September 28, 2014

Sophisticated French cuisine of Michelin one star in Hiroo

"Hiramatsu (ひらまつ)" is one of the representing French restaurant in Japan. Mr. Hiramatsu, owner and chef who has won Michelin one star both in Paris and Tokyo runs various restaurants all over Japan. Hiramatsu is also succeeded as a listed company for the first time as an individual French restaurant. Their head restaurant is located in Hiroo (広尾), high-class residential area.
Dining room
Amuse (salty cream puff and cookie) 
Cream pumpkin mousse
Terrine of foie gras
Foie gras wrapped by cabbage (specialty)
Roasted canard
Birthday cake!
Peach compote with peach sorbet (specialty)
Petit four and herb tea 
The restaurant since 1988 is not new but well maintained. The ground floor is reception and cloak, the first floor is for private rooms and the second floor is main dining room. The main dining room is not so large, but many staff was there to provide elegant and sufficient service. Staff was professional and friendly so that guests could feel relaxed.  

Their cuisine was definitely delicious. Minimum and sophisticated. All flavorful essence was presented in the minimum appearance. Nouvelle cuisine doesn't make heavy stomach. From amuse to petit four, the balance was surely calculated. Most of all, conversation with friendly staff was fun and memorable. Such communication made the taste much better. 

The above photos are of set meal of JPY6,000 (excluding tax and 15% service charge) at lunch. Considering the wonderful time, it was reasonable. One thing to improve is narrow space between tables. My rating is 4.8 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Hiramatsu (ひらまつ)  

September 27, 2014

Wonderful hybrid hotel in Kinugawa

The other day, to celebrate my birthday, I went on an overnight trip to Kinugawa (鬼怒川), a hot spring resort in the city of Nikko (日光), Tochigi Prefecture (栃木県) (see the previous post). Kinugawa is one of the popular hot spring resorts nearby Tokyo which locates only two hours away by SPACIA, express train. Since some luxury ryokan (Japanese-style hotel) that I wanted to stay don't accept baby, I selected "Kinugawa Kanaya Hotel (鬼怒川金谷ホテル)", a branch of Nikko Kanaya Hotel (日光金谷ホテル, see the previous post) and it was a ten-strike!!
Sandwich and quiche of "PAUL" and champagne "REMY"
Kinugawa River

Kinugawa Kanaya Hotel
Lobby and main dining room (in the back)
Welcoming tea and dessert
Japanese room
Connecting Japanese room
Entrance to public hot spring
Outside relaxing space
Outside hot spring
Nikko iroha beer
Steamed pine mushroom
Set of local sake
Glass champagne
Steamed pine mushroom with Japanese rime
Sashimi platter on ice plate
Green tea ice cream
Grilled ayu (sweet fish)
Vinegared pear and salmon caviar
Beef stew (Kanaya's specialty)
 Shabu shabu of porgy with green tea soup (specialty)
Grilled Tochigi wagyu beef (specialty)
Rice bowl and clear soup of freshwater clam
Fresh peach sorbet
Birthday plate! (with chocolate cake and fresh fruit)
Night snack and Kanaya's chocolate
Nearby hotels
Breakfast (Japanese-style)
Breakfast (Western-style)
Monkey parent and child
Ryuo-kyo (fall)
Fresh beer and grilled ayu (sweet fish)
Soy-sauce based ramen
Shaved ice using Nikko mineral water
Kinugawa Kanaya Hotel is an ideel hybrid hotel which has both good aspects of Japanese-style ryokan and Western-style hotel. They offer not only basic service and facilities of hotel, but also ryokan service such as hot spring, Japanese room, in-room dining, free night snack, yukata (Japanese summer kimono), etc. Though we stayed at a Japanese room so that baby does not drop accidentally from the bed, but other rooms have both nice Japanese living room and beautiful bed room (please check the Kanaya's HP!). 

The quality of cuisine was high. They brought the same quality of dinner of the restaurant to our room. Service was also timely and friendly. We could fully enjoy the dinner with baby in a relaxed manner. Everything was delicious, but their specialty, beef stew, shabu shabu of porgy with green tea soup and Tochigi wagyu beef steak were superb! Breakfast was also impressive. Especially, western-style one is recommendable. Their fresh bread (particularly pan de mie) is thin, chewy and tasty! Their chocolate is also can't-miss. 

At hot spring resort, I usually don't want to do anything except taking a bath, eating and drinking, but seeing rich nature around Kinugawa was also fun and relaxing. Ryuo-kyo, canyon located nearby Kinugawa was beautiful. Clear air and calm atmosphere. Shaved ice which we had there using Nikko mineral water was incredible. Don't miss it!

My rating for Kinugawa Kanaya Hotel is 5 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Kinugawa Kanaya Hotel (鬼怒川金谷ホテル)