Hokkaido – Michel Bras Toya

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I don’t think I need to explain. This is the restaurant with most beautiful view I’ve ever been to! It’s better than my other favourite restaurant with view Mirazur, Menton.

On the 12th floor of Windsor Hotel, located on the top of a mountain, it overlooks the beautiful lake Toya of Hokkaido.

It was sheer luck to have discovered this restaurant just days before my trip, and I happened to have lake Toya in my itinerary. I would have regretted it big time if I didn’t know and didn’t come here. The lake is beautiful at ground level but spectacular when viewed from above. I was super lucky to be able to get reservations too, since this was the Silver week in Japan where Japanese enjoys 3 public holidays right after a weekend.

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Stunning.

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Michel Bras is a French chef whose restaurant in Laguiole, France has been awarded with 3 stars from the Michelin Guide since 1999. He wanted to open a second restaurant somewhere else in the world and after considering many places including Singapore, he decided on Lake Toya. It was the perfect choice because such view needs an equally good restaurant, I feel. I need good food to enjoy the view to the fullest. I also wouldn’t be as interested to try the restaurant without the view either.

Hokkaido is also a great choice because of the availability of good quality local ingredients. Everybody knows that Hokkaido-anything is the best. Hokkaido scallop, sea urchin, corn, milk… and we would all willingly pay a premium if it says “Hokkaido”.

I’m so glad it’s Lake Toya, not Singapore (where natural views and local ingredients are almost non-existent).

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I went with the ‎¥12000 course.

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The restaurant logo is printed on all plates and also embossed on their butter.

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The knife is from Laguiole, South of France, where the original Michel Bras restaurant is situated. This area is famous for making knives and culture is that everyone keeps only one pocket knife for life. To bring over some Laguiole character, diners are requested to use only one knife for the whole meal service while spoons and forks can be replaced. The knife can be wiped on the bread provided.

I absolutely love this cutlery holder. The precision.

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Three appetizers were served before the lunch course started. My favourite was the egg.

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around our garden,
squid from here served in olive oil,
beetroot, tomato & sorrel;
orange confit powder

I was like “where’s the tomato?” It was the red piece in the background. I’ve been having squid everyday since I’ve set foot in Hakodate (famous for squid) but this one is definitely the best.

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When I thought the view can’t get better a rainbow had to appear. This reminded me of Niagra Falls where I thought the same too and rainbow appeared. So beautiful, I have to repeat.

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Looks normal?

Definitely not! This mochi potato has revolutionized my expectations of a good whipped potato. Hokkaido is famous for potatoes so I think that plays a part in achieving this perfection of potato. I love potatoes (grew up eating lots, in the form of chips, fries, baked potato, mashed potato, curry potato and basically any sort it all tastes good) but try to avoid them nowadays because it’s just empty carbs. This one however, was worth giving up any diet for. It’s not just cute to look at. It was absolutely delicious – better than Joël Robuchon‘s.

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from Shintoku:
farmer thigh pullet & bulgar,
moroheiya,
butternut & flavour of sweet-clover.

The squash was cut to look like spaghetti. I like that idea (low carbs). It was my first time trying bulgar and it is an interesting grain. I’ve not seen it before but it is common in Europe.

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Cheese from France & Hokkaido

I was super excited to see this.

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Because I’m in Hokkaido I decided to try some Hokkaido cheese – cream cheese, camembert and another dipped in sake but they weren’t fantastic. On the otherhand, the French cheese was outstanding! I loved the blue (both of them) and the hard cheese. The blue in particular was the best blue cheese I’ve tried.

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provocative & so tasty…
to crunch, wafer of caramelised potato,
brown butter cream & lightly salted caramel butter.

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For petit fours we had sorbet, ice cream and mousse served on cones.

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It looks pretty but sadly it wasn’t that great. I can easily get better ice cream down the hill at Lake Hill Farm Toya.

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The cones at the back was filled with bourbon. Nice.

There were several items this meal that was outstanding while some weren’t. But overall, this experience was made worth while because of the view. The weather was cooperative too showing the most beautiful sky and sunshine. Not many places offers this experience.

Michel Bras TOYA | The Windsor Hotel 
Shimizu, Toyako-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido, 049-5722 Japan

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