Just down the street from my apartment towards Toranomon on the street level of Toranomon Hills Mori Tower is glass encased, airy and hanging Edison bulbs lit Pirouette. Pirouette is one of those cozy, elegant neighbourhood über-canteens, if there ever was one. Cass and I looked at each other and exclaimed ‘this is it’ as soon as we were seated at the counter for the first time.
Pirouette serves paired down continental cuisine prepared with the best of, and dressed up, local pedigree. It is bare essentials of fine dining using everyday ingredients (riso, chicken breast, white fish, beef cheek) perfected with clinical Japanese preparation. Calling it a canteen doesn’t take anything away from its impeccable quality because it is the unembellished elegance in a laid back atmosphere which sets it apart. You sit back and watch the team of young cooks scurrying back and forth the compact double alleys separated by impeccably clean stoves, ovens and slate countertop littered with top quality stainless steel pots and pans. Each evening a small team of cooks churn out a dozen or so dishes in prix fixe menu. Extra care and meticulous touch is everywhere. Order beer and one of the cooks will pull half pint of draft beer and carefully spoon out the extra head.
Broccoli mouse on a bed of grilled broccoli is served with dusted with fennel powder. Asked how fennel dust can retain such intense jade colour, Elena , one of the chefs from Jersey (hey home town!), says dehydrator does the trick.
On the first evening of our visit, Y5,000 prix fixe menu included white asparagus, uni with white asparagus mouse on top or smooth, cooling, mint-flecked, pale green ceviche as starter, turnip risotto with wasabi and cilantro pure as first course and selection of meat dishes as second course. Since then, I’ve seen seasonal vegetable salad with burrata, roasted lobster salad with organic lemon (additional charge) starters and roasted anchovies and bone-in lamb and beef sirloin with black pepper condiment main courses (both additional charge).
Compact yet excellent wine by the glass program, across all French regions complements. Rose features strongly in this wine list and they have a three-rose flight program. I paired a rose to my white fish main course not knowing I was going to be served Spanish mackerel, which was too strong for a light bodied Pinot rose.
Pirouette is designed around three sections, cafe, counter and bistro. Whether you’re sitting alone or a small group without a reservation, counter seating gives the vantage point of fruit of the young cooks’ labour. As each dish arrived at the counter top in front of me, I wondered whether receiving each course would be as delightful if I were to be sitting in one of the tables in the back, which I’m certain I’ll try at some point of my future visits.
Counter seat does get somewhat smokey as the dining room starts to fill and the hot tops get busy. And Y200 extra for butter and olive oil is an unnecessary nuisance.
Pirouette +81 (0)3 6206 6927
Toranomon Hills Mori Tower 1F, 1 Chome 23, Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo