We have enjoyed an amazing year of gourmet food in 2017. A few of the highlights were Cuca and Mozaik in Bali, TRB Hutong in Beijing, 8 Otto t Mezzo in Shanghai, SideArt in Auckland, and Pierre Gagnaire and DEN in Tokyo. For our final dinner of the year, Justin booked us a table at La Tourelle – a cozy French restaurant nestled in the atmospheric neighborhood of Kagurazaka.
The restaurant is helmed by chef Seiji Yamamoto, who strives to marry ingredients by bringing out the best in them and create harmonious flavor combinations. Our tasting menu started with a succession of amuse bouches which included cheese sand cookie accented with fennel seeds; refreshing and quite innovative lemongrass ice-cream powdered with matcha; chicken breast enhanced caramelized onion and caviar; and my absolute favorite foie gras terrine sandwiched in fig cookie and topped with a dash of fig marmalade. It was complimented with a smoky flavor which I couldn’t get enough of.
We then proceeded to the first course of the night: crab meat with crab roe and sea urchin. It was a powerful dish which packed umami flavor and was elevated by the hint of tarragon and flannel.
Next course was a stunning duck ravioli topped with shaved black truffle – which added heady aroma – and bedded on a perfectly cooked foie gras. The chef covered it all with duck consommé which added another dimension of richness and flavor to the dish.
Another knockout dish was a fish course that featured sea bass topped with caviar and foam of champagne sauce and cooked lemongrass at the bottom. The slightly tangy sauce added depth of flavor and elevated the perfectly flaky fish.
My final savory dish was a beautifully cooked venison which was complimented with beetroot puree, burdock covered with coffee powder and the venison sauce.
Justin decided to upgrade his meat option to wagyu steak and I must say it was definitely a worthy decision. I stole a bite (cause, duh?!) and the rich and buttery flavor of the luxurious beef lingered on the tongue long after the mouthful disappeared.
As full as I was, I was quite looking forward to seeing what magic the chef had created for dessert courses. We started off with a seemingly unassuming combination of caramel, applesauce and salt which turned out to be the most heavenly tear. Not too sweet, with a hint of bitterness, it was also quite refreshing and served as a palate cleanser of sorts. Honestly, I could have easily eaten three more cups.
Lastly, Justin and I were served two different desserts – mine was a tropical explosion of lychee, grapefruit, violet ice-cream, and berries all beautifully layered in a martini glass. Meanwhile, Justin devoured his white chocolate mousse with raspberries and pistachio ice-cream.
We washed it all down with a cup of espresso coffee before heading out to the countdown party at Park Hyatt Tokyo to ring in the New Year. It was every bit as fabulous as last year with free-flowing champagne, canapes and music. We danced till the wee hours of the night before heading back to our hotel.
The dinner at La Tourelle was a perfect ending to a wonderful year. Service was impeccable throughout the night (although English is a bit of a challenge for the staff), and the food was worthy of any Michelin-starred restaurant. Each bite we tried something interesting and memorable with balanced flavors and faultless execution. If you find yourself in this charming neighborhood, I highly recommend stopping by for lunch or dinner.
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