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

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Celebrating our 5 years, @ Harmony, Tokyo

Where has the time gone? It really doesn't seem that long ago when Rob and I, on a fine but chilly Perth August day, stood on the grass at the Quarry Amphitheatre and wedded in front of our beloved family and friends. We have experienced so much together in our years together, and I do not regret a single moment - yes, even the not-so-happy times. As I had reflected on our anniversary last year, every year had been exciting times for us, and this year is no different as we see our gorgeous little boy thriving really well and giving us such joy and delight as he approaches his first birthday. At this point in my life, I feel blessed and very fortunate, and I don't know what the future holds for us but I certainly do wish for many more blissful years with Rob and my little family.

This year, we celebrated the occasion at Harmony Specialty Restaurant at the Royal Park Shiodome Tower. We needed a nice place that would serve good food for an occasion but would also be fine with babies, and I figured that the lunch buffet at a good hotel would satisfy those points. Of course I would prefer a fine dining restaurant, but unlike New York, many fine dining places here would not accept reservations with babies. The restaurant has several options to choose from when making your booking including set courses and a-la-carte. The buffet option is very popular on weekends; in fact I think Harmony is just a popular choice in general because it was packed! There are two lunchtime services - 11:30am-13:00pm and 13:30pm-15:00pm - giving diners 1.5 hours to eat all they can, which is more than enough time even when you have a baby with you too.

Rob and I took turns looking after/feeding the baby and grabbing food. 1. This was a view from our table of the queue at the buffet spread - can you see Rob? (Hint: look for the only white dude looking in my direction.)
2. My turn at the buffet table - open kitchen to the right

At 24th floor, the restaurant has quite a view of the city, and I imagine the night lights would be just gorgeous (not to say that the daytime view is unattractive, but Tokyo IS a concrete jungle after all). Service was professional and there was always someone to ensure our water glass is always full. Food was constantly being replenished because there were so many diners, so the food didn't get a chance to get old sitting on the table.

3. View from our table - I did say concrete jungle, right?
4. Towards the end of the first lunch service, there was no queue at the buffet table and I had a good view into the open kitchen. I like seeing where my food gets prepared (the hustle bustle and how clean it is) and I reckon more restaurants should adopt this concept

The food was of good quality, and I can't think of any dish that I was unhappy with. Everything was prepared well, and I like the effort put into presenting the food nicely, even though it is buffet-style. There were a few dishes prepared and cooked to order, like the steak and the house specialty, the Foie Gras Omelette.

5. First plate - Hors d'œuvres and salad: (clockwise from the left most glass) Scallop & Pasta Tartare Sauce, Ginger-flavoured Pudding with Water shield, Japanese-style Salad with Seaweed, Mozzarella and Tomato on Bread, Thai-style Noodle Salad with Prawn, Smoked Salmon, Kabocha (pumpkin) Salad and Garlic squid with Brocolli. All was tasty, especially the pumpkin salad.
6. Second plate - hot dishes: Cold Pumpkin Soup (because I couldn't fit it on my first round), Vegetable Doria (creamy rice bake, a Japanised Italian dish), Steamed Salmon with Ravigote Sauce, Basil-stewed Pork, and Sauteed Shrimps. The doria was delicious in all its carby goodness, the stewed pork was really tender and the shrimp was bursting with briny juices and had a lovely light crispy coating.

6. Harmony's specialty dish - the Foie Gras Omelette: chunks of rich buttery and fatty duck liver inside an egg omelette and drizzled with truffle sauce. That's one way to glamourise the humble egg. It was yummy, but oh-so-rich and I was glad I shared the omelette with Rob otherwise it would have been a shame to waste such an expensive dish.

There was quite a wide range of dessert available, and thankfully most of them were not too rich or heavy which allowed us to indulge in more than we really ought to. Just as we were about done eating our hot food, the omelette chef disappeared and in his place was another chef sautéing pineapple chunks in a frypan. It turns out that he was preparing a Piña Colada-style Dessert (sans alcohol): caramelised pineapple with coconut ice cream complete with mango sauce. On the dessert table, there were fruits, sorbet, pastries, egg pudding, banana creme, coffee jelly, strawberry shortcake, and so on. We particularly enjoyed the plum tart. In the tea and coffee corner, there was a coffee machine to make several types of coffee such as espresso, cappuccino and "American blend" coffee (?!). Perhaps I should start gaining an appreciation for coffee so I can take advantage of the coffee service at nice places like Harmony.

7. Piña colada Dessert - a tropical delight!
8. Round one of the dessert selection (sorry, I'm not a dessert aficionado so I won't even attempt at labelling the desserts)

It was a good dining experience, and I ate too much, like I always do at buffets despite chastising myself every single time for overeating (to tell you the truth, I'm actually quite scared of buffet-style meals because I just don't have discipline around food, and would much prefer a set course meal). The 10 month old was a well-behaved angel, and we all had a good time.


  1. Everything looks so yummy Jean. Happy Anniversary to you and Rob! :)

  2. Thanks! The food were really yummy, but I overate. I need to learn to be disciplined around so much food ;P

  3. Hehehe....I think it's normal to overeat when there is so much food around. Especially when it's really good. :)