Afternoon Interlude at Alain Ducasse Beige, Tokyo

Beige, the Alain Ducasse restaurant in the top floor of the Chanel building in Ginza is where I spent most of yesterday afternoon. I’ve never enjoyed a Michelin star restaurant before and prefer to supply a link the Beige website for professional photographs. Those showcase the room, menu options and philosophy behind the food better than anything I can do with a phone.

Vivian (a freelancer and blogger I connected with online many years ago who during my Tokyo stay has become a dear friend) suggested it and made the reservations. We are kindred spirits who both relish boozy lunches as well as high-end luxuries.

Elegant service and surroundings make some people uncomfortable and anxious as to how they should behave; whereas, when we sink into the plush upholstered seats of a sumptuous room we immediately relax.  We floated through the glorious hours eating, drinking, chatting and allowing ourselves to be pampered as if we were to the manor born.

Since it was also her birthday celebration, Beige made it special from the first bonjour. A Canadian from Montreal who has made Tokyo her home, Vivian happily chatted in rapid-fire French with front of house staff who treated us like royalty. We enjoyed an extra glass of champagne and numerous other little delicacies throughout the three-course meal we had chosen and topped off with a bottle of Chardonnay.

In addition, throughout January Beige serves a Galette des Rois in celebration of Epiphany (arrival of the Magi). According to tradition, the person who gets the fève (bean or ornament) gets to choose a king. Though Vivian who found the fève in her slice was assured she could have all three. Sans doute her charm has everything to do with that option.

After the galette and cheese, our dessert course arrived with Happy Birthday inscribed on the rim of Vivian’s plate along with an extra box of chocolates for her to enjoy at home.

Mine was the Baba au rhum ou à l’Armagnac. I chose the Armagnac—one of the finest ways to enjoy prunes–which was mine to add as freely as I liked; however, I chose to trust the waiter’s pour as the best balance of flavours.

And yes, if you’re wondering, together with the galette, we had two desserts. Every mouthful—of everything—was a little bit of bliss.

This level of posh pleasure wasn’t planned for on this trip, which meant I did not have a handbag quite up to a Chanel establishment. However, I was quite unwilling to invite a supercilious side-eye from a security guard at the door. So I did the “handbag hack.” I have pulled this trick before when I’ve dined somewhere stylish, but lacked a handbag on which I have dropped the equivalent of a mortgage payment or property taxes.

While checking out the January sales in Omotesando, last weekend I had acquired a chic shopping bag from a high-end boutique. So chic it was embossed, not printed and had woven cloth handles. I put my pedestrian purse (covered with the gauze wrapping they’d put around my purchases) into the paper bag, threw my leather gloves on top and waltzed in as if I did this every week. Great cheek. Great fun.



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