Daikanyama brings to mind a delightful blend of haute couture, quaint cafes and eateries. Afterall, it was at Daikanyama where I found my pretty pink 300 yen bargain store! So, nestled in this relaxed neighbourhood is where you will be able to find Ristorante Aso as well.
On the eve of my departure, Cat made reservations for us to have lunch there. She was full of praises of the showmanship that the chef had to display when it came to serving of the food. I was filled with anticipation despite having a tad bit much to drink the night before. :p
Despite the grey and gloomy weather, we managed to make our way to Aso on foot from Ebisu train station. Upon arrival at Aso, I was surprised to find that I had been in the same premises before. I had lunch at Cafe Michelangelo with classmates but had never realised that the same restaurant occupied a converted 1939 Western-styled house and shared the same compound in Daikanyama. Well, who would have known?
We were brought to our table on level 2 by our tuxedo-clad servers. As we stepped into the drawing room, the faltering sunlight filtering through the glasshouse evoked the atmosphere of an Italian country. Now all we needed to make it complete were some chirping sounds of birds which were lacking due to the drizzling rain.
For lunch, we went for the 5,000 odd yen menu that features a starter, salad, pasta, meat and dessert followed by coffee and petit fours. This sounds costly for a Tokyo lunch, but I can safely report that it was worth every yen for the performance you get around your entire meal.
Our server checked in with sparkling water, fresh bread and home-made whipped butters of 3 different flavours that provided much respite from the short walk and small hangover that we were experiencing. Our starter came in a swanky martini glass that’s filled with a cream of celery potage drizzled with truffle oil. In order to get to the soup, we were told to crush the flaky crisps that’s topped with watercress into the chilled creamed soup. Well, we couldn’t compare this starter to Cat’s previous scientific experience, but nonetheless, an impressive start.
Following our seared tuna salad, the delicious baby squid pasta was up next. We poured the foamy cream sauce that’s fused with the battered dipped veggie-bites over the pasta and gave it a good mix before feasting on the swirls of pasta. By now, I was a little stuffed and as I peered over my neighbour’s table to find what they were having, I wondered if we ordered from the same menu. As our server placed our main course on our table, we were fascinated with this shell-like pastry dish wondering what treasure it would reveal. Upon cutting the pastry, we were thrilled to find a medley of root vegetables alongside the braised beef cheek. We drenched the tender beef cheek with the cream of foie gras dressing and secretly wished that the chef would have given us more to drench the entire dish along with it.
In anticipation of other sweet things to come, we were given a chilled pineapple sorbet to cleanser our palette with, it was truly refreshing. I really couldn’t manage the sinfully pretty chocolate trio platter and decided to go with the other supposed healthy alternative of fruit sorbet. Instead of placing the fruit sorbet into ice-cream bowls, they devised a creative way of serving the sorbet on a long ice-tray making it more palatable to both the eye and the tastebuds. Wow, they definitely scored high marks in the creativity department.
For the finale, we enjoyed our herbal teas together with our petite fours that were disguised as stalks of flowers served in a stunning flower decor. The ladies would squeal as their servers brought out this pretty vase. Clicking of cameras on mobile phones could also be heard as many patrons would love to capture this delectable moment. I also believe that not many restaurants would go the length to dress up their petite fours so it’s worth capturing this moment.
Thanks Cat for recommending Ristorante Aso. The anticipation was well worth it – the experience was intriguing and definitely deserving of 2 stars!
I would recommend heading to Aso for lunch instead of dinner as prices for dinner are usually double the price. To avoid disappointment, reservations are an absolute must and if you are thinking of heading there on weekends, be warned, the place is fully booked up till the end of the year for weddings! Hmm, definitely no gloom for this restaurant in this economic downturn.
Address: 29-3 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan