Nothing is as fascinating, as irresistibly exiting or as endlessly interesting as YOU, full stop. And you deserve the best, even more so if it happens to be a special occasion. For one such special occasion, I end up at Tapas Molecular Bar at Mandarin Oriental in Tokyo, and want to share my experience.
In case you wonder, molecular gastronomy is a sub-discipline of food science that explores physical and chemical transformations of ingredients while cooking and is built around three pillars, i.e. social, artistic and technical. You will find yourself seated at a bar with other 6 or 7 guests and the chefs will do all the magic right in front of your eyes. Don’t assume that you know what is in your plate, you may be surprised!
Do you remember that movie scene where a protagonist is about to dine in a restaurant and is first given a plate with a small white round thick-coin looking thing. He/she eats it perhaps thinking it is an amuse-bouche, but…it appears to be a hand towel.
That’s how you start, “growing” your hand tower and discovering a tool box to be used during the dinner. I really mean tool box, as it will have a pincer, a small hammer and a few similar objects. The chef assures that all of them will be used tonight.
The menu comes as a meter; like the one you would use doing refurbishment works at home, and stretches to approx. 1.2 meters, that’s how long it takes to list all 16 dishes that will be served to you one after another.
Snacks, appetizer, degustation, Japanese breakfast, and finally sweets to taste all 16 dished listed on the menu.
Believe me, your favourite changes after each subsequent one, and if you are not impressed by amount of skill, creativity and work that goes into each dish that you eat in one bite, then perhaps you should not be there.
I do not want to spoil the surprise should you decide to try it one day, but will show you a few examples. As I said, nothing is as it seems, even if you see an egg in your plate, you can be sure, it is not an egg. Ask the chef!
And by the time you receive another set with the identical “hand towel”, double check first 😉
Special occasions have special treats. When the dinner is almost over, the chef appears with a boiled egg and puts it in front of me. “When I count to three, you have to take it carefully and verify if it is real”. OK, I nod. Yet, with the three, at the time I am taking it in my hand, the chef is faster to smash the egg and I get a perfect Japanese origami crane that was inside, with a wish.
What can I say? Never try to understand the secret of the trick, as the magic will lose all its charm! I choose to believe in magic 😉