Telling the “True Story of Japan” through the East Kitchen at Four Seasons Hotel Otemachi
If you are looking to treat yourself to a superb dinner, then the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo Otemachi, also known as the ‘hub of bishoku (epicurean food) ”, is the place to go.
From the minute I walked into the hotel’s contemporary French restaurant, I was sure it would be a fine dining experience in every way. As you pass the extended corridor, your senses awaken as if you were on a virtual trip to France. The first thing you notice is the eight-meter-high ceiling, a symbol of luxury. The elegant tone in golden champagne and natural beige is the epitome of elegance. Stripes of wood and marble floors provide a warm welcome.
I was sitting by the window on the sofa with plush cushions woven with gold kimono material. Japanese gold leaf is used here and there in art decoration, and in large quantities on the murals in their magnificent private living room. The staff are very friendly which just creates the right atmosphere.
The private dining room to the east Photo: Four Seasons Tokyo Otemachi Hotel
I asked what the name is meant for, and Shingo Kido, director of public relations and communications for Four Seasons, explained, “’e’ is for emotion, ‘s’ for season and ‘t’ for. terroir. ” Washoku prepared with the traditional epitome of French techniques can never go wrong, but when you are in the hands of two extraordinary chefs who have an absolute adoration for local Japanese ingredients, you can be ready to be blown away.
The men behind my culinary journey are Executive Chef Guillame Bracaval and Pastry Chef Michele Abbatemarco. Bravacal was previously at Cuisine[s] Michel Troisgros in Shinjuku, three Michelin stars for 50 years in France. I visited Troisgros before they closed, and my meeting there is unforgettable. I still remember the taste of their crisp load of truffles. Since arriving in Japan, Bracaval has visited local producers across the country and said he enjoys every process of bringing the ingredients to market. Growing up on a farm, he knows how important it is that vegetables are at their best on the table.
Executive Chef Guillame Bracaval Photo: Four Seasons Tokyo Otemachi Hotel
“Apart from truffles and some meats, most of the ingredients we use are local products,” explains Bracaval. He refers to his magic of merging contemporary French with Japanese terroir as “telling the true story of Japan”.
Abbatemarco is an expert at using Japanese ingredients that you wouldn’t imagine using in a dessert. He has studied local ingredients for years to fully understand Japanese culture. He and Bracaval teamed up together in Troisgros and moved their play to another business district. You can see them both having fun together in the open kitchen.
A special menu features a list of Japanese mineral waters. Photo: Mai Shoji
The first menu given to me was an artistic gold nod drawn on a rectangular navy blue cardboard cover that is a list of Japanese mineral waters. Water is extremely important in making sake, so I had to learn about mineral springs to get a license as a sake sommelier, but wine sommeliers study Japanese water in addition to the knowledge necessary for oenophiles. From a selection of eight gracious water bottles, Head Sommelier Takeshi Shimura recommended that I try the Oka Aizu from the snows of Mount Kaneyama in Fukushima Prefecture. It has a very delicate amount of natural bubbles.
Then we were presented with some fancy items for our selected course titled “Season” which includes one starter, two starters, one cheese, two desserts, one coffee or tea and sweets (20,000). The other paper is a print of the chef’s welcoming remarks on one side. I enjoyed reading the chef’s thoughts on his cooking. The other side was titled “Our Partners”, which carefully indicates all the places where the ingredients come from on a map of Japan.
After serving our selection of water with a glass of Veuve Clicquot, dinner began with some artistic appetizers. Cheese and fennel wrapped in plaice from Noto in Ishikawa Prefecture, with fennel seed nuggets was terrific and that very first bite reassured me that I was about to embark on a culinary journey. Kohlrabi and Shallot is a mousse in a crispy cup. The sip of champagne after each bite makes a “ding!” Sound in my head.
Between shower and bitterness – Scampi, zucchini, tomato Photo: Mai Shoji
One of my favorites was the “Between shower and bitterness – Scampi, zucchini, tomato”. The langoustines are cooked just right, a little raw to the core. Spinach and tomato sauce was excellent with spaghetti like zucchini and daikon radish. The garnish of shiso herbs emphasizes Japanese fusion.
It has been paired with Grace Koshu wine which almost tastes like pear and is truly refreshing. Koshu grapes are grown in the high altitude areas of Nagano Prefecture. Their wines are becoming popular around the world and have won gold prizes for five consecutive years at the world’s largest wine competition. For non-drinkers of alcohol, a good pairing is Sauvignon Blanc Grape Juice Alain Milliat, a star during the state of emergency where alcohol service was banned.
Est serves original bread shaped like a kinoko mushroom and sprinkled with * kinako, or toasted soy flour. Photo: Mai Shoji
I should mention the amazing original Eastern bread. It is fashioned in a kinoko mushroom and sprinkled with kinako, or toasted soy flour. The outside is very crunchy and the inside is soft and chewy. Substituting the ultimate pair of olive oil and salt for dipping or buttering, this is a tasty soy-based hummus. Moromi is sprinkled over the dough for a revolutionary tasting experience. Needless to say, this is a full-fledged dish – not listed, but a fitting addition to the course.
Okinawa Fishing and Vegetable Garden – Okinawa Fish, Vegetables Photo: Mai Shoji
The first course, “Okinawa Peach and Vegetable Garden – Okinawa Fish, Veg” became one of the top picks on my best fish creation list. The chewy texture of the red grouper is unforgettable with the lush veggies on the side. Some are familiar recreations of chef Bracaval from his time Troigros that I couldn’t wait to try again. Sommelier Shimura perfectly accompanied it with a glass of Château de Tracy Pouilly Fumé Sauvignon Blanc 2018, which is an atypical vintage. The spicy base and the first fruity nose evolve according to each work of plant art.
Between vegetables and gluttony – Veal, coated with romaine lettuce Photo: Mai Shoji
The second course was “Between vegetal and greed – Veal, romaine lettuce”. Wrapping the meat with romaine lettuce was a surprise, but had a well balanced texture and flavor. The sauce is a mashed bonito that leans toward comfort food for many Japanese. This entry was associated with Yoichi’s Coco Farm & Winery Zweigelt in Hokkaido which had an excellent structure to my surprise. Alain Milliat Merlot red grape juice is a fantastic substitute for non-drinkers.
Yabukita tea with grated Japanese pear is an excellent cleanser for the palate. Photo: Mai Shoji
I was then served Yabukita tea with grated Japanese pear for okuchi-naoshi, or a cleanser for the palate. The refreshing drink not only cleared my palate, it was so delicious that I wanted more.
“Soybean Skin – Tofu ‘Cheese’, tomato” Photo: Mai Shoji
“Peau de Soja – Tofu ‘Cheese’, Tomato” was an invitation to explore something new. Mozzarella with sesame puree, black olives and fig jam in one bite – and it was phenomenal. The idea of replacing cheese with tofu is off the beaten track.
“Grains and roots – Jerusalem artichoke, coffee, black sugar” Photo: Mai Shoji
“Grains and roots – Jerusalem artichoke, coffee, black sugar” for the dessert inaugurated in the fall. Once again, Abbatemarco is quite simply a genius who synchronizes dates, paprika, raspberry, black pepper, cocoa beans and matcha. Who would have thought Jerusalem artichoke would become a supreme dessert?
The immaculate evening ended with a glass of Château Doisy Védrines Sauternes, the most full-bodied wines of Barsac, and “At the end… – Mignardise”. The pistachio macaroon and dessert wine both turned out not too sweet and forged an elegant finish.
Dining in a French restaurant in a luxury hotel can be a cliché for a date or a client you want to impress. But it should be a memory you treasure. Rest assured that it will give you one of the best culinary memories, especially since the staff are extremely friendly. This is a great way to take advantage of a window of downtime in the current situation.
Terrace seating will be nice when they reopen in the spring. Note that the menu changes every two months, so if you want to enjoy this fall treat, I suggest you book now.
Location: 39th Floor Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo in Otemachi
1-2-1 Otemachi. Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Direct connection to Otemachi station from exit C4
Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Current hours: Lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (LO 1:30 p.m.) Dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (LO 8:00 p.m.)
Regular dinner hours: 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. (LO 8:20 p.m. for the course and 9:30 p.m. for A La Carte)
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