Travel | HOTELS & RESTAURANTS

Keep warm with hearty meals served en cocotte

Head to the Hotel Century Southern Tower’s Cocotte Fair for a marriage of prime Japanese produce and French brasserie cooking techniques.

Running until Feb. 29, 2020, the event celebrates the ancient cooking method of en cocotte, using world-famous Staub cast-iron cookware that stores and seals heat.

Ideal eating for the cool days of winter, diners can choose from four cocotte options at Southern Tower Dining on the hotel’s 20th floor.

A rich and hearty beef and red wine stew, served with mashed potatoes and perfect for sharing (¥3,970), features premium wagyu from Kumamoto Prefecture. The area is also home to an heirloom red chicken breed that stars in a chicken fricassee (¥3,050), accompanied by fresh pasta made from 100 percent Hokkaido wheat and made in-house. Lovers of all things pork are spoiled by the addition of a juicy and tender rindo breed of pork casserole (¥3,250), simple in its execution but warming to the soul. Miyagi Prefecture’s Onagawa region, meanwhile, supplies the ingredients for an ocean-kissed seafood bouillabaisse (¥4,020), the Gallic stew served with freshly made bread.

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

Authentic Finnish cuisine comes to Tokyo

Until the end of this month, a taste of Finland can be savored in Tokyo. The Imperial Hotel Tokyo has teamed up with Helsinki’s luxurious Hotel Kamp in setting up the Finland Fair, with the support of the Finnish Embassy in Japan in commemoration of 100 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Finnish cuisine, rich in root vegetables and fresh berries, is served buffet style at Imperial Viking Sal, where Hotel Kamp chef Antti Hokkanen oversees the preparation of more than 10 authentic dishes.

Salmon in cowberry marinade with dried cowberry and cowberry mayonnaise, roasted beets with nettle paste and smoked goat cheese, roasted pork and vegetables roasted in Finnish honey, and Finnish Karelian stew, are but a few of the dishes that await diners. Seasonal dishes as well as The Imperial Hotel’s traditional menu will also be served.

Lunch (¥5,900 on weekdays; ¥6,600 on weekends and holidays) is served from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner is served from 5 to 9:30 p.m. on weekdays (¥8,400) and 5 to 9:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays (¥9,000).

The Imperial Hotel Tokyo is a three-minute walk from Hibiya Station. For reservations or more information, visit https://www.imperialhotel.co.jp/j/tokyo/restaurant/sal/plan/finland_fair.html or call 03-3539-8187 (Imperial Viking Sal).

Hospitality influenced by ancient customs

Kyoto, famous for its venerable traditions and high esteem for aesthetics, is inextricably linked with quintessential Japanese concepts such as Zen and the art of tea ceremony.

Catering to a market in search of this side of Kyoto and meaningful travel experiences, the newly opened Oriental Hotel Kyoto Rokujo embraces such concepts with great aplomb — to the point of offering guests a self-developed tourist app introducing local zazen meditation culture as well as hotel-based Zen activities.

Japan’s traditional tea ceremony is no less present, both influencing the hotel’s design and informing programs such as daily matcha tea ceremonies that draw locally sourced groundwater that also supplies Kyoto’s Hakusan-yu public bath.

The hotel itself offers a real connection with peace and serenity, with lantern-lit paths and traditional tea gardens woven into its facade. Guest rooms feature light wood, smooth lines and are minimalist in nature, expressing yo no bi, a reflection of the Japanese value of finding beauty in the simplest of tools.

Exceptional service and authentic Kyoto cuisine for breakfast are also part of the hotel’s mission.

The Oriental Hotel Kyoto Rokujo is a nine-minute walk from Exit 4 of Gojo Station on the Kyoto Municipal Subway’s Karasuma Line. For further details visit https://kyotorokujo.oriental-hotels.com/l_en/ or call 075-343-8111.