Reasons to visit Tokyo in 2017
Author: Ben Davis
Photography: Phu Tang (Den exterior), Getty images (Shinjuku, Tokyo), Shinichiro Fujii (Den salad)
Hidden in the quietly burgeoning neighbourhood of Tomigaya - a 10-minute drive south of Tokyo - Path is one of the city's rare brunch gems and lies just a stroll from Shibuya. Available until 2pm daily, the brunch menu takes cues from around the world - Dutch-style pancakes, tuna and potato pita sandwich, a salad of radicchio, quinoa and pomegranate - and it's served on earth-toned tableware by New York ceramic artist Wynne Noble. And then there are the freshly baked croissants and pastries, homemade juices and locally roasted coffee.
1-44-2 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Power lunch: Nikko Kanaya Hotel Craft Grill
In the basement of Beams Japan, the new eight-storey flagship store of the clothing retailer, is a curious outpost of a 19th-century country hotel. Nikko Kanaya Hotel, about two hours' drive north of Tokyo, is Japan's oldest Westernstyle resort hotel, famous for its pre-war celebrity guest list and now a favourite of domestic and foreign dignitaries, and yoshoku Japanese-style Western cuisine. Popular dishes such as Kanaya's "hundred-year curry rice", a mild pork curry with raisin-topped butter rice have found a new audience in this modern grill, where deals are done over Iwate pork steaks and craft beer, or Akagi wagyu rice bowls and sake.
B1, 3-32-6 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, diamond-dining-shops.jp/craftgrill/shinkyuku
Chef Zaiyu Hasegawa opened Jimbocho Den at the age of 29 and quickly won acclaim for his creative, often playful interpretations of kaiseki cuisine. Late last year he moved across town and relaunched the restaurant in a refurbished space in Architect House Hall in upmarket Jingumae. In an open kitchen within the brightly lit dining room, Hasegawa and his team create refined but quirky dishes such as monaka wafers with foie gras and persimmon, and a vibrant signature salad topped by smiley-face carrots and (real) ants.
2-3-18 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, jimbochoden.com
Zaiyu Hasegawa's signature salad
Drinks Bar: Triad
Triad is the latest sibling of popular cocktail bars Trench and Tram nearby. Its split-level interior takes cues from the design of classic train stations and carriages, and among its original creations are cocktails inspired by the Orient Express. The Garata Bridge Orange, for instance, is an intriguing mix of Cognac, raki, orange, ginger cordial, lemon juice and "Turkish tincture".
4F, 1-4-1 Ebisu-nishi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Sleep: Hoshinoya Tokyo
Located alongside the Imperial Palace and the busy commercial district of Otemachi, Hoshinoya Tokyo offers the rare chance to indulge in a modern, rarified ryokan experience in the heart of Tokyo. Traditional design, hospitality and seasonally tuned food, drinks and aromas are applied to an incongruous downtown high-rise building, with luxurious effect. Don't miss a session in the open-air onsen on the 17th floor.
1-9-1 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Coming soon: Blind Donkey
This is Tokyo's most anticipated restaurant opening of the year. Former Chez Panisse chef Jerome Waag and Shin Harakawa, owner-chef of Beard bistro in Meguro, are planning a new eatery in an undisclosed location. In line with Beard's farm-to-table approach, the pair have visited farmers, fishermen and hunters throughout Japan in preparation for an opening later this year.