. If you can get a table before you return to Japan, you should!!

  4. I thought it was a lovely shot of you!! :)
    (And I braided my hair the day before so that's why it was wavy.)

  5. Re: Wow!
    it now shows in perth...and they don't beep out the swear words... and literally every second word is the F word.
    wow...your boobs look big in the picture... sorry...they were the first things I noticed... :S You're looking well and literally glowing!!!

  6. Re: Wow!
    Haha, um, yeah, thanks... Now everyone who reads your comment is gonna look at a certain photo with close scrutiny...