When popular restaurant Roti closed its Harumi Triton Square branch in March, there were a lot of sad diners. Fortunately, a new and exciting restaurant and wine bar has opened to take its place… or perhaps we should say “dramatic,” since that is how Garden Bay describes itself. Garden Bay offers modern Italian cuisine in a casual style at reasonable prices. The dinner menu is quite extensive. For starters, you can pick from carpaccio, tomato and basil salad, pancetta, terrine, or bacon and egg salad, for ¥680 to ¥1,380. For entrees, Garden Bay offers lots of grilled meats, seafood, pasta, rice dishes and some vegetarian fare. No entree item costs more than ¥2,400, and there is an ample selection of red and white wines from Italy, Spain, France, Argentina and Australia to go with your dinner.
The restaurant is also popular with the lunchtime crowd.
Sets, which change daily, include pasta, a rice dish and a one-plate combination of salad, rice and meat. Of course, no meal is complete without dessert, and Garden Bay offers the likes of tiramisu, gateau chocolate cake and fruit tart. The restaurant is available for parties as well, starting at ¥2,400 per person for a two-hour period. Having just opened, Garden Bay doesn’t yet have an English menu, but the staff are friendly and floor manager Kanako Uehara is more than happy to help with any inquiries.
Harumi Triton Square 1F, Harumi 1-8-16, Chuo-ku 104-0053. Tel: 03-5547-0561. Open daily 11:30am-11pm. Nearest stn: Kachidoki. www.gardenbay.jp CB
Let the ladies tempt you with
kushiage in Kamiyacho
|Photos courtesy of Kushi
We love to eat, but we hate to order. Ordering is
essentially gamblinga bet that your choice is the bestand
in expensive cities like Tokyo, the stakes are high. At Kushi,
however, you have the chance to absolve yourself of that burden
by letting the chefs choose for you.
There are only 14 seats at Kushi (excluding the private dining
room, which holds eight), intimately positioned around the
open kitchen, where the all-female band of chefs meticulously
prepares and cooks kushiage, or deep fried meat, fish and
vegetables on sticks. Exactly what is on offer depends on
what is fresh and seasonal, the chef assured us, chatting
and battering simultaneously.
Our elegant place settings included three dipping sauces,
fresh lemons and a hillock of saltto be precise, a blend
of two types of salt (finely ground and somewhat rocky) with
seasoning and skimmed milk to blunt the salts sharp
taste. There was also a bowl of crisp, raw vegetables to gnaw
Of the six other parties at the counterwell-heeled couples,
businessmen with expense accounts, and glamorous PR executivesfour,
like us, had chosen the omakase option, whereby the chefs,
after checking if there is anything you cant or dont
eat, present surprise after surprise until you say stop.
It was an adventure. The simplekuruma shrimp; soramame
beanswas intermingled with the exoticmashed potato
and caviar; cream cheese, eringi mushrooms and prosciutto.
Among the seafood, the succulent clams and scallops (still
almost raw in the middle) and the amadai snapper (scales exposed
on one side) were divine, the flavors trapped inside by the
batter, to be released by the first bite. We ordered second
helpings of the exquisite beef, selected from Saga Prefecture
for the juices it gives up in the frying pot.
Before we knew it, there were 17 wooden sticks filling each
of our used-skewer urns, and we had drunk three types of sake,
including Suige from Kochi (¥1,800)exquisite but
shamefully overpricedafter our opening draft beers (¥650).
In retrospect, weak-willed gluttons like us should have limited
ourselves with one of the two courses (¥6,300 and ¥7,500),
both of which include 12 varieties of kushiage, plus various
items such as cold green tea soba, rice with eight types of
seasoning, tsukemono pickles, and so on. But it was too late
for that. On being presented with the bill, we quickly calculated
an average price of just under ¥500 per skewer. On our
next visit well use that figure to keep a running tally,
something that is important to do because, as we realized
at Kushi, no matter who deals, its all a gamble.
Shibakoen 3-5-4, Minato-ku. Tel:
03-5472-1058. Open 6-11pm (L.O. 10pm). Nearest stn: Kamiyacho.
Menu in Japanese. Reservations recommended. Smoking not permitted
(except in private room). www.garb94.com
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