PIGNETO restaurant at Four Seasons Otemachi Photo: FOUR SEASONS OTEMACHI
restaurant review

Modish yet authentic Mamma Mia Italian fare at PIGNETO at Four Seasons Otemachi

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By Mai Shoji

Trendy, chic, classy…some may say these words are cliche, but they best describe the new Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi. The stylish property opened inside Otemachi One Tower in September in the midst of a hotel bubble in Tokyo. With the lobby on the 39th floor, about 200 meters above the ground, it overlooks the prominent financial district and home to headquarters of mega corporations and big-time international operators in Tokyo.

Amazed by the quick tour of the guest rooms, magnificent flower settings in the lobby by Namiko Kajitani of zero two THREE, a waiting area that looks like the library of a castle, dashing French cuisine by Michelin-starred Chef Guillaume Bracaval, a relaxing lounge and cosmopolitan bar, I can say that this new Four Seasons will be one of my regular places to visit.

After the tour, it was time to dine. Italian restaurant PIGNETO, another smart architectural creation by esteemed Design Studio Spin, embraces all the great qualities of the establishment with an upscale yet homish vibe. Abbondanza, meaning plentiful life, is their theme. The name comes from a hearty neighborhood in Rome where locals gather at bars and families dine at eateries handed down from generation to generation.

Four open kitchens create “live shows” throughout the restaurant. Though the terrace is closed from October to March, you are free to step outside for a quick view. The unhindered panoramic view of the skyscrapers is reminiscent of hotel bars in Southeast Asian countries where you can sit outside all year round, but rare in Japan. From April to September, the terrace seats are certain to attract Tokyoites. The feel of the terrace is like you’re in the air — almost too scary for anyone with acrophobia — but it will definitely a popular place to book during the warmer months.

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The terrace at PIGNETO Photo: FOUR SEASONS OTEMACHI

For an aperitif, the spritzer is fun to start the evening with. You can order an original cocktail from a choice of apertivo, sparkling, and garnish from the Spritz Bar menu. I chose Martini Bianco, an Italian rose sparkling wine, and rosemary and the result was fabulous.

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Tailor-made apertivo from the Spritz Bar Photo: MAI SHOJI

I savored the Sora Lella (¥8,000), a five-course journey full of traditional Italian recipes by Chef Yoshihiro Kigawa. Seasonal selections for this season are Guinea Fowl Galantine, Porcini Acquacotta, Duck Ragu Maltagliati, Beef Sirloin, Rucola, Tomato and Black Truffle, and for dessert, Panforte.

Duck Ragu Maltagliati is an excellent match with Chianti Rufina Riserva Castello Nipozzano 2016, a balanced glass of red, scenting elegant rose and a slight spiciness. Black truffles unstintingly cover the rhombus pasta coated with dense and flavorful ragu sauce.

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Duck Ragu Maltagliati Photo: MAI SHOJI

Being a handcrafted pasta lover, I had to try other items. The Capellini Lobster, Cherry Tomato Sauce (¥3,200) is a highly recommended passionate plate of heartiness. It is quite a joyful sensation as you pop in chunks of fresh lobster onto your palette.

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Capellini Lobster, Cherry Tomato Sauce Photo: MAI SHOJI

Garganelli Sicilian Pesto, Walnuts, Figs, Burrata (¥2,700), which is one of chef Kigawa’s specialities. The ridged surface of the tubular pasta entwines the nutty sauce accented with figs, making it a unique dining experience. Kigawa’s pasta is cooked exceptionally al dente.

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Garganelli Sicilian Pesto, Walnuts, Figs, Burrata Photo: MAI SHOJI

By all means, try pizza Regina, Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Burrata and Parma Ham (¥3,800). The buratta sitting in the middle of the pizza is quite an impact for the eye. The cream pours out as you cut into its texture that feels like a baby's cheek. The buffalo milk produced in Puglia, a southern region on the heel of Italy’s “boot,” is strikingly fresh. The thin crust is elastic and tasty, making it delightfully easy to eat through a few pieces.

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Pizza Regina, Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Burrata and Parma Ham Photo: MAI SHOJI

Wagyu sirloin steak from Gunma (district of wagyu varies) is divine when you wash your palette down with a glass of preferably decanted Moccagatta Basarin Barbaresco 2016. The aroma of dark cassis and taste of exotic oak, added to the gentle fat of wagyu, sets the climax for the autumn night.

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Beef Sirloin, Rucola, Tomato and Black Truffle Photo: MAI SHOJI

Executive pastry chef Yusuke Aoki has an amazing craftsmanship and his art works are systematically designed for each bite. His desserts are complex to look at but when you take your first bite, the ingredients blend on your palette like a water color painting. Gianduja (64% Chocolate cream, Hazelnuts, Gianduja cream, Passion confiture, Crystallized hazelnut, Hokkaido milk honey ice gelato ¥1,800) and Baba (Rum, Pineapple Compote, Valrhona Opalys Chocolate Whipped Ganache, Mojito Sorbet ¥1,800) are not to be missed.

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Gianduja (64% chocolate cream, hazelnuts, Gianduja cream, Passion confiture, Crystalized hazelnut, Hokkaido milk honey ice gelato) Photo: MAI SHOJI

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Baba (rum, pineapple compote, Valrhona Opalys Chocolate Whipped Ganache, Mojito Sorbet) Photo: MAI SHOJI

Christmas menu for lunch and dinner (¥12,000) and free-flow Champagne and wine for a reasonable ¥8,000 are offered for the joyous season. Sora Lella is provided from December 1 to 23 and December 27 to 30, from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm & 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for ¥10,000.

Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi

Address: 1-2-1 Otemachi Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0004

Phone: 03-6810-0600

www.fourseasons.com/otemachi

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