Kicking Starting My Tokyo Days in Style at Beige

If you’re going to kick start the weekend on a Wednesday with a wine-soaked lunch, the two Michelin Stars restaurant Beige Alain Ducasse Tokyo on the tenth floor of the Chanel Ginza Building is a fine spot to do it. Because we’d had so much fun celebrating her birthday there in January, to welcome me back to Tokyo my friend and fellow-Canuck Vivian suggested we return. Who would say no?

Beige is consistently voted the favourite colour of Canadians, a fact interior designers often disparage as if it brands the nation as somewhat insipid. Not so. Who can argue with French chic as characterized by Coco’s scent of the same name?

This recently renovated and reopened room with its expansive city view showcases various nuances of the hue. Hard and soft surfaces accented in black and glass, create an atmosphere at once spacious and intimate, modern yet warm which oozes serene elegance at every turn.

After being warmly welcomed and seated we were given moist monogrammed towels infused with verbena. How civilized.

Luncheon Menu Card

Restaurant Director Lionel Lavernhe and his front of house team remembered our previous visit and pampered us through four marvelous courses, wine pairings and little extras especially prepared for us by Chef Kei Kojima. As this was not an assignment-driven working lunch, but for the individual menus presented to us before the service began I kept no notes on the food or wines. The photos will have to stand in for the thousands of superlative words.

Pour patienter (to be patient) Seaweed senbei cracker with avocado, tortilla with fish filling and Champagne.

Special appetizers not on the menu card arrived: Mushrooms for me as I cannot have the tomato in Vivian’s dish.

Then we were back to the main menu.

Carrots, turnips and kinome (Zanthoxylum piperitum or Japanese pepper) with tender abalone paired with Sauvignon blanc.

When the next course arrived I neglected to get a photo of the wood-fired sujiara fish marinated with shio koji, fennel and citrus served with Chardonnay. This is why I am not a food writer. The work is much too difficult. But you can see the remains of the Chardonnay in the following photo of the Kyushu beef–hard evidence that I’m not quite keeping up.

Beef from Kyushu, three way artichokes, cooking jus paired with Cabernet Sauvignon.

After these tender morsels Vivian and I agree that we wish to be reincarnated as Kyushu cows. Renowned for their great taste, these specialty breeds are raised in small herds, fed special diets which include beer, and given regular massages. Every effort is made to remove stress from their lives. Of course their lives don’t end well, but whose do?

The luncheon, however, ends brilliantly in a blaze of chocolate which includes Ducasse’s artisan chocolate manufactured in Tokyo under chocolate chef Julien Kientzler using cacao beans prepared in Paris.  Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse is available in two Tokyo locations: Nihonbashi and Roppongi.  In case that won’t keep us awake–coffee.

Friandises et gourmandises

Chocolate Camélia

Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse

Menu card and coffee

Finis

As with the fish course, one week in I’m not quite keeping up with the whirlwind start in Tokyo, a world in which I am not literate and nothing is simple as a result.

Remembering and/or figuring out how things work as well as the intense course work have consumed all my creative energy. As a result, any day that I think I’ve finally found my footing and a rhythm, inevitably something else–like complications created by typhoons and unseasonable weather patterns–have added to the glorious challenge.

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