Thursday, 18 March 2010

Château Restaurant Joël Robuchon

In Ebisu Garden Place a couple of stops on the metro from Roppongi is an honest to goodness French chateau in the middle of Tokyo. Château Restaurant Joël Robuchon is just one of Joel Robuchon's 3 or 4 restaurants and cafes in Tokyo. The chateau though has 2 restaurants, a bar and a boulangerie. We went to the flagship 2nd floor restaurant because that is the one with 3 Michelin stars. We also went for lunch because it was cheaper than dinner.
We're shown to the Rouge Bar first before being shown to our table in the opulent and formal looking dining room. The service though is relaxed and not stuffy. According to the maitre'd, a South African ex-pat, the lack of formality is part of Joel's philosphy on service. Out with the old stuffed shirt stick up the bum waiting style that just makes the customer uncomfortable and in with the low key friendly more relaxed style of service that enhances the experience.
The food was le yum. Lovely French style dishes fused with Japanese ingredients and flavours. One of the highlights was the exquisite steak from Kyushu - one the southernmost main islands of Japan. It was every bit as good as the Hida beef we'd had in the Gifu prefecture.
One of the million or so waiters mentioned he'd worked in Australia at Mildura for a time. He was enjoying trying out Australian phrases on us like "gas bagging" and "ta mate".
If, like for us, Paris is that little bit too far away for a French restaurant your cravings for French cuisine can be more than adequately catered for in Tokyo. Joel is by no means the only French restaurateur to have set up digs in Japan. Joel Robuchon though chaired the committee for the latest edition of "Larousse Gastronomique" which is the encyclopaedia of French cuisine - the bible of French cooking. So you'd have pretty good odds on getting a decent feed at any of his restaurants I reckon.
This restaurant was superb.

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