Atago Green Hills
than a high-rise residential and office complex, Atago Green Hills houses
Tokyos latest culinary collective. Stuart Braun gets his fill.
The recent completion of the
Atago Green Hills (AGH) development-featuring two vast office and residential towers-in
Kamiyacho, east of Roppongi, represents, apart from a new urban vision for the city, a
significant change to Tokyos culinary landscape. Following in the wake of similar
developments such as ARK Hills in Akasaka-home to Andersen and Aux Bacchanales among
others-AGH is a one-stop treasure trove of Tokyos best eateries.
With no fewer than 15 restaurants and cafés, an organic fruit and veg market and the
obligatory Family Mart, AGH accommodates a multitude of tastes and budgets. While the
executive apartments comprising the 43-story AGH residential tower are aimed at the top
end of town, the melange of restaurants spread between the 1st and 42nd floor of the AGH
office tower caters to twentysomething OLs and Armani-clad bankers alike. Ultimately, AGH
remains a stylish venue throughout, with the marble interior and meticulously landscaped
surrounds lending an air of opulence to the cafés, ramen shops and fine dining eateries
dotted around the complex.
The competition for places in this upwardly mobile food emporium has been intense. The
SOHO hospitality group, with names like Seiryumon, Roys and Nobu on its roster, has
opened up two restaurants-Roys CafEand Le Dragon Bleu, the latter a Chinese fusion
eatery that recreates the scene of a French colonial mansion in 1930s Shanghai. Roys
New York-style cafEand restaurant, with well-established venues in Ebisu and Aoyama,
will continue to present Roy Yamaguchis distinctive blend of Euro-AsianE
cuisine that fuses flavors from China to Hawaii, Thailand to Italy. This addition to the
|Le Dragon Bleu"
sumptuous 1930' Shanghai
Courtesy of SOHO's
Yamaguchi empire is sure to be a hit with
the AGH crowd, as is Le Dragon Bleu, incorporating authentic Chinese cuisine with elements
of Thai, Vietnamese and Indonesian in lavish surroundings. This new venture is designed to
provide an upscale complement to the Taiwan-themed Seiryumon chain, a move evident in the
addition of a cigar bar-with humidor and well-stocked wine cellar-into the Le Dragon Bleu
Top of the
Mori Building, who developed AGH, tell us that the complex is a unique and modern
array of offices, residences and shops that benefits from the unique harmony of
beautifully forested Mt Atago and the time-honored temple of Seisho-ji. Roys
lines of Tokyo's latest Roy's cafe
Courtesy of SOHO's
benefit of looking straight out onto the
traditionally landscaped temple grounds, as does the adjoining fusion restaurant, Calm.
While Calm has a relaxed, breezy atmosphere, things are a little more austere at club XEX
on the 42nd floor. Comprising a bar and several restaurants, including Salvatore Cuomo
Bros. (Italian) and the aburaki (hibachi-type grill) and sushi restaurant An, the renowned
Roppongi members-only XEX has opened a second branch in AGH. An upmarket Japanese-style
restaurant, An will feature seasonal goodies prepared on the charcoal grill along with its
usual sophisticated décor-and fantastic view. Expect the set menu to include fried
appetizers, sashimi, grilled beef tongue, yakitori and organic vegetables with An's
special miso sauce, oden and dessert. In addition to the promise of Napoli-style pizza
cooking on the lava rock grill at Salvatore, the XEX lineup is rounded off by The Bar, a
swank, upscale lounge bar that should sit well with the local glitterati.
booths at Salvatore's
Courtesy of Salvatore
Among the more standard lunch fare, one
can enjoy traditional soba and ramen at Sojibo, or tonkatsu (deep-fried pork cutlets) at
Tonkatsu Wako, which features an earthy interior of stucco and roughly hewn beams and a
view out to Tokyo Tower. Also in the traditional wa vein is a branch of the Japanese curry
house Bistro Kirakutei, which, a step up from your average Yoshinoya, is filled with
off-beat curios-Run DMC album covers-and art works. Around the corner, sushi connoisseurs
need look no further than Kita no Shun.
Meanwhile, the weight-conscious OL crowd is well-catered-to by Salad Bag, an oasis of
fresh fruit and vegetables wrapped and offered as light and healthy take-away office
meal fare. The accent here is on clean and green-chemical-free food, 100 percent
vegetable oil, recycled paper and minimal packaging. Along with Mothers organic
market, Salad Bag is sure to go down well with the lithe, blow-waved, Louis
Vuitton-adorned girls who will well complement the AGH aesthetic.