Freshly made pesto? Don't mind if I do!
Among the many divine restaurants the Grand Hyatt has to offer is Fiorentina, an elegant-yet-casual Italian eatery with adjacent patisserie, located on its ground floor.
It’s easy to stumble in to buy a blueberry muffin, only to end up staying for lunch or dinner, having been seduced by the scent of homemade pasta, the soft and unobtrusive music, and the extraordinary Hyatt service. In warmer months, the outdoor terrace serves as a vivacious social playground or a hideaway for quiet reading—the choice is yours!
The lunches are primarily of the light pasta variety (starting from ¥2,200 plus tax). Fresh pasta dishes start at ¥3,400 and gnocchi at ¥3,000. Options include fettuccine alla carbonara, porcini, truffle (¥3,400), and fettuccine, porcini, shrimp, clam (¥3,400 plus tax).
My indulgence is twofold. The soup of the day (¥950 plus tax) is simple yet extremely flavorsome—thick, green-pea soup served with warm baked bread and olive oil.
The crown of the meal is the bavettini alla genovese (¥2,800 plus tax)—king crab, green asparagus, and genovese pesto. This winning crab-and-pesto combination is decadent and reminds one of the sea and summer. The serving of crab flaked throughout is very generous, and the pesto is made moments before serving. Freshly-ground, the basil’s fragrance permeates the room. Perfect for seafood lovers.
For the fresh pasta options, try the slow-cooked ragù. Alternately, try the latest specialty: a range of polenta-based dishes such as the stewed Japanese beef cheek in red wine, white polenta, truffle sauce (¥4,400 plus tax).
Italians know how to celebrate the humble polenta and elevate it to another level. The inclusion of polenta in more and more high-end restaurants around the globe is becoming evident. Slowly but surely, it’s creeping in and taking over some of the entrées and mains in creative and clever ways.
Warning: On the way out, you may want to buy half the patisserie. Exercise control; do not yield.
If sweets aren’t your thing, look out for the small but carefully chosen selection of wines in the patisserie. If you’re lucky, the following may be available for sale: Franciacorta—the sparkling wine from the Italian region of Lombardy; or the Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé, the French wine created as a result of Famille Perrin’s collaboration with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Buon appetito!
Grand Hyatt Tokyo, 6-10-3 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-4333-8780. Open daily 9am-10pm. Nearest station: Roppongi. http://restaurants.tokyo.grand.hyatt.com/fiorentina-italian-restaurant
Photo: Bavettini alla genovese (Photo by Vesna Kevork)