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ANA Intercontinental Tokyo Bay @ Tokyo

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ANA Intercontinental Tokyo Bay offers a convenient spot from both Narita and Haneda Airport, and it was the primary reason for selecting it instead of its newer cousin - Strings Intercontinental. If you're going by train with luggages like we did, please just take the shuttle from Hamamasuchuo which comes so regularly instead of switching lines to the private railway and paying more than necessary since it is not covered by the JR Pass.

I was feeling most festive being greeted by all the decorations - sure feels like winter wonderland except snow was clearly missing in Tokyo.

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Our room, large by Tokyo's standards. The mattress was unfortunately too soft for comfort though the bedsheets were really comfortable and smooth!

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Another large by Tokyo standards is their toilet which has enough space for a stand up shower and bath tub even!

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Amenities thoughtfully placed in a wooden box.

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I look forward to smooth luscious skin after a shower.

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Welcome fruits and all I was interested in was that slice of melon.
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Which side are you on? The dark or milk?

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The view is unbeatable, especially in the mornings and before sundown.

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8 am in winter and the sun's so bright!



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The shuttle buses are regular and is one selling point of this Intercontinental property.

We enjoyed our stay and only wished I returned earlier for the bakery. Their cakes look so good!

ANA Intercontinental Tokyo Bay

Sushi Nakamura @ Tokyo, Japan

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Booking a Japanese sushi restaurant in Tokyo takes more than just luck, especially during peak season. Thank god for our concierge that entertained our numerous emails with our list of sushi restaurants until they finally scored a reservation for us at Sushi Nakamura.

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This joint resides in the neighbourhood of Roppongi, off the beaten track but not too difficult to navigate.

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Konbanwa Chef as we were warmly welcomed into the 12 seater restaurant. No exchanges were made since there was only one menu for the night, priced at JPY 18,000. We spotted a lady sous chef supporting the head chef and that has to be a first in all the sushi restaurants I have patronized.

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These reservation tags were placed the moment seats were vacated and not long after, they were filled. They took at least 3 seatings in a single night.

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Guan Yin water, how enlightened I was supposed to feel after drinking I do not know but this cost as much as two bottles of mineral water from the convenience store.


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Pickled cucumbers and ginger are refillable.

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Brined juicy poached oysters signalled the start of our omakase.

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Omakase with sake, makes the meal complete.

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Scallops drizzled in shoyu, I loved the crunch of these fresh scallops. Four is definitely not enough.

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Crabmeat with crab roe topping was really indulgent and not for those watching their cholesterol levels. That rich and creamy crab roe is good enough for me to exchange sea urchin for.


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Sea kelp just to tone things down a fair bit after the palette awakening crabmeat dish.

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What I enjoy most of counter seats is watching the chef put my food together and if there's interaction it is nice but not critical. Our meal was mostly quiet since the chefs busied themselves over the stove and ensuring our food was served on time and well paced.

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Grilled seabass with a really crispy skin, smoky fragrance and delicious moist and flaky texture.

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Ankimo or monk fish liver is my newfound best friend. This is the caviar of foie gras, very delicate  and creamy yet eaten with freshly grated wasabi brings on a whole new world of oishi.

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Shirako or cod sperm is melty, milky innards with charred chewy skins. Like torched mochi with lava fillings. This may be considered as the world's weirdest food to eat but I am on the side of loving this delicacy!

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Horse Mackerel sashimi was somewhat different from the usual tuna and salmon. The marbling was excellent and I ended up enjoying the fats in sheer silence.

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Hirame or flounder is hardly a favourite for sashimi because it ends up too chewy. The chef did a wonderful job of slicing them thin and stacking the slices, the flounder was alot less chewy this way.

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Ika was wweet, jellied and somewhat sticky but so fresh!

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Until Japan, I realised there are also different grades of Ikura. The more premium grades are so fresh, hardly fishy and pop so crisply. The stale versions are in comparison, more rubbery and harder to pop.


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Baby Snapper was so tender, I feel bad eating all the babies now, none of the chewy texture of the adult snapper.

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Botan Uni was an effortless breeze to eat. Just SO GOOD.

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Adult snapper was chewier but with snapper, the taste tends to be very mild.

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I cannot fathom how seafood can taste so sweet in Japan. Even without further seasoning beyond a brush of sweet sauce.

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Ootoro

This is akin to eating fat, all gone in seconds. The clever incisions done with such amazing knifework makes this a masterpiece

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Anago spoilt me through and through again. If all steamed fish tasted this way, I will not have any problems converting to a pescatarian.

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Seeing Chef skewer the tuna belly pre-empted of something exciting coming our way.

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Clam miso soup strikes a chord in winter. Heck, miso soup in Japan strikes a chord. It could  be the simmering or better quality ingredients or the fact that I am on a holiday that makes everything taste better.

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Toro torched slightly and that summed the omakase up so beautifully. Understated. satisfying and memorable. Chef Masanori Nakamura specializes in tuna and this was the best finale.

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I was not belly up stuffed which was a happy way to end the meal regardless. When Chef pulled out a chunk of tamago to slice, I was thrilled.

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With swift and quick strokes, he portioned out enough tamago for the second seating of diners.

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Spongy and light, this was like castella cake, only heaps better. I wonder what goes into  these tamagoes but these are the eggs to beat in the world of egg dishes.

The night passed too quickly and soon we were escorted to the door with vigorous bows. Thank you for the memories Sushi Nakamura.

Sushi Nakamura 
7-17-16 Roppongi, Minato 106-0032

Chateau Restaurant Joel Robuchon @ Ebisu, Tokyo

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I hesitated checking off Joel Robuchon during my Tokyo trip because there were a ton of other places I wanted to try and french is not the top of my list especially in Japan. If I can, every single meal would be Japanese food.

Yet, being on a personal mission to check off all his restaurants (we start with Asia first), I just had to and thankfully they had remaining seats for their Christmas Menu. No choice, just one menu.

Three of Chef Robuchon's restaurants in Tokyo have made their way into the Michelin starred list and the only one with the three star tag is Chateau Restaurant. Be sure to double check your reservation and even map because we ended up going to the wrong location!

Right in the neighbourhood of Yebisu, stands a French "Château" rebuilt stone by stone in homage to Moulinsart, which is Le Restaurant de Joël Robuchon.

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Our coats get deposited at the counter and I am greeted by this christmas tree.


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We get shown our seats in a room full of ladies in their Sunday's best and men in jackets.

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Even my table decor looks exceptionally festive.


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Their famous bread basket in its full glory. A trolley filled with their fresh bakes gets pushed over and a lengthy introduction to each of these goodies are made.




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Exclusive to Japan are these freshly made buns and unknown to us, these on display are not for consumption. Upon ordering, the kitchen prepares them from scratch and that results in a long wait for the bread.




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Ham and cheese and anchovy croissants, which one will you pick?




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No meal is complete without a swig of red.

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No unsalted butter at this outlet, only salted.

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These rice puff and corn loaves fit into my palm nicely.

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Both had a different texture, one fluffy and the other dense.

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More of the delightful bakes, I actually found their selection not as delicious as Macau's. It could be the combination of just baguettes, brioches and milk pans which was not as comprehensive as the reset.  Infact, the selection here is different. I enjoyed the brioche best, light and crispy.

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Sea Urchin served with a crustacean jelly and cauliflower cream

No stranger to this sea urchin appetizer, I was surprised on the first attempt and already looked forward to the second. This time it was served with more festive touches, glitter and shimmery bits.


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Still a treat with the melt in the mouth jelly, creamy sea urchin and cauliflower cream so skillfully masked. I definitely cannot tell what went into the dish if I were blindfolded.

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Chilled White Coco Bean Veloute served with Duck, Ham and Spicy Oil

Nutty chilled soup with well hidden bits of duck, ham and truffle shavings when stirred in. As with all the other vegetarian soups I have attempted, this is a stunning masterpiece.


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Panfried Scallop and Dublin Bay Prawn served with a Broccoli Couscous

Loved the presentation and freshness of the ingredients however I was not blown away by the flavour profile of it. Broccoli couscous sounded more delicious than it tasted, panfried scallops and prawn were ordinary.


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Kinmedai Fish and Abalone accompanied with a Winter Turnip Broth


Now we are talking Joel Robuchon with this course, Kinmedai excellently executed with the light searing on the skin and succulence retained in the meat. That winter turnip broth is synonymous with most winter dishes, somehow these comforting touches gave the fish course a winning touch. Strange or not but I am usually not a soup person, especially for main courses but this ranks tops.

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Roasted Bresse Pigeon accompanied with Cabbage, Crushed Potatoes and Truffle Condiment

I expected chestnuts with pigeon - like christmas pudding and egg nog on the christmas menu. The duck course I had previously was so outstanding, this pigeon was missing out on the crispy skin that I loved. Otherwise, still one of the better versions of roasted pigeon around.


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Grilled Beef served with Seasonal Vegetables and a natural gravy

And a French meal is incomplete without an order of steak.

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Medium rare so wonderfully done. My beef with some restaurants is not getting their steak doneness right and on many occasions they arrived overcooked than under.

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My very exquisite and luxurious looking palette cleanser, passionfruit, lime granita and gold flakes to bling things up.

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Chocolate floating island with a Pistachio Custard

The server could not help but chime this was made with a christmas bauble in mind. Very fancy indeed, with their famous chocolate sphere filled with mousse and a very delectable pistachio custard with sea salt icecream.

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I also had another version with just raspberry meringue, it was too light as if dessert never happened.

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The thing about being pampered over lunch is, the courses never seem to end and surprises are sprung along the way. Our alcohol infused strawberries to end things off on a naughty note. And winter officially becomes my favourite season of the year, just because of these juicy and sweet strawberries.

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I was looking out for their bedazzling petit four trolley since dessert left me with no choice. Zilch. So we had some madeleines, jellies and home made nougat.

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Pop rocks too. How passe these sugar rocks are though.

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I have been an ardent fan of Chef Robuchon and have my preferences on favourite JR restaurant to date, just not this outlet in Tokyo. Service is true to their French roots, austere and somewhat distant. Food from their festive menu takes a back seat in this outlet, few wow inducing moments and the opulent interior seemed to outshine everything else.

Chateau Restaurant Joel Robuchon
Yebisu Garden Place
1-13-1 Mita, Meguro-ku