Flagship Joel Robuchon restaurant in Tokyo
Châteaux Restaurant Joël Robuchon is set in the Yebisu Gardens of Tokyo. It has been built stone by stone in homage to Moulinsart, a company that has been set up to protect the work of Hergé (creator of Tintin). The head chef is Michael Michaelidis and this lunch visit was on the brand’s extended 25th anniversary year of Louix XV’s opening in Monaco. This was a stylish lunch in every way with excellent service although the design of the interior is a bit over the top for my personal taste. The food was a delight though I was very pleased to see and sent me back to my visit of Joel Robuchon’s ex-3 Michelin starred flagship restaurant in Las Vegas. This lunch with drinks came to £210 per person which, for the whole occasion seemed fair, although this was one of the smaller menus available and you could spend a great deal more if you find yourself being more care-free.
Three lunch menus were presented: Menu ‘A’ (7 courses) at 30,000 JPY (£209pp), Menu ‘B’ (7 courses but less choice) at 25,000 JPY (£174) and Menu ‘C’ (5 courses) at 18,000 JPY (£125). As this was a fairly full-on dining holiday (approximately 21 Michelin stars in the month), we opted for the 5 course menu knowing full well this ‘lower’ version would make us perfectly full and end up providing us with multiple treats from here regardless. Still, Menu C is not cheap in itself and is roughly the price of the more expensive tasting menus in London, but this is a 3 Michelin starred Chatueix in Tokyo so this was always going to be the case.
However, as sure as mustard the treats began pouring out. The amuse bouche was a scampi, sea urchin and béchamel toasted stick and the reminder of this is literally making me salivate as I write. Trust me, you could devour 5 of these and still be wanting more. The vast array of breads was another lovely reminder of Las Vegas and the bread trolley alone was a wonder – pumpkin bread, bacon bread, cheese bread, olive layered bread, milk bread to name but a few. The huge block of butter was also carved / spooned at the table, just as it is at Joel Robuchon at Robuchon au Dome in Macau.
The caviar dish was a signature dish and visually spectacular. The caviar is from Normandy and placed on crab meat which is surrounded by a crustacean jelly made from lobster & shrimp with blobs of cauliflower cream and parsley dots on top. Everything about this dish worked and the true hero was actually the jelly, but the indulgent textures and flavours were beautiful and this is a dish that was as good as it looked.
Pumpkin soup was made with butternut pumpkin which has very sweet seeds and came with smoked duck, served on an onion custard flan. This literally was as advertised being so velvety, you would be forgiven for wanting to lick the plate. The other starter was aubergine with cep caviar with, cumin espelette chilli and parmesan shavings which was nicely done.
The mains chosen were lamb and of course, wagyu as it was there. Baby lamb, 3 weeks old, came as a rack with a wheat semolina served with spices of spicy couscous and harissa. The lamb was pleasing and the A4 beef was absolutely wonderful, possibly better than A5 in actual beef flavour rather than at A5 where it can feel like simply eating pure fat. Beef Totori came with jus de bœuf, ravioli with artichoke, mushroom and truffle and with a parsley cappuccino. This was a fabulous dish, beautifully presented and the famous Robuchon mash (with ‘Destroyer’ potatoes sourced from Hokkaido) was also served on the side and with a well-chosen glass of red Burgundy from the sommelier was frankly me in my personal, happy igloo space and was frankly approaching death row meal situation in general and in every way.
The selection of desserts and petit fours was gargantuan. Both came on trolleys and you are able to choose as many small pieces of as many as you would like. The small pieces of lemon tart, chocolate tart, rum baba and peach sorbet I had were all pleasing. You obviously lose the finesse of presentation on the plate but it is a lovely change to have the whole selection in front of you to choose your favourite pieces and both tarts were super. Ducasse still has the monopoly on rum baba it would seem. In terms of petit fours I could not resist the yuzu white chocolate bonbon on a lovely biscuit, the mini cancanelé was perfect and the chocolate truffle delightful. All worthy of note.
This was a stylish and beautifully done lunch and a genuinely good experience. I was very pleased to be back at a flagship 3 Michelin starred Robuchon and it was thankfully at a high standard throughout.
Food Grade: 91%
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