Renowned French chef Alain Ducasse, who owns several Michelin-starred restaurants around the world, has opened his first bean-to-bar chocolate shop in Paris. Now, his first chocolate shop outside of France has opened in Nihonbashi, Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse. Chocolate maker Julien Kientzler oversees the production kitchen on the first floor. There is a beautiful retail boutique for bonbons and single-origin chocolates and a café on the second floor with a desserts like soufflé and millefeuille. Roppongi’s Keyakizaka Dori will be home to a second shop at the end of April.
Ark Hills Ark Mori Building’s third floor has gone through a renewal. Highlights include a branch of the popular Nihonbashi tempura shop Kaneko Hannosuke and a tonkatsu shop from Kanazawa Katsuzo.
In the historic Nihonbashi district, there is a new dining theater called Sugian. The meal includes sushi from Sushiei, Japan’s oldest Edo-style sushi restaurant, as well as tea and traditional sweets. On-stage performances vary and may include Noh, Kyogen or traditional Japanese dance. Suigian is open for lunch and dinner. suigian.jp/en/
Fans of Hario coffee products will want to check out the new Hario Café & Lampwork Factory in Nihonbashi.
A very curious Scottish sandwich shop,Deeney’s, has opened a food truck in the National Azabu parking lot, selling toasted sandwiches with fillings like haggis, smoked bacon and cheese.
Hasegawa Saketen will be opening a new branch in Nihonbashi in June. This sake shop, with knowledgeable staff, has a great selection of sake and tableware for serving sake.
It Coffee has opened in Daikanyama serving medium-roasted single-origin java, coffee soft serve, Australian organic “Love Tea,” and sweets.
Family restaurants are trying to lure new customers to their restaurants. Denny’s is serving Dassai sake in small bottles and chuhai cocktails made with seasonal fresh fruit.
Who doesn’t love a good convenience store sandwich? Family Mart is now offering some sando on whole wheat bread.
Fan of thick Greek yogurt? Meiji is now out with individually portioned Greek yogurt.
Koppe pan are soft, chewy breads that are similar in shape to a hot dog bun. Koppe pan was served at school lunches in the Showa period and is having a renaissance. Select sweet fillings like adzuki or strawberry jam, or savory fillings like croquettes or potato salad. The sandwiches are made to order. Check it out at Ueno’s iacoupé (1-54 Ueno Koen, Taito-ku) or Panya no Tajima in Asagaya (1-47-10 Asagaya-Minami, Suginami-ku).
Yukari Sakamoto is the author of 'Food Sake Tokyo.' She has worked as a sommelier at the Park Hyatt Tokyo and at Takashimaya. While at Takashimaya, she was the first non-Japanese to pass the shochu advisor exam, Yukari offers tours to markets in Tokyo.