5 September 2012
Four months after Palace Hotel Tokyo opened its doors as one of Japan’s most exciting debuts in years, its collection of restaurants and bars is gathering notoriety as one of the city’s most sought-after destinations for foodies.
“Most hotels endeavour to have at least one widely talked about signature restaurant,” said Executive Director & General Manager, Masaru Watanabe. “What we’ve established at Palace Hotel Tokyo is a constellation of restaurants, each a new beacon for diners intent on experiencing some of the most sophisticated cuisine of its class in Japan.”
The hotel has made no secret of its lofty Michelin ambitions for this culinary collection, collaborating with renowned chefs to man the helm at its destination restaurants.
Under the umbrella of the hotel’s signature Japanese restaurant Wadakura, the sushi operation is managed by Shinji Kanesaka, who also owns the landmark, two-star Sushi Kanesaka. The Chinese restaurant Amber Palace is operated by the Chugoku Hanten Group, known for Tokyo’s two-star Fureika. And Patrick Henriroux, who has laid claim to two-star status for the past decade for La Pyramide in Vienne, France, is collaborating with the hotel on Crown, the hotel’s fine dining French restaurant.
Named for the eponymous moat outside its windows, Wadakura is a multi-faceted jewel of Japanese cuisine. There is tempura at Tatsumi, a six-seat bar plating up some of the freshest seafood sourced from the famous Tsukiji Fish Market. At GO, the finest Japanese beef is served up on its teppanyaki grills while the main dining room presents other Japanese favourites such as sukiyaki and shabu-shabu alongside seasonal kaiseki-style chef’s tasting menus. At Sushi Kanesaka, Kanesaka is sharpening the reputation of a venue to rival his own Michelin two-star eatery in Ginza.
At Amber Palace, the ambiance is Old World China, from the antique wood panelling to the traditional musical instruments displayed and the rich, amber colour scheme throughout. With Chugoku Hanten Group’s latest fine dining outpost, a team of chefs seasoned in Shanghainese and Cantonese cuisines take the lead at the newest addition to Marunouchi’s stellar array of eateries.
At Crown, Patrick Henriroux’s association with the hotel predates its ground-up reconstruction. Since 2003, he has cultivated Crown’s French bonafides, an appeal that will continually be refreshed with periodic exchange visits between the culinary team in Vienne and their counterparts in Tokyo.
Beyond the allure of these three beacons, Palace Hotel Tokyo has lit the lamps on a number of other wine and dine opportunities.
Anchoring the airy main lobby is Grand Kitchen, where the main dining area mirrors the atmosphere of the main hub of a great residence – complete with an open-style kitchen. On the sixth floor, Lounge Bar Privé offers a chic, intimate perch from which to take in views of the city skyline and the Imperial Palace gardens.
While Lounge Bar Privé’s decor echoes the natural appeal of the hotel’s natural setting, the lobby level Royal Bar is as classic as a martini – a dark-wood, deep-leather alcove for serious aficionados of the finest cigars and top-shelf liquors. Indeed, the bar itself is a meticulous restoration of the counter from the original Royal Bar first opened in 1961, where the hotel’s first chief bartender held court for years as ‘Mr. Martini’.
Beyond the brooding appeal of Royal Bar is The Palace Lounge, a lofty space that is, perhaps, the hotel’s most convivial setting, whether for cocktails or Japanese-style afternoon tea. A largerthan-life fireplace commands one side of the lounge while a grand white Steinway provides a grace note just opposite.
“Culinary visionaries long to satisfy the most discerning of palates,” said Watanabe. “With Palace Hotel Tokyo’s uncompromising commitment to quality and the magnetism we’re generating in this city, we’re attracting a wonderful base of patrons.”