Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Shunbou by Grand Hyatt Tokyo 旬房

For most travelers, dining at hotel restaurants are usually limited to their hotel breakfast buffets. It can sometimes be a fast and furious affair if you have a full-day plan on where to go for sightseeing. However, there are actually excellent restaurants in most Tokyo hotels, offering delicious and authentic cuisine that need not necessarily be more expensive than fine-dining restaurants outside.
Photo Courtesy of Grand Hyatt Tokyo
One very good example is Shunbou, a stylish Japanese restaurant which serves traditional kaiseki cuisine or Kappo cuisine (traditional Japanese dishes meant to be ordered ala carte or shared) in a relaxed setting on cherry wood tables and "Aji-ishi" Japanese granite stone from Kagawa Prefecture.
As we all know, Kaiseki is defined by its elaborate courses, rarefied elegance and subtle flavours. For something less formal and more affordable, there is nothing better than the three-tier Kaiseki lunch box(5300 yen) named Shunsai 旬彩.  And as you continue to read on, you will realise that the sheer number and quality of the dishes far exceed the price, and thus considered highly value-for-money.
 
先付 : ほうれん草 菊花浸し
Just like a French course, the amuse bouche of boiled spinach and chrysanthemum in light dashi broth marks the start of an exquisite meal. 
上段 : 鮪焼霜造里 / 蟹小菊巻き 京湯葉べっこうあん / 秋刀魚けんちん焼/ むかご黄味揚げ
厚焼き玉子/ かまぼこ/ 菊蕪/ 川海老唐揚げ /あわふ田楽
The sequence of the meal is no less explicitly hinted since the cold dishes and appetisers are arranged in the upper box. Below the fresh tuna sashimi, there is the Chrysanthemum rolled crab that tasted like a juicy taupok (beancurd) with a white curd-like soy milk skin and crowned with a dan of freshly-grated wasabi root.
At the opposite corner of the box packs a whole of excitement with a bright orange deep-fried shrimp surrounded by a dazzling array of omelette, fish cake, dried tofu with miso and mini maple leaf-shaped fritters.
There seemed to be endless surprises in this box as the light yellow ball (below the orange maple leaf) turns out to be a sweet taro mash and could fit very well on a dessert plate instead. But the taro was not in the wrong box because it was a perfect balance to the Grilled pacific saury with salted entrails. 
中段 : 秋鮭照焼き /牛フィレ肉炭火焼き/ おろしポン酢
There was no such thing as half-time break even as we approached the middle tier. The Autumn salmon with teriyaki sauce was not overly done with a nice oily sheen on the surface. The pinkish beef tenderloin came in not one but three thick slices but they could do with a little more salt. The side cup of Ponzu with grated daikon radish was considerate touch to cleanse the palates off any unwanted greasiness for the rest of the meal. And it was helpful that the rice, pickles and miso soup did not come at the end, but together with the bento box, because these hearty dishes were great accompaniment to the rice.
御食事 :釜炊き五目御飯 味噌椀 香の物

秋鮭照焼き Autumn Sake in Teriyaki Sauce

下段 : 野菜焚合わせ / 京蕪 茄子 南瓜 飛龍頭/  銀杏湯葉まぶし揚げ
The succession of dishes continues with the final box of simmered seasonal vegetables that were a mixture of late-summer ingredients such as eggplant and pumpkin. It might look simple and plain, but each that was immersed in a rich brown sauce, had its distinct character . 
An intriguing component that stood out was this golden ball flecked in some crispy white flakes. The texture was gooey like toasted marshmallow but yet not sweet at all. Guess what? It is 銀杏湯葉まぶし揚げ or pureed ginko nuts with soy milk skin. Gorgeous.
The dessert-- an autumnal persimmon with pomegrate seeds--brings the lunch to a close. If you can't get enough of autumnal taste, try the seasonal kuri gelato (600yen) Mixed with bits of chestnuts, this gelato is superbly smooth and creamy that you know it's worth the price tag.
Matcha Wagashi Set and Kuri Gelato
For those who wish to linger on for an after-meal chat, the Matcha tea with Wagashi is available on its ala carte dessert menu. This time, it's the nostalgic taiyaki that is filled with sweetened red beans. Each month, the menu rotates to feature the best ingredients of a certain region. With the end of Hida Beef and mountain vegetables from Hida Takayama last month, it will be showcasing black pork, juicy Satsuma chicken and Asahi crabs from Kagoshima this October. 
 
Nothing is too intimidating here and the popularity of this restaurant is a testimony to the quality of cooking. Though the lunch bento may seem like an abbreviated menu, there is at least a dozen intricate preparations, more than enough to pique you senses and to reflect on the time of the year.
 
Shunbou 旬房
Grand Hyatt Tokyo Level 6
(Direct connection to Roppongi Hills)
6-10-3 Roppongi, Minato-Ku
Tokyo,  Japan106-0032
Nearest Station: Roppongi Station (Hibiya Line/Oedo Line), 
 
Daily Lunch 11:30am - 2:30pm
Weekends & National Holidays until 3pm
Dinner 6pm - 9:30pm
Tel: 03-4333-8786
 
Weekday lunch starts from 1800yen, Kappou Dinner from 13,000yen, Ryotei Dinner from 16,000yen
 
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Special Thanks to Grand Hyatt Tokyo

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