Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Breakfast at Oasis Garden, Prince Gallery, Tokyo

I recently stayed at a new hotel in Tokyo: the Prince Gallery.  It was wonderful - new, modern, great facilities, amazing staff, etc, etc.  Highly recommended.

As part of my stay, I also had breakfast at one of the hotel restaurants, Oasis Garden.  Oasis Garden was definitely above average for hotel dining, and had some amazing highlights (French toast! Crispy potatoes! Cheesy pasta! Calfloutis with whipped cream and agave caramel! Croissant Bread Pudding!), but was hampered by inconsistencies.  Dishes that were phenomenal one day were mediocre the next.  Menu options presented one day were not the next.  Luckily, there were tons of options, so it was always easy to find something delicious, but, they would do even better if they could address these inconsistencies!

Menus

Oasis has many options for breakfast, ranging from a huge buffet, to several types of set menus (including a Japanese breakfast), to a la carte.

That is, if they tell you about the options.  Many times, we arrived, only to be given a piece of paper with buffet listed.  Since we knew about a la carte, we still ordered it, and it was no problem, but we found this inconsistency a bit strange.  I really think it was based on how busy they were; when busy, it was easier to just pretend it was a buffet only.

One morning, my fellow diner ordered the Japanese breakfast, and the table next to us asked about it, as they were only given the buffet option.  The server confirmed that there was a full menu in addition, and they were clearly annoyed that they hadn't been given that option.  This is just the first of many inconsistencies in the service and offerings.
Book of menus.
If you are given a full menu, it is so many pages, they need a binder.  Really.

All set menus, and buffet, come with your choice of coffee or tea.
Gallery Breakfast. ¥5,000.
The first set menu is the "Gallery Breakfast", the healthy option, but also quite pricey at ¥5,000.  It offers:
  • Fresh Juice of the Day made with a vacuum blender
  • Low Fat Yogurt with Manuka honey acai berry sauce
  • White Omelet with avocado Using domestically white egg (hens grow up eating rice)
  • Fruit Tomato and Tofu caprese Style
  • Superfood Salad with grape seed oil dressing 
  • Macedonia Fruit Salad with coconut oil Chia seeds and home made syrup (sweetness modest) 
Continental Breakfast.  ¥3,000.
The frugal option is the "Continental Breakfast" for ¥3,000.

But it doesn't contain much, literally, juice, milk, and pastries.  Nothing more.
  • Choice of Juice (Orange, Grapefruit, Apple, Tomato, Mixed Vegetable)
  • Choice of Milk (Whole Milk, Low-fat Milk, Soy Milk)
  • Assorted Breads (Croissant, Brioche, Viennoiserie, Toast) 
Given that the full buffet includes all this, plus made to order eggs, salad, fruit, yogurt, cheese, hot items, and more, and is ¥3,900, this seems ... ridiculous?
American Breakfast. ¥3,900.
The "American Breakfast" is also priced at ¥3,900, and starts with the same juice/milk/pastries.
  • Choice of Juice (Orange, Grapefruit, Apple, Tomato, Mixed Vegetable)
  • Choice of Milk (Whole Milk, Low-fat Milk, Soy Milk)
  • Assorted Breads (Croissant, Brioche, Viennoiserie, Toast) 
Then adds on eggs, an omelet, meat, and fruit:
  • Two Eggs cooked in any style(Choice of Fried Egg, Poached Egg, Omelets, Scrambled, Boiled Egg or Chefs special Egg Dish)
  • Choice of Omelet (Plain, Ham, Cheese, Onion, Tomato or Herb)
  • Choice of Side-meat (Bacon, Ham, Pork sausage or Chicken sausage)
  • Fruit
This one confuses me even more.  Same price as buffet.  Which includes all of this and more.  The only difference is that with the buffet you pick one of omelet or eggs, and here you get both?  Who wants an omelet and eggs?
A la Carte.
And then, a la carte.  Juices, milk, bread, cereal, yogurt, salad, veggies.  All priced rather high individually.
A la carte: Page 2.
The second page has the eggs, omelets, fruits (including a half-mango or grapefruit, which are items not on buffet), soup of the day, and, french toast.  French toast!  This doesn't show up anwhere else, in set menus or on buffet.

Buffet

"Oasis Garden offers a full Breakfast Buffet with a variety of menus."
The standard option for most people is the extensive buffet, also the cheapest breakfast besides the simple continental, offered at ¥3,900.
Buffet Details.
The menu reads:

We offer Cold Dishes, Bread, Fruits, Cereal, Juice and Milk.
And your Choice of Eggs
  • Two Eggs cooked in any style (Choice of Fried Egg, Poached Egg, Omelet, Scrambled Egg, Boiled Egg or Chef's special Egg Dish) 
  • Choice of Omelet (Plain, Ham, Cheese, Onion, Tomato or Herb) 
Coffee or Tea

It fails to mention they also include a large number of hot food offerings.
Spacious Buffet Area.
This is the least cramped buffet I've probably ever seen.

There were many different stations, all well spaced out.  No people bumping into each other, no matter how busy it got.  

This is just the first room of the buffet, and it is two sided.

Continental

One side of the buffet is dedicated to the cold continental options.
Fruit: Kiwi, Grapefruit, Pears, Pineapple.
The fruit selection changed daily, but always included some kind of citrus and some kind of tropical fruit.

I opted for dragonfruit one morning, and it was fine, but not particularly tasty.  Same with kiwi.  Same with grapefruit.  It all looked fresh and good, but just wasn't very flavorful.
Fruit Cocktail, Melon, Grapes.
I also tried the fruit cocktail, but it was as generic as any canned fruit cocktail.  Soft fruit, way too sweet syrup.
Lowfat yogurt, plain yogurt, yogurt sauces.
The fruit sauces I tried, even though I didn't get yogurt.  There were two varieties: apple and mixed berry.  I used them with my lackluster pancakes to try to jazz them up.

But ... I wasn't a fan.  The berry one had lots of tart berries, and the apple was just a bit boring, not really spiced.
Salad Station.
The salad station had several types of greens for a base, a few fresh veggies, beans, and a quinoa/rice blend, plus a huge lineup of toppings.

The toppings were: fried onion, pine nuts, walnuts, croutons, crispy bacon, almond slivers, parmesan cheese, and black olives.

The last morning, I finally had salad, mitzuna based.  After a full week of eating decadent meals every single meal, every single day, my body clearly just wanted some greens.  Bitter, fresh, juicy, exactly what I needed.

I also went for some of the wild rice and quinoa blend, again, not something I ever normally want, but, my body was needed some clean grains.  I loved the texture of both, nicely crispy, a bit al dente.  Really quite good with the dressing and toppings I added.

I may not have wanted salad usually, but I still had fun with the toppings daily.  Fried onions! Tiny croutons!  Crispy bacon!  I liked them all, and had them most days.  The fried onions in particular became my favorite way to add crunch and salt to my dishes.
Dressing: French, Non-oil Yuzu Soy Sauce, Roasted Sesame.
The roasted sesame dressing was quite tasty and flavorful.  I used it with greens, grains, and just to drizzle over eggs even.
Cheese and Dried Fruit.
Dried fruit included apricots, raisins, cranberries, and dates.  I didn't go for any.

For cheeses, there was a slightly different selection every day, but always a boursin, comnte, and some sort of soft triple cream.

I tried the boursin pepper, as I have fond childhood memories of boursin cheese, but, I wasn't really into it at breakfast.  The triple cream I tried one day was fine, it went nicely with my mortadella.
Cold Cuts, Smoked Salmon, Salads.
A bit of a random mix here, but this section had: Vegetables Stick, Couscous and Vegetables, Smoked Salmon, Mortadella, Papurikariona, Paprika mayonnaise.

Here I went for some of the veggies (endive, thick sliced radish), sorta wanting something fresh, although, uh, I slathered it in the paprika mayonnaise.  I couldn't resist!  Not very interesting though, just, veggies, and mayo.

Once I settled into a routine, the star here was the paprika mayo, which I used to mix with other flavorful toppings (stay tuned) and use with all sorts of things.
Smoked Salmon, Papurikariona, Mortadella.
The smoked salmon was fine, not particularly smoky, dressed with sliced thin red onion, capers, lemon.  Meh.

I also tried the papurikariona, but it was a bit too ... porky(?) for me.

I did like the mortadella though ... I just really like mortadella, I can't explain it.  Just like bologna.  I slathered it with a mix of the paprika mayo (so creamy!) and some of the flavorful pastes from the porridge bar, and a slice of the brie, and it was fantastic.  I had this several times.
Ham.
The final cold cut was ham, which was sliced as needed from a leg of ham, displayed right there in the room.  So fancy?

I didn't have it in this form, but did later have it as part of my savory french toast (!).
Cereal.
The cereal lineup was pretty basic: Brown Rice Flakes, Muesli Cocoa, All-Bran, Muesli Fruit, Corn Flakes.

I loved cocoa muesli at the buffet in Munich at Le Potager at Le Meridien, but this wasn't the same, not as intense chocolate.
Milk.
5 types of cereal need 5 types of milk, right?  There was something for everyone here: regular dairy milk (whole or low fat), oat milk, soy milk, and rice milk.

Hot Items

The other side of this room is the hot items.  Just as extensive as the continental.
Breakfast Proteins.
The breakfast protein selection was generous: two types of sausage (chicken, pork), type types of bacon (regular, crispy), a daily seafood, and two types of boiled eggs (hard, medium).

I found it novel that they seemed to offer 2 types of many items.  Something for everyone.

I tried the crispy bacon, it was indeed nice and crispy.

The pork sausage was fairly boring, boiled white meat in a casing without much snap.
Medium Boiled Egg.
Most days, I opted for the made-to-order eggs, trying out a variety of different styles.  But one morning I was in a rush, so, I decided not to get my eggs, and just grabbed one of the medium boiled eggs.

Like the made-to-order eggs, it was perfectly cooked.  The yolk was exactly medium, and brilliant orange as all Japanese eggs are.
Warm Veggies (Day One).
Next, veggies, day one: Grilled tomato, boiled white kidney beans, sweet corn, ratatouille.
Warm Veggies (Day 2).
The veggies changed slightly from day to day.  Another day the lineup had glazed carrots, grilled tomato, roasted potato, and "green vegetables" (otherwise known as broccoli).
Carbs.
More veggies followed, plus, a selection of carby items.  On the first day: Roasted Potato, Short Pasta with Cheese, Fried Potato.

I don't generally go for breakfast potatoes, but I was drawn in by the roasted Japanese purple potatoes.  I do like purple potatoes.  And these delivered.  Nicely roasted, salty, good flavor.  My second favorite buffet item.  These came back several times, and I still enjoyed them, particularly if I drizzled with a bit of the caramel agave, but the novelty of easy access to purple potatoes did wear off.
Short Pasta with Cheese.
I have no idea what compelled me to try the cheesy pasta the first day, but I'm glad I did.  It was good!  Decently cooked penne, thick cheesy alfredo-like sauce.  I was pretty sure this was just my jetlagged body wanting lunch food or something, but I liked it.  I didn't see anyone else even try it ... their loss!

On day four, the cheesy pasta came back, and I tried it again, to test my theory that I had only enjoyed it because I was on a strange schedule.  The verdict?  Nope!  It was still delicious.  Really nicely cooked pasta, creamy sauce.  Not at all what I normally have for breakfast, although warm carbs and cream are generally part of my breakfast, so, I guess not too much of a stretch.  One of my favorite items.

Day six though ... the pasta was awful.  Thin, watery sauce, barely any cheese flavory, and mushy pasta.  Same thing with day seven - the sauce didn't even coat the noodles, it was just a pile of water. Consistency was not their strong point.

By mid-week, I was ready to jazz up my cheesy pasta even further.  Sure, it was great plain, but I realized I could add on the seaweed pastes from the porridge station for even more umami flavor, and dried crispy seaweed and fried onion bits for crunchy topping, and this was incredible!
Roasted Potato, Ratatouille, Short Pasta with Cheese, Fried Potato.
The second day, the brilliant purple Japanese roasted potatoes were placed with standard yellow potatoes.  So, still two types of potatoes, roasted or fried, but both yellow potatoes.
Potato Gratin.
On Saturday, only one variety of roasted potato was available, but potato gratin joined the mix, keeping up the "2 potato offerings" schedule.

I was excited for this, as I love potato gratin, but it wasn't good.

The top wasn't crispy, the potatoes were mushy, and it wasn't creamy nor cheesy.  Really, just not good at all.
Gnocchi with cream.
The third day, the short pasta with cheese turned into ... gnocchi with cream!

A nice cream sauce, decent gnocchi (not too soft, not too chewy, good texture, decent crust on them).  I liked the pasta a bit more, but I also might have just gotten over the novelty of cheesy/creamy pasta/carbs for breakfast by then.
Condiments: Ketchup, Mustard, Whole Grain Mustard.
To go along with your breakfast meats, simple condiments were offered, in cute little serving vessels.
Pancakes, Fruit Pancakes, Banana Calflouti, Agave Syrup, Whipped Cream.
I tried the fruit pancakes, but didn't care for them.  They weren't American style, rather, they were thicker, and dense.  I liked how crispy they were I guess, but, not for me.

The banana calfloutis though ... now, that I loved.

It was soft, it was custardy, it was sweet.  Studded with some cooked soft banana.  I went back for multiple servings of this, my favorite item from the buffet. 

The second day, the same calflouti was served, but it was labelled "Dark Cherry" rather than banana.  But I assure you, it was banana.  I was a bit sad to not see it mixed up, but, it was still good and my favorite item.

On the side was caramel agave syrup and whipped cream.  The agave was fine, and I guess maple syrup is harder to import and less common?  I give them major credit for the bowl of whipped cream, as I'm a whipped cream lover, and I was overjoyed to have easy access to it every day.
Dark Cherry Clafloutis.
The final morning, the clafoutis was again labelled dark cherry, and this time, it was.

I liked it even more than the banana version.  Huge, deep, dark cherries, bursting with fruitness.  Custardy base, crispy bits, just soooo good.

I loved this with tons of caramel agave (seriously, that stuff was magic) and whipped cream (seriously, thank you so much for these toppings!).  The highlight of my visit, sealing the last morning breakfast off perfectly.
Pancakes in molds.
The pancakes were made into their cute shape via molds the batter is poured in.
Pancakes, unmolded.
Once set, they were removed from molds, and flipped, to cook the final side.
Croissant Bread Pudding.
On my third/fourth/fifth/sixth day, the calfloutis was replaced with bread pudding.

Incredible bread pudding ... the first day.

I love bread pudding, and I eat a lot of it, but this was some of the best I've ever had.

It helps that it was made from a croissant base of course.  It was exactly as I like it: crazy moist and custardy throughout, crispy on top. The custard base wasn't boring, wasn't plain, rather had some accents of orange perhaps?  The right level of sweetness, the right level of richness, just, really, really good.

It was good plain, it was better drizzled with caramel agave, and even better when topped with whipped cream.

I ate an unacceptable amount of this that first day.  But I couldn't help it.  So very good.  Highlight of my dining at Oasis.

The next day, I was thrilled to see bread pudding again!  Except ... it was not good.  It looked the same, but, it was nothing alike.

The moist flaky texture of the interior was replaced with oily spongy croissant.  It wasn't crispy on top.  The beautiful custard was all egg, like a quiche or frittata amongst the spongy croissant.  It wasn't good.  At all.  Such a letdown.

Day 5? Same as day 4.

Day 6, bread pudding again.  I tentatively went for it.  It was better than days 4 and 5, but no where near as good as that first day.  The top wasn't crispy, the custard not creamy.  Enough caramel agave and whipped cream could make it enjoyable, but, overall, just not great.  I was sadden by how inconsistent some things were.
Rice Porridge, Toppings.
The rice porridge was plain, but had a variety of mix-ins available: soybean paste in butterbur sprout, dried baby sardines with sansyo pepper, salt kelp, pickled plum with seaweed, wasabi seaweed.

I tried the porridge one day just to get the experience, but plain rice, even if well cooked, even if creamy in porridge, just isn't for me.

I know they were for the porridge, but I tried a bunch of the toppings without it too.  They became highlights for me.

I loved the flavorful seaweeds (salt kelp, pickled plum with seaweed, and wasabi seaweed).  Such strong flavors, and ones I don't get often in my normal life.  The crunchy salt kelp bits were awesome to add crunch to other things.  The paste like ones were great mixed with the paprika mayo, and used as a dip for veggies, a coating for mortadella, and really, just an excuse to eat some delicious flavorful stuff.
Parumantie Soup.
The soup changed daily.  Some days it was minestrone, others egg stracciatella.

A couple times, it was labelled "Parumantie Soup".  I had no idea what that was, but it looked creamy, and I was looking for more places to use the toppings I loved.

So I took it.

It was indeed so very creamy.   I thought it might be potato, but it mostly was just cream.  Sooo creamy.  Very rich, very good, but, a bit much to really consume a lot of at a single time.

Google searching after the fact didn't help.  "Parumantie" is just not a thing.  But "Parmentier" is ... cream of potato soup.  That must have been what it was?

Bakery

Baked goods were in an entirely separate room, and honestly, I probably would have missed it if I hadn't seen others with pastries.
Toasters.
But before I dive into the pastries, we need to talk about the toasters.

The toasters ... confused me.  I ignored them the first few days.  Why did they have water on top?
Steaming Toaster?
Next to the toasters was a sign with instructions, including pouring water into the spout on the top.  Uh, I've never put water in a toaster before.  This was very confusing, but, well explained.

The sign also told you exactly which settings to use for each baked good, including the danishes and croissants.  Normally hotels have big signs telling you not to attempt to toast these things, so, the crazy toasters served a good purpose.

And, it turns out, this was actually easy to use.  It transformed my chocolate croissant.  I'm not sure what the water did, or how the different settings worked, but, it worked.  I think the Japanese might win at toasters.
Fruit Danishes, Jam, Butter.
Three types of fruit danishes (orange, apricot, blueberry raspberry) were always offered, they never seemed to change.  They looked exactly like the ones I had at Sheraton on the Park in Sydney, but, they were actually much better.  Not awesome, but better.

Individual Berenberg brand jams (strawberry, blueberry), orange marmalade, and honey were provided, plus pats of butter.
Orange Danish.
I tried the orange danish one day when a dining companion got it, and discarded it.  The pastry was decently flaky, decently layered, not spongy, not stale tasting.  Not amazing, not bad.  The center filling was a thick rich vanilla custard that I quite enjoyed.  Custards and puddings are so good in Tokyo.

On top was a delicious candied orange slice, and a juicy (canned?) mandarin.  Better than expected to be honest, but not patisserie quality.

I went for one later in the week as well, and this time, I warmed it up in the provided toaster, following the "danish" instructions.

It was even better this way, a bit more crispy and flaky on top, the custard was nice warm.  I again adored the candied mandarin.
Cereal Bread, Plain Bread, Chocolate Pretzel, Chocolate Croissant, Croissant.
I tried the chocolate pretzel, but, it was disappointing.  Just a soft bread, not much chocolate to it at all.
Chocolate Croissant.
I also tried the chocolate croissant.  But I didn't try it at room temperature.  I used the crazy toasters to heat it up.

It was also better than expected.

The pastry, decently flaky, although a bit greasy.  With the recommended heating method, it got nicely crisp on top, warm inside.  Certainly a nice touch.

The chocolate was dark chocolate, decent quality.  This is where the toaster transformed it though.  The chocolate was melty.  Perfectly melty.  Good quality, melty chocolate?  Oh yes please.  I had this on the morning the bread pudding disappointed me, and it made up for that.  I broke my croissant up into chunks, slathered them in the whipped cream I had for the bread pudding, and really enjoyed it.
Breads.
The bread/roll lineup was extensive: "Miso" bread, milk rolls, brioche, rice flour roll, and linseed rolls.

I tried the "miso" bread, because I like miso, and that sounds interesting, but, it was just soft bread, and I didn't taste any miso.

I also tried the rice flour roll, thinking it would be mochi like, but alas, it was not.  Just a boring soft roll.
Pain de Campagne.
More bread, a loaf to slice.

Made-To-Order Eggs

If you order the buffet, you also are asked what type of eggs you would like (in addition to the ones in buffet).  You can order anything, from scrambled, to fried, to beautiful looking omelets, to ... the "Chef's Special", which doesn't seem to ever change, but isn't listed with any details on the menu.
Chef's Special: Truffle Scrambled Eggs, Poached Egg, Foam, Prosciutto.
The first morning, I asked about the Chef's Special.  The server described it to me as scrambled eggs and poached eggs, plus prosciutto.   I figured that something had been lost in translation.  It wouldn't really have both types of eggs, right?

Nope, it did.

The base was incredibly luxurious scrambled eggs.  So creamy.  They really know how to do eggs here.  On top, poached egg.  And ... foam.  Why?  Not sure, but it added loft to the dish, and a bit of lightness.  Garnished with micro greens and a bit of shaved truffle.  Prosciutto on the sides.  A beautiful dish, really.

Given my platter from the buffet, I didn't really need the eggs, but, I do like Japanese eggs much more than American eggs.

This was sadly served only quasi warm however.
Perfectly Poached.
I cut into the poached egg, and was rewarded with this lovely image.  Yes, egg porn photos are required when the yolk is this perfect!

Seriously, look at that egg.  Amazing color, perfectly poached.
Chef's Special: Truffle Scrambled Eggs, Poached Egg, Foam, Prosciutto.
A few days later, I got the Chef's special again.

This time, I was able to taste the truffle mixed in with the scrambled eggs much more, and I loved them.  Again, so fluffy and creamy, and the truffle amount seemed quite generous.

I didn't really want the rest of the dish though, so pondered if I could just order truffle scrambled eggs?  The menu has scrambled eggs, but not truffled ones ...

A few days later, I went for the eggs again, but, major inconsistency reared its head here.  Those luxurious, creamy, scrambled eggs?  Replaced by dried out watery eggs.  Barely any truffle.  Sigh.
Omelet: Herb, Cheese, Onion.
The second day, I went for an omelet.  Not something I normally get, but they looked so perfect!

I had my choice of items to mix in (ham, cheese, onion, tomato, herb), and opted for herbs because everyone else seemed to get this, cheese because, uh, cheese, and onions for some more flavor.

My omelet was brought over as soon as I returned from the buffet, and served with a side of ketchup, with its own cute spoon.

The omelet was picture perfect.  Soft, runny inside almost, by design.  Flavorful from the herbs and onions.  Nice melty cheese. 

Certainly a high quality omelet, but still my not really thing. I'm glad I tried it though.
Fried Eggs, Over Medium.
By the 4th day, I was getting bored with eggs, and the buffet was so plentiful that I really didn't need or want eggs, but, I tried my old standby: fried eggs over medium.  I was worried that would be hard to order, but, it wasn't.

The eggs were ... fine.  Whites not rubbery, a bit crispy, nicely done.  Yolks were medium, just a bit of ooze when I cut into them, but not fully cooked through anywhere.

A bit boring as is, but of course I slathered this in seaweeds, crispy bits, and sauces.
Scrambled Eggs.
My final morning, I opted for scrambled eggs, hoping they'd have some of the creamy amazingness of the truffled ones in the chef's dish.

They did not.

I hated these eggs.  They were really chunky, and not creamy.  They tasted like the powdered kind, although I can't imagine they were.  Worst eggs of the trip.

Drinks

The buffet includes cold juices and water, plus coffee or tea to order.
Juices.
The juice lineup included 3 Yoga brand bottled juics (apricot, pear, peach), and 5 fresh (?) juices (Orange, Grapefruit, Apple, Tomato, Mixed Vegetable).

I didn't try any, but the Yoga ones seemed very popular.
Waters.
Sparkling, still, and mineral water were available, plus elder flour syrup to mix in. A bit random, but, maybe that is normal in Japan?
Regular Coffee.
For hot coffee, you are provided your own carafe of coffee, which I appreciated so I could have a full cup the entire time I was there.  Which was necessary the first few days, because, serious jet lag!
The coffee however was very watery and weak.  It didn't taste bad, but it certainly didn't taste much like coffee.

It was a bit better other days, but always pretty weak.
Iced Coffee.
One morning I went to breakfast straight from the very hot gym.  I didn't want hot coffee.

I hesitantly asked if they had iced coffee. Even in other English speaking countries, I've had so much trouble getting iced coffee (like, uh, Devon Cafe in Sydney).  But here it was no problem.  Which I had hoped, given that even 7-Eleven has iced coffee.

My iced coffee was much stronger than the regular, and really quite decent.  Served in a tall glass, with a straw provided (!), and liquid sugar syrup too.  Clearly, they do this often, and, well.

Japanese Set Menu

Most of the set menus weren't particularly interesting, but I saw the Japanese one being delivered to other tables, and it looked too stunning to pass up.  So I made my dining companion get it a few times.
Japanese Breakfast Menu.
The English offered on the menu was simple: Appetizer, Simmered Dish, Grilled Fish, Nori Seaweed, Rice, Miso Soup, Pickles, Fresh Fruit, Coffee.

Clearly, the Japanese version gave more details, but, for us it was pretty much a mystery.

It did take a while to prepare, so could be a bit awkward if you were dining with someone ordering a set menu, and someone opting for the buffet or faster a la carte option.
Japanese Breakfast. 3900 yen.
My dining companion went for the Japanese breakfast several times (priced the same as the buffet).

The presentation was elaborate, he had his own little house!  Seriously, look at this thing.  Each level was filled with slide-out compartments filled with so many goodies.  There was lots to take in.

I'm sure I'll miss a few details here, but it had (starting from left):

  • White rice, Slice of melon
  • Custard topped with Uni. Crab topped Almond Tofu. Pickled Plum.
  • Steamed Spinach, Japanese pickles. Grilled salmon, Fish Cakes (?), with a slice of lemon, 2 beans, and a shrimp.
  • Simmered noodles with beef and crab claw.  Piece of sea weed. Miso Soup with Seaweed and Mushrooms. Soy Sauce.
He raved about the quality of the simple white rice, the refreshing melon (especially how it was better than fruit in buffet), the tart pickled plum, and the pickles.  The two crab dishes were a mixed success.

The salmon I tried, it was ok, but didn't have much sauce coating it, was fully cooked, not the style I prefer.  The sliced thing with it seemed to be some kind of shrimp cake perhaps? No real flavor.

I also tried some of the crunchy pickles (standard Japanese style pickles), the tofu stuff (good flavor from sesame sauce), and of course, the uni.  More on that in a moment.

Overall, an amazing selection, and I think he enjoyed it.  He wasn't ever sure what to use the soy sauce, or the wrapped slice of nori, with.
Uni Custard.
I kinda stole the uni.  Each time.

This was a uni flavored omelet on the bottom, topped with two little lobes of uni, some kind of sauce (roe?), and a leaf.

Was it the best uni ever?  Nah.  Was it much uni?  Nah.  But, I love uni, so I really appreciated this.

A la carte

I saved the best for last, a la carte order, of the french toast.  I just didn't know it, and if I had, I certainly would have ordered this sooner.
French Toast: 3 types of taste. ¥2,500.
"Roasted banana and raisins・Cooked ham and comte cheese・Fresh berries." 

The menu said "3 types of taste", but I wasn't asked which of the three I wanted.  I had no idea what I'd get, but it turned out to be a trio.  One savory, one sweet, one kinda tart.

Served, as I hoped, with more of that amazing caramel agave and a tiny bowl of whipped cream.  The whipped cream portion initially didn't look Julie-sufficient, but, this french toast didn't actually need more.

What a platter.

Quite honestly, the best french toast I've ever had.  In my life.  Incredible.

Let's talk about the french toast bases, as they were all the same.

Thick slices of what I think was just a wheat bread, a bit hearty, and not what I'd normally think would make great french toast.  That said, it absorbed the batter well, was incredibly moist, and the batter was well seasoned and flavorful, a hint of cinnamon.  The edges were the best part though.  Soooo crispy.  This was like the best parts of bread pudding (soft moist interior and crispy top), but in a different form.  It wasn't eggy at all.  I really really loved this base.
Cooked ham and comte cheese.
First up, savory.

I'm not sure if I've ever had savory french toast, but I've had plenty of savory bread pudding, so, why not?  Plus, it felt responsible to have protein with the french toast.

The ham was the same carved to order ham from the buffet, a bit smoky, quite flavorful.  The comte was *perfectly* melted.

This was salty and gooey and savory on its own, but when drizzled with a bit of the caramel agave, it become almost like a monte cristo.

A good start, but my least favorite, because, hey, I'm a sweet tooth.
"Roasted Banana and Raisins."
Next, sweet.

This one had a baby banana, split, roasted, soft, and caramelized.  It was sweet, it was lovely.  I'm not normally a huge banana fan, but I loved this.  It went especially well with the caramel agave and whipped cream.

The menu also said "raisins", which certainly were not present, and I didn't mind at all, as I don't really care for raisins.

Hands down my favorite, and I devoured it in an instant. Very glad this came as a trio, as I probably wouldn't have selected this one if I was only picking one.
"Fresh Berries".
Finally, tart-ish.

I think this was the same fruit as in the yogurt bar in the buffet?  Something like a cranberry, but I'm not sure it was actually cranberry.  It was also not "fresh berries" as advertised, but again, I didn't mind the false descriptions, as this worked better.

This grew on me.  I didn't like it much when I used it on pancakes, and I didn't love the first few bites, but once I got used to the flavor, sorta tart, sorta sweet, I did like it.  The sauce was also a nice touch, good for soaking up.  The berries themselves were soft and great pops of texture.

This one went well with the whipped cream too.  My second favorite, and I especially appreciated stealing the edges off this one, and eating them with just the caramel agave and whipped cream.  So good.
French Toast: Take Two.
The next day, I encouraged my dining companion to get the french toast, telling him over and over how amazing it was.

Guess what?  Yeah, inconsistency again.

Here though, it did at least match the menu.

His banana version *did* have golden raisins.  His berry one had assorted mixed berries, including fresh blueberry and raspberry.  His ham and cheese however was far worse for the wear, cold, congealed cheese, not melted.

He didn't love this, and shared a bunch with me.  And, yeah, the french toast wasn't cooked as well.  Not the same crispy edges, although it was still nicely seasoned, moist inside, and not too eggy.

Still, nothing compared to the glory of my first day.
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