To tell you the truth, my expectations for dinner at Peter, the fine dining restaurant of The Peninsula Tokyo, were high, but not high enough to be swept off my feet. This swanky restaurant at the top of a luxury hotel with arguably the best location in Tokyo is named after a real person. Peter was a valued top executive of The Peninsula Hotels group. It is a lovely idea and such a nice way to pay tribute to a loyal and hardworking man. Nevertheless, there is nothing in this name to hint at a particular cuisine or food type. Or to inspire gastronomic dreams.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
However, although the name may have conjured nothing more than a neutral feeling at the outset for me, the interiors certainly impressed at first glance. Few restaurants have the luxury of enough space to create a 21st century high-tech fairy-tale atmosphere. But this is exactly what Peter is like.
Alighting from an elevatory that takes you straight to the top from the lobby, you enter a large room with mood lighting and tinges of blue and purple. The first thing you see are life-sized silver trees at the bar. It’s a bit like being in a disco in winter all year round — and it’s so pretty to see. So bar clients sit under this canopy of silver glitter with a view of the busy Harumi Avenue below.
ABOUT PETER OF THE PENINSULA TOKYO
Meanwhile, the restaurant proper is basically a sophisticated venue with tables arranged by the floor to ceiling windows to maximize the views. There are several more tables around a walkway that resembles a fashion runway. It’s perfect for events and parties. And on regular days, it makes for an interesting feeling to get to your window-side table via this catwalk that is visible to most other diners.
This is the kind of restaurant you dress up for, if you so want to. It’s the right place to use that designer dress just hanging in the closet for ages. And I can tell you that walking across that catwalk in fashionable attire is definitely a good way to start a special evening.
WHERE TO HAVE LOBSTER BISQUE IN TOKYO
Lovely as the design was, the revelation that night was the food. The starters were wonderful, and the lobster bisque was particularly memorable. However, the best part of the evening was the delicious steaks. These were among the best I’ve had in Tokyo in recent memory.
The cuts of meat on offer were unparalleled, even by Tokyo’s high standards, both for quality and unique provenance. These were not at all the usual good wagyu beef. In fact, they were mainly cuts not found on a typical steak menu.
A RIB EYE FROM OKINAWA
For example, there was a rib-eye from Okinawa on the menu. Okinawa? Who would have thought Okinawa would ever be associated with amazing steaks? Of course I had to have this. I was not disappointed either. I’d never heard anyone praise Okinawa beef in any way. And yet that evening, I had steak from Okinawa that was so delicious that I stopped talking to my companions.
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“This is definitely a restaurant for a special celebration,” we all said to each other. Peter is not cheap, by the way. But neither is it crazy expensive by Japan fine dining rates. And the steaks are so good that we all felt we’d enjoyed a meal of excellent value. Hearts and stomachs were definitely full, and we will certainly be back.
More importantly, this was probably the best steak I’d had in a very long time. And in a city like Tokyo, that’s a big statement and a tough act to beat.
See more about the best hotels and ryokan in Japan in Travelife Magazine.
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