Saturday, November 2, 2013

The French Kitchen: Michelin-Starred Chef Federic Vardon's Autumn Special

Grand Hyatt Tokyo celebrates its Tenth Anniversary on 25 April, 2013, since opening its doors in the vibrant Roppongi Hills as an innovative hotel unparalleled service. During this milestone year, Grand Hyatt offers a wide variety of special menus and promotions for guests to enjoy. 

One of the highlight is the special collaboration with Michelin-starred Chef Frederic Vardon, chef of Le39V restaurant in Paris which was awarded a star in MICHELIN guide ® 2012, and also chef of ZINC OPERA, a Parisian bistro awarded by Bib Gourmand (good cuisine at reasonable price) in MICHELIN guide ® 2013. Chef Vardon is a rising star in France‟s gastronomic scene who has worked under the guidance of renowned 3-star Michelin Chef Alain Ducasse. 

At the press lunch, guests had the opportunity to feast into a 3 dishes that are part of the menu available for lunch and dinner from 1-10 November 2013. Having inherited his grandmother's gastronomic wisdom, Chef Vardon lives by the belief that food should be made with love and a desire to share. Indeed,  the dishes presented were testimonial to Chef Vardon's mastery of the ingredients, which were simple but yet of the finest quality.

The first dish came as a surprise. It did not look like a typical appetizer for the portion was huge. The generous mixture of diced carrots and sliced chicken that sat in aspic, or literally a cooled jelly made from meat stock, was light and flavorful. The toasted bread by the sides were deliberately served plain just to pair with it.  The bonus was the soft-boiled egg with a semi-cooked red yolk. 

Soft-boiled egg in aspic, chicken and toasted bread
半熟卵と信玄鶏のゼリー寄せ トーストともに
Aspic is not only found in French cuisine, but also in Europe and even Nepal. If you are more familiar with cold terrines (pressed meat), then you may have come across aspic in the form of long terrine blocks with mixed vegetables. Making aspic is challenging, because the ingredients are only held together by gelatin. In the movie Julie and Julia, the female protagonist Julia Powell tried to make an aspic but ended up with a disaster.  While casting the aspic in a ceramic container is perhaps one good way to reduce the chances of failure, I could scoop it using a spoon without any carrots or meat falling apart--a sign of remarkable technicality and execution.

Much to my delight, the second dish was seafood, John Dory with Swiss chard, tomatoes and black olives. Predominantly used as a key ingredient for Fish & Chips, the fish here did away with the dough batter and oil and was poached without much adornment. Precisely because of this healthy cooking method, the skin of the fish is not crispy-there is some chew in it and that is not a bad thing.  The bouillabaisse sauce, a rich, inviting brown, calls out to be mopped with the warm mini baguette.

Poached John-Dory, Bouillabaisse Sauce, Swiss Chard
 A French Course would not be complete without red wine. Specially sourced by Chef Vardon from Burgundy, this bottle of Pinot Noir: Clos du Colombier’ MONOPOLE a été sélectionnée exclusivement pour Le 39V is one out of the 300 bottles available in the world

Brioche French Toast Style, Salted Butter Ice Cream
The French Toast was the last thing I expect for a dessert as it is something that people whipped up at home, usually for breakfast or brunch. Yet, there is magic in it. I sliced through the toast with ease and took a whiff. The buttery scent was so enchanting, yet it does not leave any grease like traditional French toasts. As with my love for salted desserts, I could not be any happier with the salted butter ice cream. This dish convinced even the non-dessert lover at the tables and everyone dig in with gusto. The after-effect of this was stupendous and I am in no hesitation to declare that this is the best French Toast in my life. 
The Pastry Chef lady (right) behind the perfect dessert 
Other dishes on the menu include Baked Escargot Mushroom in Phyllo Pastry, Poele Foie Gras on Black Daikon, Norwegian Salmon Tartare with Basalmic Vinegar, all of  which definitely sounds as attractive to me as the above dishes (especially the word "escargots") While Michelin-starred cuisine might seemed attached with an air of posterity, Chef Vardon's food is the direct opposite-humble bistro-style food served without much ceremony in a warm, welcoming space.
Federic Vardon's Authentic Bistro Menu
Lunch 11.30am-2.30pm (Sat/Sun/PH ~3pm) 
Dinner 6pm~9.30pm
Availability: 1st-10th November 2013
Pre-fixed Lunch ¥5900/¥6900
Pre-fixed Dinner ¥5900/¥6900/ ¥8400  
The French Kitchen
Grand Hyatt 2F
Grand Hyatt Official Website:
Restaurant Le39V :

In conjunction with Grand Hyatt's 10th Anniversary, "SHARE THE LOVE" Photo Contest has been launched on FB.  Simply post their best photo that expresses "LOVE" and get the chance to win prizes including a luxurious stay in Presidential Suite! 

Hurry! Contest ends 24th Dec 2013.  To participate, visit:

Special Thanks to Grand Hyatt Tokyo for the invite
***Join me on facebook for latest updates***

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