Aman Tokyo

Otemachi Tower, 1-5-6 Chiyoda, Tokyo, 100-0004, Japan

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This restaurant is on the 33rd floor of the modern Aman hotel, which opened in December 2014, looking out from its lofty perch over the Imperial Palace. A massive picture window gives a spectacular view over the city, with distant Mount Fuji visible on a clear day. Large dining tables are generously spaced, with low lighting and a display of wine bottles at one end of the dining room. The kitchen is headed up by chef Ohata Eiji.

The menu is vast, concentrating on Italian food but with some Japanese and even Thai and Malaysian dishes available. To give an idea of the pricing, a salad Nicoise was €2,300 (£13), saffron risotto €5,500 (£30) and Japanese A3 quality rib eye beef €10,000 (£54). The extensive wine list had well chosen growers from around the world, with relatively exotic labels like the lovely Chateau Musar 2005 from the Lebanon, which I have rarely encountered in Japan (it was listed at ¥13,700 compared to a retail price of ¥5.419) and wines from as far afield as Slovenia and Greece. We drank JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese 2012 (¥17,700 for a bottle that retails in the UK for an equivalent of ¥5,032). Domaine Leroux Chassagne Montrachet Les Embazees 2011 was listed at ¥22,600 compared to a retail price of ¥10,323. At the end of the list the relative markups soften, with Leflaive Bienvenues-Batard Montrachet 2012 at ¥69,300 for a label with a current market price of ¥53,612.

Bread was made from scratch in the kitchen and served warm. There was a choice of fluffy but rather under-flavoured white roll, brown and baguette, the latter being the best of the trio (13/20) average). Salad Nicoise (¥2,300) was not a traditional version. There was good seared tuna, but in addition to boiled egg, olives, tomatoes and onion there were carrots, broccoli, what appeared to be tinned anchovies, sweet corn and, strangest of all, Brussels sprouts. I am a normally a fan of these but here they were woefully undercooked and tasteless. Given the superb vegetables available in Japanese markets, this salad was a disappointment (11/20). 

Zuwai (snow crab) cake came (¥1,900) with grebiche sauce (an emulsion of oil, egg yolks and mustard) and a green salad. The crab was certainly good quality, and the mustard in the sauce contributed a pleasant, mildly spicy kick, the salad properly dressed (13/20).

Fresh trofie pasta (¥2,700) came with porcini mixed in with other mushrooms including trompette. This was a little disappointing, the porcini dried and having moderate flavour, though the pasta was pleasant enough. I am a big fan of porcini, but these were not the greatest quality, and given that this is peak mushroom season in Japan it would have been nice to see something like the new season fresh matsutake rather than dried Italian mushrooms (12/20).

Risotto of langoustines (¥5,500) was made with two year aged Parmesan Reggiano. The rice and stock were made well enough, but the langoustines lacked much in the way of sweetness. This was a pleasant enough risotto, but I was hoping for better langoustines than this given the standard of shellfish that can be obtained locally (13/20).

Given the otherwise extensive menu, it was surprising to see a choice of just three desserts, plus fruits and sorbets. Figs and apple tarte tatin (¥1,900) was served with redcurrant sauce and Madagascar vanilla ice cream, the figs being grown in Aichi in central Japan. The figs had good flavour though the apples rather lacked acidity, but the vanilla came through well (13/20). The dish of the night was a prettily presented chocolate mousse (¥1,700) with raspberry sorbet and chocolate tuile. The mousse was superb, its richness nicely balanced by the acidity of the fruit sorbet, and the tuile was delicate (16/20).

Service was very good indeed, attentive but not intrusive. The team tonight was led by the suave Gerard Eady, the hotel food and beverage director. The bill came to ¥45,878 for two (£124 per person) including coffee and the wine, which is hardly cheap, though The Aman is obviously a luxury hotel with a view. Value aside, overall the meal was enjoyable enough though rather erratic, the highlight being the lovely chocolate mousse. Certainly the setting is spectacular with its panoramic view over the city, and the service was charming. 

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