I have to admit, i expected a lot. I expected atmosphere that i hadn't experienced before in restaurants I'd dined, the decor needed to be interesting, seamless and bold. I expected faultless service and impeccable manners, and i expected a discerning drinks menu and a small, but highly refined menu. But, what i expected most of all, was a massive hit to my wallet at the end of it all.
Upon entering Joël Robuchon in Roppongi, Tokyo we were taken back by the dark, moody, black and red interior - it felt high end, but not stuffy. An expression of sophisticated quirkiness fills the space, with giant jars of red chilli and capsicum, hanging fruit bowls and an open plan layout spread around the kitchen.
We were seated at the bar looking into the open kitchen (i had asked in the booking for a bar seat and i highly recommend it). We were offered the drinks menu which was excellent, and a very generous basket of freshly baked breads in a variety of types from the Joël Robuchon kitchen - and as we finished the brioche, sour doughs, rye and sweet breads the basket was swiftly filled with more.
We were presented with three different menu structures to choose from - A la Carte, Make your own, and Degustation. We chose one of the 4 different 'Make you own menus', which gave us an appetiser, entree, main and dessert for ¥9,000 - that's like 100 bux per person...and yes, we are talking about a 2 Michelin Star restaurant in the middle of Tokyo.
The wine menu was expansive and filled with high quality wines. We chose a Mouton Cadet from Bordeaux and Baron Philippe de Rothschild Escudo Rojo from Chile, to match our red meat mains.
Before i launch into what we ate, i just have to describe the service. It bet all my expectations of impeccability. Not only was our dedicated, Japanese waiter so friendly, he could speak fluent French, English and Japanese. He served us over the bar, so there were no waiters running around the back of us or any of the other patrons. When we were served our meals, two waiters would come, and they would pause, and then place our meals at the exact same time in front of us, before one of them explained each element on the plate in our choice of language. Their timing, explanations and manners were immaculate and quite amazing to watch.
Amuse was first.
Melt in your mouth finely shredded pork on croquettes to get the month salivating.
It did the job.
Three giant Japanese scallops seared in a lemon butter. Juicy, zingy and absolutely delicious. My favourite course.
A very impressively presented salmon tartare with trout roe. The smoking dry ice, that continued throughout eating the dish, was a dramatic touch. The flavour was fresh, with a punch of mustard coming through - something we have found the Japanese use a lot in their cooking.
Duck liver ravioli served in a warm chicken broth with herbs and spicy cream. The dish was nice, but nothing special. That was until we bit into the duck liver ravioli sitting at the bottom of our bowls. What a bold and pungent flavour, wrapped in wafer thin, firm pasta.
Roast lamb finished with paprika and a snow pea salad. The lamb melted with every bite; it tasted smokey, which the paprika complemented so well. The snow peas were picked very young, so were silky and delicate as opposed to the usual crunch you'd imagine.
Caramelised wagyu beef served with mashed potato and winter vegetables. It was the best wagyu we had both tasted. Cooked to perfection and perfectly caramelised. The flavour was so dam satisfying.
Highly recommended dish.
Fig sponge, green tea mousse, fresh figs and raspberry sherbet gelato. Yum. Do I need to say more? It was tart, colourful and satisfyingly unsweet.
Chocolate ganache, chocolate gelato and chocolate plate. If you can't tell from it's description, this dessert was intense. Miles described the experience akin to that of Augustus Gloop submerged in Wonka's river of chocolate.
Delightful but sickly.
We finished up with a happy birthday mango and berry gelato, a song from 5 of the waiters and lots of clapping. They sent us on our way with petit four in a takeaway bag and 2 copies of a photograph of Miles and I with the gelato.