Tapas Molecular Bar in Mandarin Oriental Tokyo
マンダリンオリエンタル東京のタパス モレキュラーバー

For my birthday, my husband booked a special dinner for me.
It's called Tapas Molecular Bar, located on the 38th floor in Mandarin Oriental Tokyo.

We've watched an episode of El Bulli in Spain on Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservation" so when we saw the website of Tapas, it was easy to imagine what it would be.

But Tapas only takes 8 people at each dinner course and it's held twice for dinner time.
It's either from 6pm or 8:30pm and of course, reservation is a must.
If you have any allergy or prefer not eating some ingredients, they'll take care of it if you contact them in advance.

When we went up to the 38th floor, there's a lounge with big windows and we're guided to seat a table there till the table is ready.
The ceiling is high, it's almost sunset so the whole area was orange and bright.

We ordered some non-alcoholic drinks and they came with complimentary.

While waiting, I turned around and looked at the counter where we'll be seated.
Yes, the counter is the Tapas Molecular Bar.

When it's about 6pm, we moved to the counter and sat.
As it's like a session, people need to be there on time but that day, a couple of people came late, who weren't our acquaintances, so the starting time got pushed back.

At the table, a silver menu was set in front of you.

Not like other restaurant, they won't take away the menu but instead, you can keep it underneath the glass cover which was what the silver menu was placed over it first.

As it's a dinner course, they started with aperitif, and if you ask them when you reserve, you can get non-alcoholic drink instead.
I got a regular menu for all the course.

There're 2 chefs; Japanese and British, so they can do in Japanese and English.

This is the aperitif. (You can only get one glass, FYI.)
Cherry Bonbon

Cheery is coated by jelly made with alcoholic beverage.
2 chefs told us to drink (eat?) it at one bite.

It was really sweet and I didn't taste much alcohol in it, which was nice.

Degustation starts here.
The actual order wasn't same as it's written on the menu, but to make it easy to follow, I'd write the order copying the menu list.

Stone Potato
Can you tell which one is an edible potato?
You don't have to bite every single stone and they let you know which one is potato.
White one was the potato and inside it was really sweet, soft, and smooth.

Inside of the little tube, it's chorizo paste.
It had chorizo flavor but I liked it without the paste and I enjoyed the potato with salt or as it was served.
The skin was edible and it was made from wheat and water.
It was crispy and thin, a bit awkward to eat something hard around potato like that but it was of course a new thing to me.

Green Pea Mint
They started preparing this injections with green liquid inside.

Underneath the injection, there's transparent liquid.
It contained a certain ingredients to make the green liquid solid.

Once the cubes become solid, they're sauteed with bacon and served.
It looked like green peas and tasted the regular green pea I eat.

Fromage Blanc, Flower and Butterfly
The form was just squeezed out from a form maker.
Pink dressing at the bottom was sweet and sour.

Colorful petals are edible flowers and covering the white cheese underneath.

Butterfly was made of apple slice.

Spring Landscape
As it's called "landscape," it's served as if you got a little garden before you on a plate.

There're horsetail, aralia sprout, and osmund tempura standing on the m\avocado mousse.

Smoked Egg
I usually don't eat egg yolk so when it's served, my husband said I didn't have to eat the whole thing.

Chefs told us to enjoy the smoke flavor in the jar and the spoon on the right is a rusk.
When I opened the cover, white smoke came out and an excellent scent spread.

Surprisingly, the egg was so good and I could eat it all.
Egg itself had the smoky flavor, too even though it look just a normal bacon egg.

Green Laver, Razar Clam and Yuzu

It was my first time to try razar clam in my life.
Thanks to citrus refreshing yuzu scent, the clam was excellent. 

This was frozen seaweed (green laver).
Seaweed was finely chopped so if they didn't tell me, I wouldn't have known what it was.

Baby Pork Hazelnut
I didn't see any sauce over eat and wondering how to eat, the chefs said to us we needed to eat this one bite otherwise sauce inside would be leaked.

It was a bite size so wasn't hard to put in my mouth and putt the bone out.
As they instructed, as soon as the bone was taken out and I chewed, sauce came out from the inside.
There's no way we could have bitten the pork half since the sauce was a lot inside.

This isn't on the menu, but a little soup was served.
It was like bisque but a little bit different, it was heavier and more creamy.

Little cube on the side was sherry wine.

Warm Sizzling Beef
I saw them preparing the beef quickly but softly.
Beef was in a vacuum bag first then they started grilling with a burner.

Weird shaped cutlery was set for this.
By the way, every time we finished plate, they change all the cutlery when they take away plates.

It's served on a manga plate.

Close look.

They told us the manga on the plate is edible.
It uses mayo based sauce and screen print technique to have the pattern on the plate.

This is a soup in a ball.
As I thought, they told us not to bite.
Once I bit, I could smell fish dashi (broth) in my mouth even thought it didn't look like a soup at all.

They're making this while we're enjoying other plates and this is how they prepared the soup balls.
They dropped a measured amount of liquid into the water, which seemed similar to the green pea mint technique, and the beige soup became balls and kept the form.

The chef said if the balance of the chemical isn't right, the outside of the soup gets too hard to chew or too soft to hold the liquid inside.

Once all the balls are ready, they used an injection to put some more ingredients into the soup.
That's why the balls' shell needed to have a perfect thickness and softness.

And some veggies poured soup came along but this wasn't on the menu either.

Salad with warm soup wasn't something I'm used to, but the soup was thin and vegetables weren't soaked completely, I could still feel the fresh and crisp in the leaves.

I found ice pant, which has salt crystal on the leaves when it grows.
When you bite it, you can feel bubbles are exploding on the tongue.

Desserts & Petits Fours
Green Tea Puff
This the way they prepare this plate.
It's liquid nitrogen and it freezes things instantly, needless to say.

It was served each person since it's not just to eat, but it's a nice timing to take a photo of your face.

We couldn't take a great shot so no photo for this, but as it's frozen matcha puff, you need to bite it without leaving the object on your tongue.
And when I breathed air out from my nose, white smoke (evaporated nitrogen) was coming out.

A dessert called egg was really egg but not an actual egg.

The nest was inside of the glass case, so the egg shell wasn't touching it.
Egg white was coconut milk and egg yolk was mango flavor.
The shell was made of white chocolate.

Cherry Blossom, Strawberry Milk and Choco-Banana

It was a long piece of dark chocolate.

It's Strawberry Milk but as you can see, it's just a red candy.

This candy has strawberry flavor.
This little paper with a milk can image has milk scent, thus, when I ate the strawberry candy and smelled the paper, the taste changed and I could actually taste strawberry milk in my mouth!

Cherry Blossom and Choco-Banana.
I only saw pink pudding first but when I moved the upper side, I saw another sweet.

Cherry blossom tasted like Sakuramochi, which is a Japanese confectionery.
Choco-banana (on the left) was rice puffs with banana flavor.
Choco is the abbreviation of chocolate in Japanese.

Japanese Paper
They provided us an envelope with sakura (cherry blossom) printed.

Inside, there's a cotton candy.

My husband booked this restaurant for my birthday so that the chef did a special surprise performance for me!

A chef showed me an egg and and asked me to check if there's anything wrong.
I gave him back after checking the egg and he placed it on a glass case.
He said, "We'll all count 3, 2, 1, so please take the egg."
When I was about to take the egg after 3 seconds, he broke the egg...
I was really shocked and got speechless.
However, there's a origami (folding paper) crane instead.
When I opened, there's a message, "Happy Birthday" with balloons!
I noticed that they had forgotten "r" in "birthday" so that the letter "r" was much smaller than other letters.

After this surprise, it was the last dessert.
A slice of orange, lime and lemon came with "happy birthday" chocolate plate.
Behind the plate, there's a strawberry.

First we're asked to eat those fruits, and of course lime and lemon were sour.
And then, a miracle fruit was provided.

Everyone was chewing the miracle fruits for about 30 seconds on the tongue before swallowing the flesh.

We're provided another plate of the same fruits, and thanks to miracle fruit, all tasted really really sweet.

Chefs said it'd last for about 20 minutes but warm drink may shorten the effect.

This b-day dinner was totally new and it was such an interesting experience.
To be able to have dinner in front of chefs and they explain what the plates are and answer the questions we gave, especially to be one of the 8 persons seating at the bar made this dinner more special.

Tapas Molecular Bar / タパス モレキュラーバー

38F, Mandarin Oriental Tokyo
2-1-1 Nihombashi-Muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

東京都中央区日本橋室町2-1-1 マンダリンオリエンタル東京 38F

Dinner only, twice a day; 6:00PM or 8:30PM
1日2回、ディナー限定; 18:00 又は 20:30

Advance reservation only.

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