It’s been two years since I started this blog! Thanks to everyone who has supported Foodsaurus along the way. To mark Foodsaurus’ 2nd Blogversary, I’ve written a photo essay (yes, this post is really long!) about our degustation meal at Tapas Molecular Bar in Tokyo, where Peter and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary in April this year.
Tapas Molecular Bar is located on the 38th floor at the Mandarin Oriental and like the name suggests, it features a bar that exclusively seats eight people at each of their daily two seatings. So we were stoked to get a booking two months before our trip!
As you will see, dining at Tapas Molecular Bar was like sitting in a science lab where we watched mad scientists prepare spectacular food for us to eat… Enjoy :)
As an aperitif, we were served a Bloody Mary – traditionally a drink but in this case it’s served as a layered tomato cube packed with flavours from the cocktail!
Celery Root, Chicken Heart
Next up, we were served our first snack – Celery Root, Chicken Heart served on a plank of wood. I don’t remember much about the chicken heart as my eyes were drawn to the impressive edible paper crane.
Celery Root, Chicken Heart
Here’s a close up shot of the paper crane made using celery root. This delicate and cripsy crane looked too pretty to even be eaten!
Crystal Ravioli, this gelatin package was to be eaten in one bite so that you could taste the ravioli filling in one mouthful. Unfortunately, I don’t remember what was inside the ravioli :(
After the ravioli, our chefs made caviar by releasing droplets of green apple flavoured liquid into a calcium bath using the syringes.
Green Apple and Cheese
The green apple caviar was used for this dish, Green Apple and Cheese. The cheese was the foam on top of the caviar. Sounds strange but it didn’t taste too weird!
Salmon Chazuke was a spin on the traditional Japanese dish where you pour hot liquid over cooked rice. In this case, the chefs placed crispy miso bits on top of a spherified ball filled with tea and served it alongside a piece of slightly charred salmon.
And now for the actual degustation as the dishes before were apparently just snacks! On the left, we were served some Tempura vegetables on top of edible soil and what I remember to be avocado paste? And on the right, more veggies including a micro radish and white asparagus.
King Crab, Aurora
King Crab, Aurora - delicious king crab served with foam and a Japanese edible leaf with natural beads all over it, giving it an interesting texture when you eat it.
Our chefs then proceeded to create a Porcini Mushroom Cappuccino by using a coffee percolator to infuse dried porcini mushroom and coffee into a chicken broth. This was amazing to watch, and the flavours of this cappuccino was intense!
Porcini Mushroom Cappuccino
Yurine Espuma- This dish had black truffle written all over it, truffle foam, truffle oil and truffle shavings. At the bottom of the dish there were bits of lily bulbs that made the dish divine. This was an amazing soup and I think this dish would turn anyone into a truffle fan.
The chefs are making a piece of artwork for us.
Crest of a Wave
The Crest of a Wave masterpiece. I felt transported to the seaside with the rocks (non-edible), champagne foam, scallops and onions on our plate.
Our chefs are smoking our fish for our next dish…. and so that you could also experience it, I’ve made an animation… there was actually more smoke than this, but I just used a few frames instead of the 20 I snapped.
The Amadai fish was delicious paired with peaches(?) you could taste the smokiness and it was really cool seeing the smoke dissipate as we opened the lid.
For our next course we were served Lamb, Straw. The lamb cutlet was no ordinary cutlet as the chefs had inserted pomegranate juice and sealed the cutlet back with meat glue. The pomegranate juice exploded in our mouths when we ate it in one bite. As with the straw, the larger straws were not edible as it was encased in the glass bowl, but the smaller straws were. I don’t remember the taste of the straw as the pomegranate exploding lamb was just too good.
This dish was a play on the famous Japanese dish called Gyudon, which literally means ‘beef bowl’. In this case, the chefs deconstructed the popular dish and served all the elements different to the original version. This included, a sou vide wagyu beef, crispy piece of onion, rice bubbles and thick tasty sauce.
This wasn’t on our menus but the chefs threw it in as a bonus. A cherry blossom Sorbet that was made with liquid nitrogen. The sorbet was smooth, sweet and fruity.
Cherry Blossom Sorbet
Cherry Garden with Snow
After the sorbet, we were presented with this plate… the chefs explained to us that this was a garden that is covered with winter snow. They then told us that we had to use a spray can that was provided to spray the “snow” and uncover the garden.
Cherry Garden with Wood, Blossom, Fruit and Essence
And here it is! Spring has arrived and the Cherry Garden is revealed. It was an edible garden. The branch was created by chocolate biscuits with bits of nuts and leaves on the side. The cherry at the centre of the dish was pitted and filled with something else and had a melt-in-the-mouth texture to it. The cherry rested on a curled up jelly. I wish I had taken a better photo of this! It was an incredible dessert.
We thought the night was over as we had already reached the end of our menu. But we were in for a surprise. As we had informed the restaurant that we were celebrating our wedding anniversary, Chef Kento presented us an egg…
It looked like a normal egg to us. But he told us to snatch it off him at the count of three. When he had counted to three, Chef Kento smashed the egg onto the table!
And there appeared a beautiful paper crane… Genius.
After the surprise egg came a plate of Fruit. We were told to eat half of the strawberry and lick the citrus (lemon, lime and orange) starting from the right. Once we had done this, we were told to pop the little bean on our right into our mouths and twirl it around for 30 seconds. We then spat the bean out and were told to try the fruit again starting from the left this time.. the fruit tasted completely different – they tasted extremely sweet! The bean turned out to be a miracle fruit that originated from Africa.
Our gastronomic experience at Tapas Molecular Bar was mind-blowing. We were expecting innovative food but this meal went beyond our expectations. We felt as if we had been transported into a Heston Blumenthal episode or something! Tapas Molecular Bar is highly recommended if you want a unique experience to remember!
Tapas Molecular Bar
Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, 2-1-1 Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 103-8328
+81 (3) 3270 8800