Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Breakfast @ Victor's, Westin Tokyo

During my stay at the Westin in Tokyo, I was able to indulge in many epic breakfasts.  The options were fairly generous.  I could opt for the easiest option, an expanded continental buffet in the Executive Lounge (quick, calm, more than extensive enough, and perfect if you have massive buffet fatigue).  Or, go all in, for the HUGE multi-national buffet at the Terrace restaurant (the complete opposite of the lounge, extremely noisy, frantic, and way too many options).  Or, at the other end of the spectrum, I could dine at Victor's, the fancy french restaurant on the top floor.

My final morning, I decided to check it out, even though I knew it would not be a fast option, and, I certainly could go straight from a morning workout in my gym clothes.  I skipped my morning workout, put on adult clothing, and headed up to breakfast.
Breakfast @ Victor's.
It really was completely different from the buffet choices.

A real restaurant, and quite a fancy one at that.  There were only a couple other tables with diners at them.  Service was fantastic.  It was very quiet and calm.

If you want a longer, formal meal, this is certainly a good option.

Setting

Victor's is located on the top floor, adjacent to the Compass Rose (a bar that I enjoyed a few drinks at previous nights, also recommended).
Interior.
The decor was formal elegant, with columns and large paintings on the walls, white table cloths, padded chairs.

Soft music played in the background.
Place Setting.
Tables were set with napkins in napkin rings, water goblets, and multiple sets of utensils.

Like I said, not exactly a casual breakfast offering.

Menu

Even at breakfast, a set menu is prominent, but there are some limited a la carte items are available.  The menu certainly didn't lead you to them though.
Exclusive Breakfast. Y4,630.
The main menu at Victor's is the "Exclusive Breakfast", normally a lofty Y4,630.  It is an odd three course menu, and not one I was particularly pleased with:

Morning starter’s
Selection of morning starters: Please choose from below…..
  • Juice : Orange , Grapefruit , Tomato , Cranberry , Pineapple
  • Milk : Milk , Low fat milk , Soy milk , Non fat milk
  • Yogurt : Plain or Low fat served with Berry or Banana
  • Smoothie : Superfoods Blueberry
Energizers 
Selection of Energizers ; Please choose from below…..
  • Bread basket : From our bakery kitchen including White bread , Whole wheat, Rye bread , Croissant , Danish , Scone
  • Cereals : Corn flakes , All bran , Rice crispies , Muesli , Oatmeal served hot
  • Victorʼs energizer : French toast Orange Flavor , Pancakes Lemon Flavor
Nutritious plate
Selection of Nutritious plates ; Please choose which elevates your senses today…
  • Victor's: Egg cooked any style your with choice of extras : Sausage , Bacon , Ham , Chicken breast Sautéed vegetables , mashed potato
  • Power up: Minute steak with fried egg , Balsamic sauce, Sautéed vegetables , mashed potato
  • High Protein: Egg white omelet , pan fried bean curd , seasonal vegetables
  • Refreshing Morning Salad: Chilled spa egg , mixed green salad and avocado , tomato dressing
So, looking at the menu.  I needed to select a juice / smoothie / yogurt / milk as a starter.  I wanted none of those things.

Then one "Energizer".  I thought that the "Victor's Energizer" would be a piece of french toast and a pancake, since it was listed as "Victor's Energizer", and had no "or's" in it, but alas, if you went for that, you needed to pick just one or the other.  I wanted to try both of these!

I also was interested in the bread basket, but that *did* include everything listed, and I certainly didn't want three slices of toast, a danish, a croissant, and scones.  I just wanted the scones, as I saw someone else with the bread basket, and the scones looked good (and were served with clotted cream!).  But alas, I could go for the entire bread basket OR french toast OR pancakes. None of these were available from the a la carte menu.

Finally, I was supposed to pick a "Nutritious plate", all egg based dishes served with tons of sides.  I don't really like eggs.  I didn't want steak, mashed potatoes, tofu, and cooked veggies for breakfast.

Really, not the menu for me.
A la carte, Page 1.
So I moved on to the a la carte menu, but it was not what I was looking for either.

"Superfoods" (e.g. smoothies, oatmeal, egg whites), "Egg dishes" (omelets), "Main Dish" (just the steak), and Salads were all that the first page offered. No breakfast carbs, nothing I wanted.
A la carte: Page 2.
Next, "Vegetable dish" (mashed potatoes, veggies, hash browns), fruits, yogurt, cereal, and toast.

Still, no french toast, pancakes, or breakfast pastries.
A la carte: Beverages.
And lastly, beverages. Just juices, coffee, tea.

Food & Drink

In the end, I basically got what I wanted: french toast and pancakes, although it took several back and forths, and repeated explanations that I didn't want a starter or an egg dish, and I didn't want to pick one or the other.  I'm glad they let me do this, but clearly, Victor's wasn't the right venue for me.

I also wanted sparkling water, but, just like in the restaurant downstairs, that would incur an extra fee, no eligible for SPG amenity inclusion.
Coffee.
As I sat, I was asked if I'd like coffee or tea.  I went for coffee.  It was brought promptly, with the menu.

It was a very strong coffee, and not particularly good.  I noted later that the a la carte menu had both"coffee" and "American coffee" listed, and I'm sure this was the former (note the small size), but, it also was just too acidic and harsh for me.
Decaf Coffee. 
Since I needed a second cup to pair with my food, as that tiny cup was gone far too fast, I moved on to decaf.  I actually liked it much more.  Less harsh, and it didn't taste instant.
Toppings: Butter, Syrup, Whipped Cream.
Alongside my "energizers", I was provided two packaged butters, a small pitcher of syrup, and a bowl of whipped cream.

I'm not sure if all of this normally comes with each of the dishes, or if just syrup and butter goes with the pancake, whipped cream with the french toast, etc, but I was glad to see these.  I wanted to ask for them (especially whipped cream), but I already felt like such a difficult case I didn't want to press my luck.
Pancake, Lemon Flavor.
First up, the pancake.

A large, fluffy, good looking pancake.  Nice presentation with the lemon garnish and little herb.

But it was the least remarkable pancake I've probably ever had.  It had a slight lemon flavor to it, but mostly, it just tasted like dry cake.  It wasn't burnt, it wasn't thin, it wasn't flabby, but wow, it was just highly uninteresting.

I slathered on butter and syrup, but nothing made this taste like anything.  I was very glad I had opted for two dishes!
French Toast, Orange Flavor.
The french toast was better.

A large thick slice, clearly coated in eggy batter, topped with mandarin oranges and some little herb.  They clearly do a nice job with presentation.

As an aside, I need to discuss french toast in general.

French toast, like bread pudding, comes in many styles.  Sometimes it is just a thin slice of regular bread in a slightly cinnamon-y batter (boo). Sometimes it is super eggy, with scrambled eggs almost poking out the sides (double boo).  Sometimes it is soggy.  Sometimes it is dry, and relies on you to add lots of butter and syrup.  Other times it is rich bread, crispy on top, moist inside, like bread pudding.  Huge variety, but in general, I'm not a huge fan of french toast, as it just often isn't the specific style I like.

That said, I had fantastic french toast at The Prince Gallery Oasis restaurant just days before, so I hoped to relive that, thinking perhaps Tokyo style french toast was the kind I liked.

This was somewhere in the middle.  No where near as good as the one at Oasis, but certainly not simple boring flabby french toast.

The bread was a large chunk of standard french loaf, lots of crust.  I didn't care for all the crust, it was chewy yet soggy.  Because, this was very, very, moist french toast.  Honestly, I'm not sure I've had french toast this moist before.  I am not sure that was by design, as it almost seemed like they just failed to cook it long enough? Or soaked it too long?  I couldn't even tell if it had been cooked on a cooktop.

Once I got over the surprise of this being a soggy/moist pile of custardy bread, I was more ok with it.  I tried to think of it as very custardy bread pudding, without a crispy top.  I mostly scooped out the near liquid interior, and left behind the chewy soggy crust.

It was very orange flavored though, clearly soaked in lots of orange juice perhaps.  I didn't actually want orange flavored french toast, so I wished it wasn't so orange-y, but, since it was advertised as an orange item, they did do well there.

I added all the whipped cream, and all the syrup, to this, and found it decently enjoyable, although certainly not something I'd get again.
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