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Friday, March 19, 2010


Happy returns for two French chefs in Tokyo

We're always sad when a top restaurant shuts down, but we were especially disappointed when we heard that the Michelin two-star Pierre Gagnaire a Tokyo had closed its bijou doors last year. As one of the world's most brilliant chefs, Gagnaire's exquisite cuisine would seem a perfect match for Tokyo's sophisticated sensibilities.

News photo

It turns out that his retreat from these shores was only a temporary retrenchment. He is back with an entirely new operation, which opens today (March 19) at the top of the ANA InterContinental Hotel.

Gagnaire is a global brand stretching from Paris to Las Vegas and Dubai, and Tokyo is just one of eight cities where we can now find his illustrious name. But that does not diminish our anticipation in the slightest. We can't wait to welcome him back.

Pierre Gagnaire Tokyo, ANA InterContinental Hotel 36F, 1-12-33 Akasaka, Minato-ku; (03) 3505-9505; www.anaintercontinental-tokyo.jp/pierregagnaire/eng Open 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. (last order); closed Mon.

Change has been afoot at another of our favorite French restaurants. Le Pre Verre, the excellent modern bistro at the top of the Gyre Building on Omotesando, has reopened after undergoing a considerable facelift.

Having shed its wine-bar counter and generous walk-in cellar, it feels a lot more compact. Instead of wide windows looking down onto Cat Street, it has cozy paneling and tables clustered closer to the kitchen. This gives greater focus on the exciting contemporary cuisine of chef Philippe Delacourcelle, who was in town from Paris to oversee the relaunch.

Don't be deceived by the swish location above the opulent Bvlgari showroom. Le Pre Verre is unpretentious and friendly, and the cooking is excellent. Plus, as we extolled in the Food File when it first opened two years ago, it's also great value for money.

Le Pre Verre, Gyre Building 4F, 5-10-1 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku; (03) 3486-1603; www.lepreverre.com/en/tokyoen.html Open daily 11 a.m.-11:30 p.m. (last order 10:30 p.m.); lunch served till 2:30 p.m.

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