For a privately booked banquet, party, wedding, corporate anniversary or group event, the New Otani Hotels group of hotels — specifically, hotel branches in Tokyo, Makuhari in Chiba Prefecture, and Osaka — present a sumptuous Reiwa menu featuring the same dishes that were served at a banquet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hosted at Hotel New Otani Tokyo following the enthronement ceremony of Emperor Naruhito in October.

The banquet is priced from ¥23,000 per person, plus tax and service charge, and is available from April 1 until March 31, 2021.

Drawing upon concepts of “perfect serenity,” dishes are served on famed Arita tableware. A visually striking array of appetizers starts proceedings, followed by premium dashi, the simplicity of its execution masking a surprising complexity of umami and flavor. A lamb and black truffle pie is next, accompanied by a Japanese millet risotto.

A Japanese meal would almost be incomplete without seafood; here, 12 varieties of foodstuffs from the sea are scattered on rice to form a special kind of sushi, and served with a clear, yet deep and pungent soup.

Dessert ingredients reflect the seasons — melon, mango, chestnuts and strawberries — after which diners are invited to indulge in petit fours.

For information on the banquet, visit www.newotani.co.jp/tokyo/banquet/plan/reiwa-menu/ (Japanese only) or call Tokyo, Chiba and Osaka hotels individually for further details.

Dig into a smorgasbord of Swiss dishes

Raclette and fondue may be hallmark Swiss dishes but there’s more to the country’s cuisine than melted cheese.

Diners at Imperial Hotel Tokyo can experience all that culinary Switzerland has to offer at The Imperial Viking Sal buffet restaurant held until April 30.

Overseeing the Swiss Fair smorgasbord event — and menus — is executive chef Laurent Eperon of Pavillon, a two-starred Michelin restaurant at Zurich’s venerable Baur au Lac hotel.

Through the culmination of history and traditions, Swiss dishes feature neighborly French, German and Italian influences. Diners can therefore expect fare such as a Zurich-style veal stew served with rosti (potato fritters) and a roast pork served with beans and root vegetables in a mustard sauce, a Swiss chard and mushroom lasagna marked by full-bodied Sbrinz cheese.

Smorgasbords are usually self-serve, but only staff can plate the food at this event. Lunch is from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; prices start at ¥5,900 (varies depending on the day; less for children). Dinner is served from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. (from 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays) with prices starting at ¥8,400.

The Imperial Hotel Tokyo is three minutes from Hibiya and Uchisaiwaicho subway stations. For restaurant information, visit https://www.imperialhotel.co.jp/e/tokyo/restaurant/sal/index.html or call 03-3539-8187 (The Imperial Viking Sal).

Flavorful combination highlighted at buffet

Mention of Amaou strawberries and Yame-cha green tea might bring to mind Fukuoka Prefecture, the home of these two specialties. But it is at Swissotel Nankai Osaka where the big, sweet, juicy fruit and premium fragrant tea come together as the featured items in the Swiss Chocoholic Sweets Buffet series available every Saturday and Sunday until April 26.

Guests are invited to indulge in more than 30 sweet and savory items at the buffet, while taking in city views from the top-floor Tavola36 restaurant.

Many treats are made with quality hotel-made Swiss chocolate, and a unique set of eats include Amaou pizza and Amaou burgers as well as kurobuta (black pork) garlic and thyme roast, accented with Yame-cha green tea salt.

Tarts and shortcakes made with Amaou and Yame-cha, roast beef tortilla, as well as mixed green salad with balsamic dressing make up other buffet items.

Paired with their choice of drinks including hot chocolate, coffee and tea, guests can enjoy the buffet (¥4,500 for adults; ¥2,250 for children, plus tax and service charge) from 3:30 to 5 p.m., with last entry at 4:30 p.m.

Swissotel Nankai Osaka is one minute from Namba Station. For reservations or more information, visit https://swissotelnankaiosaka.com/offers/amaou-strawberry-and-yamecha-spring-sweet-buffet/ or call 06-6646-5125 (Tavola36).

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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