Story and photos by Melanie Votaw
MOTIF RESTAURANT & BAR
IN THE FOUR SEASONS TOKYO
Pacific Century Place Marunouchi
1 Chome-11-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku
Within the Four Seasons Hotel in Tokyo is a restaurant opened in April 2015 called Motif, which serves French food with a Japanese twist. The result is an interesting amalgamation of two of the world’s most beloved cuisines that you rarely see combined.
The dishes are a culinary collaboration between Head Chef Hiroyuki Asano and Culinary Advisor Chef Hiroshi Nakamichi. It was founded on the core principles of “Esprit Terroir” or Spirit of Earth,” with a seasonal, farm-to-table menu. Many of the fresh produce and other ingredients come from Chef Nakamichi’s hometown of Hokkaido, although he also studied in France, of course.
He’s been named a designated Ryori (Culinary) Master by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and he won the grand prize and a special award at a world cooking competition when he was 31. His other restaurants have earned Michelin stars – one of them was awarded three, which is no mean feat.
I was treated to a special menu that was unlike any I’ve had anywhere else in the world. It began with Galettes de Sarrasin (buckwheat galette), which was buckwheat noodles and a soft poached egg. This was followed by a cold L’asperge Blanche (white asparagus soup). Both of these were delicious, but I especially enjoyed the asparagus soup, which was delicate and flavorful.
The next course was Les Légumes de Saison Seasonal Vegetables and Edible Wild Plants – a wonderful salad of the finest fresh ingredients.
Then came a Skate Wing Fillet Meunière (with potato and lemon sauce). I began to understand Chef Nakamichi’s subtle aesthetic. The dishes were not screaming with flavor but allowed the palate to discern each ingredient without one overpowering the other.
The next course, Le Granité, was an equally subtle sherbet followed by Le Boeuf Grille – grilled beef with horseradish and red wine sauce. The plate with the sauce and vegetables carefully plated was brought separately, while the beef filets were transferred to the plates from a silver bowl that still held some of the coals used to cook the meat.
Finally, we were served Le Dessert de Saison, which used Japan’s especially sweet strawberries.
The regular menu has four tasting menu options, as well as a la carte items. Some of the mostintriguing possibilities include roasted spring onion with bacon and red wine vinegar as an appetizer, or main dishes such as grilled lamb with miso and udo or grilled olive beef with bamboo shoot.
Motif is located on the seventh floor of the beautiful Four Seasons, which is in the popular Marunouchi section of Tokyo near the Imperial Palace and Tokyo Station. The atmosphere of the restaurant is modern, dark, and chic, but also relaxed with nice views. On the website, the dress is stated as “smart casual.” The hotel itself is a boutique property with just 57 rooms.
Motif Restaurant & Bar serves breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner daily to both outside and Four Seasons Hotel guests.
© June 2018 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.