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Friday, April 9, 2010

HOTELS & RESTAURANTS

Taste the many flavors of wasabi

Until the end of May, the Japanese restaurant Shunbou in the Grand Hyatt Tokyo will feature wasabi, a ubiquitous condiment in Japanese cuisine.

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Native to Japan, wasabi has been used for centuries, its refreshing scent and pungent flavor essential for such Japanese foods as sashimi, soba noodles and sushi. Recently, wasabi has experienced a surge in popularity in the U.S. and Europe as it is being used more and more by chefs around the world.

During the Wasabi Fair, dishes using wasabi from the Okutama region of Tokyo include homemade wasabi tofu (¥1,000) and steamed wasabi rice (¥4,500). Dishes that go well with wasabi, such as marbled tuna (¥6,300) or charcoal grilled Hida beef with seasonal vegetables (¥13,000), will also be prepared. Depending on the availability of wasabi, dishes may sell out.

Shunbou is open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (weekends and national holidays until 3 p.m.), and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The Grand Hyatt Tokyo is located in Roppongi Hills, a three-minute walk from Roppongi Station. For details, call (03) 4333-8786.

Spring for a dance and kaiseki

Until April 30, the Japanese restaurant Soujuan in the Keio Plaza Hotel in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo has prepared a special kaiseki course, Japan's traditional, artistic full-course meal, to celebrate the arrival of spring.

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Created with the idea of the "pleasure of spring" in mind, the special courses, ¥8,000 for lunch and ¥13,000 for dinner, features seasonal ingredients and beautiful, colorful presentation.

In addition, on April 17 a special event with a Japanese traditional dance performance will be held from 7 p.m., with a different special kaiseki dinner prepared for that day. Dancers in kimono from the dance group Waraku will perform Japanese traditional dances alongside shamisen musicians. The performance is arranged to be accessible to beginners. The spring-related dance will be accompanied by a talk on how to enjoy traditional dance and how to wear kimono, among other topics. The event costs ¥20,000 per person, inclusive of performance, meal, tax and service charges. Drinks are served for an additional ¥4,000.

Soujuan also offers a regular plan that combines kaiseki and a traditional Japanese dance performance. The plan, available for ¥36,000 per person for a group of more than four people, includes 10 minutes of a dance performance, a photo session and conversation with dancers for around one hour, meal, room charge, tax and service charge.

Soujuan's is open from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (last order 2:30 p.m.), and dinner is from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. (last order 9 p.m.).

The Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo is near Exit B1 of Tochomae Station on the Oedo Subway Line and a five-minute walk from the West Exit of Shinjuku Station. For more information, call (03) 3344-0111.

Magnum Champagne by the glass

The Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo, is celebrating its fifth anniversary with a campaign running through December, featuring magnums of Champagne.

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The magnum holds 1.5 liters, twice as much as a standard bottle. As magnums are relatively pricier and rarer, there is not much chance in Tokyo to savor such Champagne by the glass.

The hotel's Magnum Champagne by the Glass fair gives patrons of the 37th-floor Mandarin Bar will feature six kinds of Champagne.

In April, Veuve Clicquot Vintage 1995 can be enjoyed by the glass at ¥3,000, excluding a 10 percent service charge.

Prices have not yet been decided for other offerings: from May through June, Ruinart Blanc de Blanc; July through August, Veuve Clicquot Rose; September through October, Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage 2003; in November, Dom Perignon; and in December, Krug Grande Cuvee.

Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo, is adjacent to Mitsukoshimae and Shin-Nihonbashi stations, and a seven-minute walk from Nihonbashi and Kanda stations. For more information, call (0120) 806-823.



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