Yesterday's Michelin-starred meal in Tokyo, living a Travelife, was at the two-star Pierre Gagnaire restaurant at the ANA InterContinental Hotel in Akasaka.
I'm a big fan of Pierre Gagnaire's style of cooking, which is simple, creative and inventive without being too nouvelle or unrecognizable. Although I love the Michelin three-star experience, of course, I also like going to two-star restaurant a lot as well; I find that many of them have their eye on a third star and so they really have their best foot forward all the time in terms of food and overall dining experience.
Scroll down to read more about a great lunch....
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It was also nice to finally eat at Pierre Gagnaire Tokyo, after having eaten in Pierre Gagnaire in Paris and also in Pierre Gagnaire in Hong Kong at the Mandarin Oriental. I still remember that Pierre Gagnaire himself had been in the kitchens in Paris when we'd gone for dinner, and we'd had the best Bresse chicken I'd ever tasted.
I'd been wanting to try this since it opened in Tokyo, but there was never a good opportunity.
Last August, I even stayed overnight at the ANA InterContinental Hotel for an event, and I'd thought of eating at Pierre Gagnaire while I was there. But unfortunately the restaurant was closed that day that I was staying at the hotel. So yesterday, you might say that my meal at Pierre Gagnaire Tokyo was really meant to be.
A SIGN OF THINGS TO COME
Pierre Gagnaire's Tokyo restaurant is accessed via a small foyer that provides you with a beautiful view of Tokyo on a nice day. This modest space is adorned with very simple flowers -- and in a way, it's quite a Japanese style.
Then you make a sharp left and are taken through a corridor also lined with tables, into the main dining area.
THE BEST TABLE
Today we probably had the best table in the restaurant, as it was private and it had a lovely view of Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Bay beyond. Seeing this view on such a nice day makes you feel that nothing at all is wrong with the world.
We were very warmly welcomed by Pierre Gagnaire Tokyo's new restaurant manager, Maxime Hotelier, who is so new to this restaurant that he still didn't even have business cards to give out.
That was okay, actually, as I'd switched bags this morning at the last minute before going to the restaurant, and I'd left all my business cards in my other bag as well.
But I figured I'd be returning sometime again anyway, so it was the first hello but certainly not the last goodbye.
THE NEW GUY IN TOWN
Maxime Hotelier is the kind of manager you want to meet in a Michelin-starred restaurant because he makes you feel good about having chosen his restaurant instead of a handful of others.
He comes to Pierre Gagnaire Tokyo with a pretty impressive pedigree, by the way, as he joined the Relais and Chateaux establishment run by the Rothschild family near Courchevel in France, right after graduating from catering school; and then afterwards he went to work for Michel Bras in Laguiole, France and in Hokkaido.
BACK TO LUNCH
Then it was back to talking about Pierre Gagnaire, as we were at his restaurant and about to eat a meal under his brand name, designed by the master chef himself and created by a very young and talented Japanese chef (34 years old!) who had lived and worked in France for ten years, and worked closely with Pierre Gagnaire.
The basically ten-course meal was superb. More on this later, after I walk off about ten thousand calories this afternoon, in Tokyo living a never-endingly eventful Travelife.
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