Travel | HOTELS & RESTAURANTS

Cherry blossom-themed fare sweeps hotel dining

The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka is offering a seasonal accommodation plan featuring sakura cherry blossoms until April 30.

The Spring Stay and Sakura Sweets plan includes a selection of sakura-inspired desserts created by executive pastry chef Hiroyuki Matsuo.

Sakura mochi (sticky rice cake), sakura-flavored macarons, ganache, panna cotta (creamy pudding), cheese mousse financiers (almond cakes) and strawberries all come in a sakura dessert box. The assortment is served in guest rooms for a luxurious private picnic overlooking a magnificent view of the city of Osaka.

The plan also includes a breakfast buffet at restaurant Splendido. A limited sakura cocktail is available to Club Level guests at the Club Lounge on the 34th floor. The plan is available from ¥41,000 per double occupancy room (tax and service charge included).

Additionally, The Lobby Lounge is offering Sakura Afternoon Tea for ¥4,900 and a sakura cocktail for ¥1,600, while The Bar on the fifth floor is offering a special cocktail named Sakura no Yume (Cherry blossom dream) for ¥2,600 (tax and service fee excluded).

Sakura-themed desserts can also be bought at the Ritz-Carlton Gourmet Shop until April 15. Options include sakura-flavored panna cotta, cream puffs, Mont Blanc, nama-dorayaki (two pancakes sandwiching bean paste and cream), anpan (bean paste bun) and sakura mochi.

The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka is seven minutes from Osaka Station. For more information, visit www.ritz-carlton.co.jp or call 06-6343-7000.

Snow-aged meat on the menu at reimagined grill

After a major renovation, the main restaurant of Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills will reopen on April 16 as the Tavern Grill & Lounge.

New executive chef Shaun Keenan, who started in December, has experience at several luxury hotels worldwide, will focus on grilled dishes.

One of the notable techniques used to prepare his new signature dishes is snow aging Japanese beef in a yukimuro (snow room). Outdoor yukimuro made of snow and straw act as natural refrigerators, storing meat at 1 to 2 degrees Celsius with 95 percent humidity. This environment allows meat to mature and bolsters amino acids — the key to making the meat juicy, soft and rich in flavor.

A high-temperature grill oven is used to make grilled dishes. Fat from the meat drips onto hot lava stones placed at the bottom of the grill, smoking the meat above.

Snow-aged Hokkaido sirloin (220 grams) and chateaubriand steak (400 grams) are priced at ¥9,500 and ¥18,000 respectively (tax and service charge excluded).

The dining area where guests can gather and share dishes in a casual atmosphere, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day and for brunch on weekends. The lounge area is open from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

The Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills is five minutes from Tokyo Metro Toranomon Station. For more information, visit www.andaztokyo.com or call 03-6830-1234.

Cocktail, dessert set celebrates joy of spring

The Hotel Century Southern Tower, a high-rise luxury hotel in Shinjuku marking its 20th anniversary on April 11, is celebrating the spring season with cherry blossom-themed dessert sets and cocktails.

The desserts are served in the Lounge South Court on the 20th floor, from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. every day until April 30.

The featured desserts are cherry blossom and custard cream crepes with genmaicha (Japanese green tea blended with roasted and popped brown rice) ice cream. Cherry blossoms are used both in the crepe dough and bean curd filling.

A dessert and a cocktail set is priced at ¥2,200. Guests can choose from two kinds of cocktails — a sakura (cherry blossom) martini that mixes Bishonen sake, sakura liqueur and lime syrup, or the cherry bloom, a sweet and sour cocktail that consists of sakura liqueur, rose hip and hibiscus tea, fresh lemon juice and sugar syrup.

Additionally, crepes with coffee, tea, or the spring time — a non-alcoholic cocktail made of sakura syrup, cranberry drink, fresh lemon juice and soda — are offered at ¥2,000.

A glass of Champagne can also be selected to go with the dessert for ¥2,800 per set. Prices include tax and service fee.

The Hotel Century Southern Tower is three minutes from Shinjuku Station South Exit. For more information or reservations, visit www.southerntower.co.jp or call 03-5354-0111.