Food without memory is just digestion

Monday, 13 February 2006


13 Feb 2006

I had the opportunity to visit Argent in Meguro recently. Argent bills itself as slow food since 1980, and some foodie sites suggest Argent is one of the reasons you would choose to live in Tokyo.

So it was with some excitement and interest that I went along with my super-smart friend. He’s the sort of guy that makes you feel like you’re Pinky and he’s The Brain in the Cartoon Network series. He was generous enough to offer to provide the wine, which in hindsight was both a blessing and a mistake (beautiful French wine chosen from his cellar...problem was quantity not quality. 4 bottles between 2 of us...)

Argent was eloquently explained by The Brain as providing wonderful French “comfort food”. The menu hasn’t changed since 1980, with good reason. Each of the dishes is prepared with delicacy and vitality, and when you’re on a good thing...

We had the fresh Japanese oysters, the country-style terrine, and a great tuna tartare. With lashings of firm baguettes, and a bottle of 1999 Pommard 1-er Cru Les Rugiens by Francois Petit-Jean. Great once it opened up...make that 2 bottles.

I next had the 13 vegetable soup (one of those great French dishes with a hint of romance and a spoonful of heaven). The Brain went back to another terrine, with destruction written clearly all over his face. The wine and the conversation seemed to be getting more elegant and more powerful as we went along.

So it was obviously time to try the Cochin Chicken (with specially grown Nagoya chickens) and the Roast Beef. Delicious both, and delightfully complemented by a 1997 Chateau Lynch-Bages Grand Cru Classe. The conversation seemed to be losing ground to the wine.
According to the Brain, you have the choice of the Raw Cheesecake, Raw Cheesecake, and Raw Cheesecake for dessert. Obviously (I think!)...

The Brain now launched an all-out assault on my brain cells with the 2004 Magie du Chateau Haut Mouleyre Cadillac, which goes to prove that the French can do something with Semillon, although I felt that the Hunter Valley Semillons were probably better. Shush, at this stage I could have been drinking sugar water. By this stage, the conversation had turned to mutual admiration in single-syllable grunts and gestures.

In summary, well-crafted food by a 2nd generation chef who learnt her lessons getting in the way in the kitchen since kindergarten. Argent is a restaurant where you can trust the food not to get in the way of the company, yet come away convinced that you’ve enjoyed yourself.

Score: Food 7/10; Wine 5/10 (but BYO); Ambience 7/10; Service 8/10; Price: 8/10; TOTAL: 35/50 (3 Forks)

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