Travel | HOTELS & RESTAURANTS

Seasonal treats against a sparkling backdrop

Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo is pulling out all stops as the year — and decade — reach their celebratory conclusion, presenting an end of year buffet running daily from 7 to 9 p.m. from Nov. 28 to Dec. 28.

Set against a backdrop of the hotel’s famous garden illuminations, on offer is an abundant array of festive plates and seasonal dishes, all fashioned from premium produce and celebrating the best of Japanese and Western cuisines.

From the former at the buffet is an aromatic fugu hotpot that provides comfort and warmth, while diners can choose from jeweled salmon roe, luxurious sea urchin, fatty tuna and sweet shrimp among other oceanic delights to create a do-it-yourself seafood bowl.

Christmas-friendly fare such as roast chicken, sirloin beef and lamb are also available at the buffet carving station, accompanied by a selection of the hotel’s most popular amuse-bouche, a saffron-scented bouillabaisse, a fricassee boasting mustard and tarragon accents, as well as the hotel’s special beef stew.

Desserts are no less important, with seasonal fruit tarts, stollen and buche de Noel Christmas cakes rounding out the meal.

Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo is 10 minutes from Edogawabashi Station. For more information, visit hotel-chinzanso-tokyo.jp or call 03-3943-1140.

Find reprieve from the season’s hustle and bustle

As the end of 2019 draws near, finding a moment to pause amid the bustle of Christmas and New Year’s is paramount. Lending a helping hand is The Strings by InterContinental Tokyo, offering a festive afternoon tea event where diners can indulge in a range of decadent sweets and snacks.

Guests can select from a range of high tea treats prepared by executive pastry chef Takashi Suzuki, such as a visually striking and refreshing to the palate “present box,” elegantly concocted from white chocolate, with sapphire-hued blueberries and a pistachio ganache inside. Intricately fashioned yet sophisticated Christmas cookies also reveal the breadth of his talent, while sweet in-house favorite scones with jam and clotted cream make an appearance.

An array of savory items are also designed to appeal, with mouthwatering morsels such as smoked salmon pinchos (finger food), a turkey sandwich that uses bamboo charcoal bread and a yellow capsicum mousse accented with caviar on the menu.

This holiday menu (¥4,300 weekdays; ¥ 4,500 on weekends and holidays, tax and service charges run extra) is available until Dec. 25, and is served from 3:30 until 6 p.m.

The Strings by InterContinental Tokyo is connected to Shinagawa Station via a pedestrian overpass. For more information visit https://intercontinental-strings.jp/ or call 03-5783-1111.

Delectable cakes made for an elegant Christmas

What’s Christmas without cake? Up until Dec. 23, Hyatt Regency Osaka will be taking orders for its fluffy strawberry shortcake, signature pistachio Paris-Brest, buche de Noel and a tart chocolate rouge.

The strawberry shortcake (12cm, ¥3,600; 15cm, ¥4,200), as soft as a pile of freshly fallen powder snow, uses eggs of which even the yolks are white. Inside are two layers of fresh strawberries and on top are strawberries and red currants.

Pistachio cream, griotte cherry confiture and white chocolate mousse inside choux pastry form the Paris-Brest (¥4,800), a standout item on the hotel’s dessert buffet.

The buche de Noel (¥4,000), a treat that will be fun to cut into, consists of a blueberry, black currant and white chocolate cream delight enclosed in glossy cocoa glazing.

Promising a different experience with every bite is the chocolate tart rouge (¥4,000). Striking red raspberry glaze sits atop a chocolate cream bed; beneath lies the tart with chocolate cream, walnuts and chocolate chips.

Pick-ups are between Dec. 20 and 25, and reservations can be made up to two days in advance.

Hyatt Regency Osaka is located three minutes from Nakafuto Station. For reservations, visit http://www.hyattregencyosaka.com/restaurant/xmas/cake.html or call 06-6612-1234.