So Boo-chan’s birthday was on Sunday (Feb 24), but since he was extremely busy with work we had to celebrate two days later. Yesterday, I planned a day of indulgence. Our first stop was the 5th floor of the Gyre Building, Ukai-tei (うかい亭) in Omotesando (表参道).
Ukai Tei is an impressive teppanyaki restaurant that resembles an elegant 150 year old merchant house. It perfectly integrates Japanese tradition and western beauty and consumes the entire floor.
1. When we first arrived our coats were taken and we waited in a small red lounge area facing the entrance. 2. The area also had a full bar with a view of the city in the background (it was difficult to take pics with the lighting). Other parties we also waiting there patiently. A couple of minutes later we were escorted to our seats in the main dining area.
As we walked through the halls of this “house” all of the servers, chefs and workers politely greeted us and bowed. 1. We were the first diners in this gorgeous all-glass room and sat right in the middle of the main round counter dining area. It was a sunny day in Tokyo, so the sunshine was a little bit blinding (but my eyes quickly adjusted). The wall behind the grill had beautiful mosaic tiles that sublimated traditional Japanese patterns. 2. Each place setting was on a lacquer tray and the teppan gril was right in front of each seat.
When I made reservations, I decided on our course. The menu is simple, and there are only 3 lunch courses to choose from. We would have the sirloin steak lunch course (サーロイン ステーキ ランチ コース). Boo-chan ordered a dry white wine and I had a Royal Blue Tea (non-alcoholic)–I’m still sick and hate drinking with nothing in my tummy. Each party has their own private chef that cooks right in front of them.
Appetizer (前菜): Fresh slices of kawahagi carpaccio (カワハギのカルパッチョ) topped with seaweed, flavored with a citrus sauce and served on a beautiful carved glass dish.
Sweet Potato Soup (さつまいものスープ): Made from baked anno sweet potatoes (安納芋) that were pureed into a soup. It was sweet, creamy and divine. I loved the dainty dishes it was served in. The soup’s color perfectly enhanced the design of autumn leaves.
Sauteed Scallops (帆立のソテー): 1. The large scallops were first seasoned with salt and pepper and then grilled to perfection. The broccoli was sauteed with finely chopped onions in a combination of clam juice, butter and a dash of white wine. 2. It was topped with a yuzu onion mixture, and then drizzled with the clam juice butter sauce. The yuzu really complimented the scallops. Very VERY flavorful (oh how I love scallops!!). 3. It was dressed on a blue and white bone china dish. Warm fresh bread was also served with this dish (it tasted fantastic when dipped in the clam juice butter sauce). It came on a cute but unusually shaped bread plate..
Ukai Beef Sirloin Steak (うかい牛サーロインステーキ): 1. While the garlic chips were cooking, the scent made me hungrier. The steak was seared on the grill. It was paired with a fresh onion salad. The salad was surprisingly sweet and was dressed with a ponzu sauce. 2. The steak could be enjoyed as is, or dressed with ground pepper, wasabi mustard and/or garlic chips. 2. It was served on a rhombus shaped plate and had red and blue leaves on it. The dipping sauces were in carved glass bowls. 3. The steak was brown on the outside and medium on the inside–just right.
Garlic Rice (ガーリック ライス): Minced garlic was first heated on the grill with oil. Then white rice and soy sauce was added and mixed thoroughly. 1. The rice was carefully made and wasn’t the least bit sticky. It was paired with red miso soup (赤出し味噌汁) served in black lacquer-ware and Japanese pickles (香の物) that were in a small dish with orange flowers on it. 2. The rice bowl had beautiful purple flowers painted on the outside and on the rim of the inside.
After we finished our meal, we washed it down with a hot cup of hoji tea (ほうじ茶). It came in a petite ceramic tea cup. Persimmons (柿) were depicted on the cup. It helped settle our stomachs and refresh our mouthes. We were then ushered into the dessert lounge for tea and sweets.
1. We passed by many ancient artifacts encased in glass in the hallway that lead us to the lounge. 2. It was like walking through a museum inside of a house, it was their own private art gallery full of exquisite perfume bottles and containers.
The hallways were dimly lit, but once you arrived at the dessert lounge it was bright again. 1. With full glass walls, you can admire a different view from the main dining lounge. The lounge had antique furniture which gave a classic feel. 2. I love the attention to details and the shape of the arched ceiling. 3. It was a little too sunny so we needed to pull down the shades.
Dessert and Coffee or Tea (デザートとコーヒー／紅茶): 1. Boo-chan ordered a coffee and I ordered a tea with milk. They were served in blue and white bone china. The cream for the coffee and milk for the tea were both served warm in glass containers. We were handed a menu to choose our main dessert. 2. I was enticed by the Amao Strawberries and chose the chiffon cake. The strawberries tasted extraordinary and the chiffon cake was light and fluffy.
1. Boo-chan wanted the chocolate parfait, which was created for adults. The home-made ice cream was sweet and the chocolate was bitter. It made for a perfect combination. It was brought out with a birthday message written in chocolate. 2. They also bought out a small music box which played happy birthday! It was wonderful and different from the usual birthday serenade of employees.
You would think the lunch had ended, but it was the beginning of more desserts! Our tea and coffee was kindly refilled. 1. A pastry chef bought out the dessert wagon which was a buffet of mini desserts. 2.Boo-chan’s plate. 3. My plate (I wasn’t going to hold back-hahaha). The green wrapped candy was pistachio caramel–it was heavenly!
Many people don’t know that the dessert lounge is also opened on the weekdays to non-diners too, from 12:00-18:00. Everything tasted scrumptious. Had a very fulfilling, enjoyable lunch. Boo-chan seemed happy which made me happy. With our full bellies we walked along cat street and in Omotesando and did a little shopping and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon. Stay tuned for part 2: dinner time at Fonda de la Madrugada!
ms fancy pants tokyo & the birthday boy
- Omotesando Ukai-tei
- 5-10-1 Jingu-mae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
- Omotesando Gyre 5F
- Mon-Fri Lunch: 11:30-14:30 Dinner 17:30-21:00
- Sat-Sun 11:30-21:00