Friday, September 4, 2009

A Classy Lunch at Torisho Taka

Torisho Taka by Aoki is part of the venerable Les Amis group of restaurants, however not many people know about it. Tucked away discreetly on the second floor of Gallery Hotel, sliding the simple wooden door open will transport you to a quiet, tranquil, and definitely very posh looking interior. While Torisho Taka specializes in yakitori, however, for lunch, the grill is not fired up and only set lunches or the dishes on the ala carte menu are available. The three of us dithered for a while over whether to order the wagyu beef or kurobuta pork. Eventually the kurobuta won out and we all ordered different variations (kurobuta don, kurobuta with teriyaki sauce, kurobuta with ginger). All sets include a light wafu salad, chawanmushi, pickles, dessert (no question about it, just go straight for the cheesecake option), and premium tea. They were priced affordably too, starting from $22 from the ramen sets, while the Australian kurobuta and wagyu sets were about $30.

My kurobuta pork was juicy and oily and served on a bed of soft, fluffy and super fragrant Japanese rice- Oiishi! One of my dining companions fared less well with his teriyaki kurobuta, which was a little tough, so he might have gotten the less fatty cut of meat. The chawanmushi drew nothing but praises from all of us – über silky smooth in a wondrously tasty chicken broth, in fact better than Tatsuya’s chawanmushi that had been my favourite so far. It was only later that I realized that Torisho actually stands for “chicken specialist” so perhaps we should have ordered the chicken dishes or the ramen in chicken broth. And that cheesecake! Drool… it was the best Japanese version that I’ve tasted, light but still rich and creamy…I ate it very very slowly, bit by bit, so that I could stretch out the enjoyment.

Service is absolutely beyond reproach, as expected from a Les Amis restaurant. As we were eating, the place slowly but steadily filled up with what looked like (very rich) regulars, much to our surprise, so it looks like it’s a well-kept secret among the tai-tai community.

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