Travel | HOTELS & RESTAURANTS

International flavors for Christmas fare

Christmas in Japan is a uniquely multicultural notion — even more so in Tokyo where Japanese cuisine so frequently meets international innovation. Such is the sentiment of Trunk (Hotel), which in its quest to express the “how and now of Tokyo,” has prepared exclusive Yuletide lunch and dinner courses to be available from Dec. 22 to 25.

Christmas lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the hotel’s Trunk (Kitchen) restaurant. Priced at ¥5,000, the lunch comprises four dishes, including a main preparation of roast duckling from Brittany served with morello cherry sauce.

Meanwhile, Christmas dinner will be served from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. It comes in two varieties — six dishes for ¥15,000 or seven for ¥20,000 — and features a main course choice of grilled Japanese black beef sirloin with black truffle sauce and Greek-style marinated root vegetables, or grilled deer fillet with artichoke sauce and sauteed French mushrooms.

Both lunch and dinner are rounded off with a scrumptious dessert of French opera cake and Edo miso caramel ice cream. There is also organic Champagne and wine available for those looking to toast the holly jolly night away.

The Trunk (Hotel) is six minutes from Harajuku or Meiji Jingumae stations. For restaurant reservations, access trunk-hotel.com/kitchen/ or call 03-5766-3202.

Rare delicacies to greet the new year

All good things must end, but that doesn’t mean they can’t end in style. As Japan prepares to ring in the final new year of the Heisei Era, The Prince Park Tower Tokyo and The Tokyo Prince Hotel have teamed up to host a New Year’s Fortune Fair from Jan. 5 to 31 with traditional luck-bringing ingredients and a sizable helping of edible gold leaf decorations.

Headlining the event is The Prince Park Tower Tokyo’s basement-floor restaurant Shibazakura, which has crafted a luxurious New Year’s course for two to be served from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Priced at ¥31,000, it comprises a myriad of unique seafood creations, including sea urchin, mullet roe caviar and salted sea cucumber innards; three of the rarest delicacies in Japan.

Meanwhile, first-floor restaurant Shimizu at The Tokyo Prince Hotel has taken a more classic route in preparing a traditional Japanese New Year’s assortment.

Available for ¥5,000 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (hours vary on weekends and holidays), it features herring roe, sea bream, breaded beef cutlet, mashed sweet potatoes with chestnuts and other delicacies that are known to bring happiness and prosperity in the new year.

For restaurant reservations only, call 03-5400-1170 (The Prince Park Tower Tokyo) or 03-3432-1140 (The Tokyo Prince Hotel).

Delight in a paradise of strawberries

The Conrad Osaka is treating guests to a delectable array of strawberry sweets with its Strawberry Sensations Buffet and Afternoon Tea. The buffet, available from Dec. 26 to May 6, and afternoon tea, available from Dec. 22 to Feb. 28, feature unique strawberry confections that will satisfy even the most discerning sweet tooth.

Roughly 20 varieties of original strawberry desserts will adorn the buffet counter at Atmos Dining, located on the 40th floor of the hotel. Prepared with homemade mint paste, the refreshing strawberry tart will delight the taste buds, while the contrast between red strawberries and vibrant, green mint will be a sight to behold. Other treats include an irresistible strawberry mille-feuille and glazed strawberry cake.

At the Strawberry Sensations Afternoon Tea, available at the 40 Sky Bar & Lounge, guests can relish the charming, bite-size sweets lining the tea stands. With six varieties of strawberry desserts and four kinds of savory snacks, together with Conrad Osaka’s original blends of tea and a stunning panoramic view of the city, this is one afternoon tea experience that should not be missed.

The Conrad Osaka is five minutes by car from Osaka Station. For more information or reservations, access www.conradosaka.jp or call 06-6222-0111.