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The Tavern - Grill & Lounge Brilliant creative food in a casual upscale atmosphere

An area that has undergone a remarkable transformation over the last few years is Toranomon 1-chome. This classic Tokyo business town has evolved into a modern, youthful promenade, thriving around Kanata Street. Towering over the district is yet another remarkable Mori Building Co. creation, Toranomon Hills. On the top 6 floors, nestled over a plethora of blue chip companies and the JOC, is the Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills hotel, which is the focus of our attention. In particular the newly conceptualized The Tavern - Grill & Lounge, which under the creative brilliance of Executive Chef, Shaun Keenan, and his dedicated team, has come into its own.

The Space

As we enter the hotel lobby on the 51st floor, we are struck by an elegant yet understated interior. Designed by Tony Chi & Associates, the chic stylings match the boutique vibe of the hotel. The staff, warm and welcoming lead us to The Tavern - Grill & Lounge. As we were being seated in a quiet corner next to the window I looked around and saw the new concept of the space through the makeup of the clientele- a young family, some friends enjoying a cozy meal, and business colleagues enjoying a work dinner. Its atmosphere is casual, yet the setting is upscale.

The view is simply breathtaking, with the cityscape looking like 100,000 candles.  It is quite the magical backdrop that kept us captivated while we pondered the menu.

Speaking of the menu, house classics like Warm Eringi Mushroom Salad, The Tavern Caesar, Smoked Salmon and the Signature Lobster Bisque, and more meaty options like the Foie Gras Terrine or Charcuterie of Iberico Ham, Jambon Blanc, Cured Pickled Corned Beef, Artisan Salami, Confit Onion and Grilled Sourdough Bread offer literally something for everyone.

Luckily, the Director of Food & Beverage at Andaz Tokyo, Alistair Minty was on hand to give us some recommendations and highlight the details of the specials. Listening to his advice we mixed some of the classic appetizers followed by the much talked about Snow Aged beef - more on that in a sec.

We started with a glass of champagne (NV Billecart-Salmon Sous Bois Brut) to toast in the night, not too dry and well balanced. Perfect. Right on cue, our first dish quickly arrived- the Nicoise Salad with seared akami tuna, green beans, confit potato, black olives, quail eggs, white anchovy with hazelnut dressing and a sesame tuile. The presentation was excellent, as were the complementary flavors, in particular, the vegetables I noticed were all bursting with flavor.

Next came the Signature Lobster Bisque with poached lobster and sauce rouille, our server poured the soup out for us which gave it a frothy freshness. It was accompanied with citron infused mayonnaise which can be enjoyed with the poached lobster. The bisque was heavenly, creamy but not overbearing.


We were now heading to the main event of the night and the snow aged beef. If you are new to this concept as I was, allow me to quote the Andaz Tokyo Director of Food & Beverage who was kindly on-hand to explain: ‘Traditionally, in certain parts of Japan such as the colder Northern climes, in this case- Niigata, Japanese would use the consistent cold temperature of their outer buildings known as ‘Yukimuro’ to keep their winter store of vegetables, fruit, grains and of course, meat. With a constant temperature of 1-2°C and a humidity of over 95%, this allows the food to be stored without stressing the compounds. Essentially, foods go into protective mode to prevent freezing; starch in vegetables turn into sugar resulting in increased natural sweetness, while proteins in the meat are broken down, resulting in increased amino acids producing a quality wet aged meat.”

For me, Hokkaido beef needs no introduction and it was amazingly represented and grilled to perfection. To simply call it ‘Snow Aged’ is too prosaic a term for the magic that has been worked on this prime piece of meat, the texture is softer, more tender than what you have ever experienced due to the process. It packs brilliant flavors, soft and juicy. The accompanying sauces consisting of red wine and shallot butter, Snow Aged soy sauce with garlic, horseradish, and mineral salt from Australia, provide the kind of taste safari that will keep the most stubborn critic engaged.

Highly recommended to accompany the beef, are the roasted mushrooms (eringi, shiitake, shimoji and maitake) roasted and served in a bag, which locks in the flavor and freshness, once opened at the table provides a symphony of aromas, and together with some Snow Aged mashed potatoes completed the dish. Wonderful.



When we got through with the main act we couldn’t help but follow up with the signature Bombe Alaska for dessert with some coffee.


Overall: 28/30

ON A BUDGET: Lunch set costs ¥4.200 excluding taxes and service charge (additional charge for the Snow Aged beef upgrade).

ON A BLOW-OUT: While lunch is a bargain, dinner puts a little more of a strain on the pocket, but well worth it, set menus with the Snow Aged beef from ¥16,200 ~ excluding taxes and service charge.

THE HIGH POINT: Come for the brand and the view, but stay for the food. The experience feels relaxed, yet still has a sense of occasion.

THE LOW POINT: There are no lows at The Tavern - Grill & Lounge.


Lunch: 11:30 - 15:30

Dinner: 18:00 - 22:30

Address: 1-23-4, Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan, 105-0001

Telephone: 03-6830-7739


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