Travel | HOTELS & RESTAURANTS

Hop into the spirit of Easter with sweets

Cherry blossoms get all the attention during spring, but those ubiquitous pink petals won’t stop the InterContinental Tokyo Bay from showing the Easter Bunny a little well-deserved love.

From March 15 to April 30, The Shop N.Y. Lounge Boutique on the hotel’s first floor will be selling decorative Easter egg chocolates designed and crafted by executive chef patissier Junji Tokunaga.

The eggs sell for ¥3,900 a piece and are available between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. during the shop’s normal hours. They’re made entirely of chocolate — including the stands on which they’re presented — and feature humorous designs representing animals such as chickens, pigs, penguins and, of course, the quintessential Easter rabbit. While enchanting to look at, these chocolatey treats bespeak the true culinary talent of Tokunaga, whose team won silver at the 2015 Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie (World Pastry Cup) and also accepted the competition’s “Press” prize for their exceptional chocolate desserts.

The shop will have the eggs on display through Easter Sunday (April 21), inviting guests to see the endearing creations for themselves. They’re guaranteed to make for a lovely surprise gift amid the springtime frivolity.

The InterContinental Tokyo Bay is adjacent to Takeshiba Station on the Yurikamome Line. For more information, call 03-5404-2222.

Buffet offers fresh flavors from Chiba

Enclosing the eastern side of Tokyo Bay and comprising most of Chiba Prefecture, the Boso Peninsula produces a trove of delicious food ingredients.

Through April 14, Cafe Tosca at the Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu is highlighting the region’s first-rate ingredients with a dinner buffet that features dishes prepared with staples from Chiba’s fishing, agricultural and stock-raising industries. This buffet is the brainchild of the cafe’s chef Katsuya Ogawa, who, in preparation for this buffet, set out on a journey to meet the producers of Chiba’s distinct food items, such as Tachibana’s edo-na — a leafy vegetable from the komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach) family— and peanut sprouts.

For two hours from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays (¥5,800) and 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays (¥6,800), guests can savor a buffet of dishes infused with the region’s refreshing flavors, including a rice bowl with five varieties of seafood, a crispy fried fish fillet with fried ground tuna cutlets, roast beef and gravy sauce with sauteed peanut sprouts, and broccolini and pacific cod acqua pazza (poached white fish in an Italian herb broth). Discounted prices are available for children, making the buffet a great choice for family outings.

The Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu is one minute from Minatomirai Station. For more information or reservations, visit ybht.co.jp or call 045-682-2222.

Tasteful renovations for luxurious dining

Taste alone no longer satisfies in the eat-until-you-drop city of Osaka. These days, it’s all about creating the right mood, and The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka has done just that. On March 1, the hotel happily reopened three of its fifth-floor dining establishments after putting them through stunning renovations.

Chinese restaurant Xiang Tao underwent a complete makeover, taking inspiration from China’s fabled Peach Blossom Spring to create a modern paradise of antique and original themes. With 122 seats, the spacious new look is perfect for sampling 
Head Chef Peter Cheung’s signature six-sauce Peking duck.

French restaurant La Baie also got an interior update and now exudes a resplendent European ambiance. Boasting 66 seats, the restaurant invites guests to relax with a glass of award-winning wine from their list of over 400 bottles as they dine on inventive, Japanese-inspired French cuisine.

Meanwhile, The Bar has revived stylistic motifs of 18th-century European nobility over a deep green color palette. The redesign features 56 comfortable seats, including six at the counter, with a shelf of over 150 whiskies and other spirits for guests to round off the evening in decadence.

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