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

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Italian-Spanish @ Rigoletto Bar & Grill, Tokyo

Isn't it great when things look like they're heading downwards, and then something that you know nothing about turns up in your path, and it all works out unexpectedly well in the end? That's sort of like how it was on Sunday when we went for lunch after church. We'd arranged to meet Kim in Roppongi Hills because Honey and I needed to be in the area for our cooking lesson later in the afternoon, and also because it was an easy rendezvous point for a meal with plenty of restaurants to choose from. We didn't really have anywhere in mind, so we wandered around a little on the 5th floor of the West Walk, hungry for lunch, but most of the places that looked interesting had long waiting time (it was, after all, peak lunch period on a Sunday). We also had a limited time for lunch due to the said cooking lesson, and some of us were getting a little impatient from walking around seemingly getting nowhere. When we came across Rigoletto Bar and Grill, the menu looked good, but the restaurant looked crowded. When Rob enquired about getting a table for four, he was told there was a short waiting period, but wasn't given an estimated time. We stood in front of Rigoletto for a couple of minutes discussing whether or not to wait, and we were about to walk away when we were ushered into the restaurant. Am I glad we didn't walk away!

The staff were very friendly and accommodated our 18 month old dining companion well. We were given a table with spacious and comfortable sofa setting, so we didn't need a high chair at all as Zak enjoyed roaming on the cushiony sofa (we didn't ask for one so I don't know if high chairs are available or not). A part of the restaurant featured a nice 13m-long bar area, and I imagine Rigoletto also has an impressive wine list. The food menu offered a good variety of dishes of a mixed Italian-Spanish style ranging from carpaccio and pasta to tapas and paella. The burgers gave the menu a sort of American-feel. During lunch time, there's an attractively priced 4-course menu, and you could choose from a range of pasta, pizza or burger for your mains. With such a nice variety of food, there's bound to be something in the menu for everyone. Usually I prefer not to go to restaurants that offer from a number of cuisines as it can sometimes mean compromised quality due to not specialising in a particular style, but I wasn't too fussy that day, and honestly, I was only glad that we could get a table and some food in our hungry bellies.

Refreshing ceviche and one of the tapas plate:

Honey and Kim ordered the lunch sets, whereas Rob and I chose to go with the a-la-carte option (more expensive, but more choices). The appetiser dish included with the lunch course option was a plate of four bite-sized tapas - tempura brocolli, cured meat, Spanish omelette and smoked salmon. They all tasted pretty good. Rob ordered some Avocado Prawn Ceviche, Fried Chicken Wings, and Calamari to share, and everyone was pretty happy with the quality of all the appetisers. The Caesar Salad that came with the lunch set was fresh and delicious with the not-very-healthy-but-oh-so-yummy creamy dressing.

The appetisers (chicken wings, calamari and ceviche) and the plates of spaghetti:

For mains, Honey got the Mentaiko (cod roe) Spaghetti and Kim ordered the Bolognese. Both were yummy and comforting in a homey way, but also very filling due to the generous serving size. Rob had the Grilled Pork Steak which was very juicy and tender. I ordered the Paella Shrimp which was really tasty. The rice had absorbed all the gorgeous seafood flavour from the prawns and had a nice brown crust on the bottom.

For dessert, Rob couldn't go past the Choco Cassata, which was a rich, moist layered chocolate ice cream cake served with a scoop of pistachio ice cream. Everyone at the table really liked this plate of dessert. The dessert of the day for the lunch set course was Cheesecake, which was light and fluffy, with a consistency and texture almost like a mousse. It wasn't too sweet or overly rich which is perfect after a big meal.

Divine chocolate cassata and the lovely cheesecake:

I really enjoyed this experience - the food was good, the staff looked after us, and Zak was a happy chappy during our meal. I think we'll definitely will be back here again.

By the way, happy Good Friday and Easter! I hope everyone enjoys their long weekend if you are more fortunate than us in Japan to get one. This will be our fourth Easter away from home, and I am missing all the hot cross buns, chocolate treats and time with church friends and family (in increasing order, of course!).

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