Ginza, with its long, spacious and sparkling-clean
boulevards, is the epicenter of cosmopolitan Tokyo style,
and Faro is very much at home there. Located on the 11th floor
of the famous Shiseido Building, which was constructed in
1999 on the site of the former Shiseido Parlour, the bar constitutes
just one element of the cosmetic giant's emporium that
features restaurants, galleries and beauty parlors.
The emphasis on the aesthetic is a priority here. As we stepped
into the softly lit, elegant, minimalist space, we were promptly
seated at a small table with large, comfortable chairs next
to a glass wall that provided a superb view of the Tokyo skyline.
Long white cotton curtains hung from floor to ceiling. A pale
sea-green feature wall dominated the only corner of the room
not bordered by glass, and above it a large video screen played
suitably indiscernible images to background classical music.
There were only two other well-dressed Japanese couples in
this 37-seat bar, both of whom looked like they had come from
the management offices of large nearby fashion houses.
We were handed a drinks menu, which, besides the notable omission
of wine, had all the cocktails one would expect in a world-class
bar. A simple gin and tonic was priced at ¥1,300, but
most others were around the ¥1,500 mark. Non-alcoholic
drinks like fruit juice, tea and coffee were also available
for ¥900. We asked for the food menu and received a
simple list of uninspiring dishes that were moderately priced,
including tortilla chips (¥500), vegetable sticks (¥500),
and "Oiled Sardine" (¥800). We opted for
the plate of three cheeses for ¥1,000.
Turning to the drinks, we ordered a gin martini
with an olive (¥1,500) and a Laphroaig 10-year single
malt with ice (¥1,500). They arrived shortly. The whisky
was sitting in an enormous glass of ice, and the martini came
in a tiny glass that was already showing signs of condensation.
A martini should be served cold and crisp, but this one was
somewhat tepid, the result of insufficiently chilled alcohol
and glass. Still, the drinks did arrive with a smattering
of nuts, muscatels and olives presented in a delightful silver
serving set, which sat nicely alongside the Christofle silverware
that accompanied our six slivers of cheese and tiny slices
of fruit bread.
You may have guessed it by now, but even though Faro looks
great, its product has a hard time matching its setting. Our
feelings were compounded when we received the bill and noticed
the ¥1,500 cover charge.
11F, 7-5-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku. Tel:
03-3572-3922. Open Mon-Sat 6-11pm, closed Sun. Nearest stn:
Shinbashi. Cover charge: ¥1,500.
Photos courtesy of Shiseido
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