Sunday, January 25, 2009
Tapas Molecular Bar
When I was trying to decide where to go for my birthday it was between RyuGin and Tapas Molecular Bar at the Mandarin Oriental. They both seemed so great, so different and so interesting- so we did both, not in the same night of course!
The Mandarin Oriental is a stunning hotel in the Nihonbashi area of Tokyo and the Tapas Molecular Bar is on the 38th floor offering amazing views of the city and a very interesting dinner option. Chef Jeff Ramsey serves just 7 diners a seating and 2 seatings per night. We were very excited and after talking with the chef for a few minutes we could tell he was glad that we were into molecular gastronomy and had been to some of his mentor's restaurants.
After a welcome cocktail he immediately dazzled us with foie gras cotton candy and deep fried shoestring beets (which as most of you know we don't ususally eat beets but these were good!).
And there was carmel corn (corn puree entrapped in carmel), a very tasty frozen manchego sorbet stuffed in an apple "cigar", pearls made out of seaweed served with beautiful shasimi and scallops with pumpkin sorbet. There were about 20 courses all together, small bites of fun and delicious food.
A couple of my favorites from the evening were the lamb chop that you had to eat in one bite as it was filled with jus, like a soup dumpling the jus exploded in your mouth when you bit into it! And also the miso soup which was suspended in tofu skin with powdered wakame on the side of it. As you put the whole "egg" in your mouth the flavors all melded together- oishi!
The desserts were just as fun- a "Blue Hawaiian" snowcone which shot smoke out your nose and mouth when you ate it, cheese cake that was niether cheese nor cake and then a fun tasting experiment with a super berry which turns normally bitter and acidic flavors sugary sweet in your mouth.
Chef Ramsey finished our very enjoyable evening by presenting me a birthday gift. An egg which he instructed me to drop on his counter. As I dropped it he smashed the egg open to reveal a tiny oragami crane, the inside of the crane read Happy Birthday!
We finished the night with drinks at Dazzle with friends of Murray's who live in Tokyo now. The drinks were good and well made, unfortunately that super berry was still making everything taste quite sweet! The bartenders here would hand carve balls of ice for your scotches and whiskeys, still a big thing in Japan. And I do think the bathroom had the best toilet in all of Japan, all the bells and whistles!