Saturday, 8 September 2007

Angolo

7 Sep 2007
The last time I was at Angolo was almost six months ago when I was slugged about Y60,000 for a bottle of Dom Perignon - or a mark up of over 300%. Makes me wonder whether I'm in the wrong business...

After wandering all over the planet and pitching into some high-level brainiac meetings in Tokyo, it was time to just get out and relax with friends. We invited Greg and John with their lovely brides Kath and Elizabeth to join us at Angolo (conveniently located close to Chateau Expat in the event that the babysitting by Cost Center No. 4 ran into trouble). The Child Bride had threatened Angolo with 20 of her closest friends towards the end of the month, and I felt compelled to offer some sort of olive branch well in advance!

Angolo started as a hobby restaurant for a successful businessman, and sometime reflects his eclectic tastes in wine and food. A good thing too, because he has extraordinarily good taste. The Child Bride and I had enjoyed meeting this technology entrepreneur, and were looking forward to a relaxing time with some good people. Angolo could improve the ambience by turning down the background music a little, but it is well laid out and succeeds masterfully in creating private and public spaces.

We started with beer to take the edge off the post-typhoon heat - (Note: Angolo, consider offering Italian beer (Moretti?) or something other than Malts!). The cocktail listed as Bellini flummoxed the bar, who suddenly noticed he was out of peach juice and somewhere out of a tortured imagination produced the world's first Blood Orange Bellini. Things were not looking good...

We opened a light white from Chianti, produced in a vineyard where the Child Bride and I spent a month last year enjoying Tuscan Tourismo Agricola. Forgive me Gentle Reader, but the scrap of paper listing the wines we enjoyed has disappeared into a wormhole. Look for something that includes quercia.

The Insalata Caprese was a big hit with the table, but I ventured out to the Asparagus Salad with Truffle Chip and Pecarino. This was plated brilliantly, and the taste matched the sweet balance of colors that teased the eyes and the taste buds at the same time. Angolo was living up to the challenge, and that called for another bottle of the white. Our noise levels were rising nicely, which for me is always a sure sign of people enjoying themselves.

4 out of 6 opted for the Chef's Risotto, which our waiter had blithely informed us was done with a crab sauce. Fish and fowl aside, we were surprised when it appeared with Fois Gras. Never one to complain, I tucked into this delight with alacrity. When I paused my spooning (because I was beginning to risk getting porcelain chips by scraping the bottom of the bowl) to look up, 4 out of 4 plates were empty. Press on, brave Angolo.

Now was the time to bring out the Tuscan red - Chianti Classico Gallo Nero. This wine demands attention, and got it from our table. I think there may have been a hole in the bottle, because it seemed to empty pretty quickly.

Greg and Elizabeth had opted for the Sea Bass - which they agreed was wonderfully well prepared and successfully avoided the taste white hole that mock Sea Bass can so easily fall into. I had spied a Cotoletta di vitello being enjoyed at another table and spoke quietly to Chef. I was overwhelmed by the flavor and delicacy that this very traditional veal cutlet is famous for, and I recommend it over any of the other carne on the menu.

All in all, a delightful evening with great company and splendid food at a reasonable price (if you don't buy the Dom!). Chef was kind enough to come out at the end of the meal, and was roundly congratulated by the six of us. In the Child Bride's words, Angolo features delicious food that leaves one feeling full without being bloated. Angolo is best enjoyed with friends, particularly if you can get the staff to turn down the music.

Rating: Food: 8/10; Wine 7/10; Ambience: 7/10; Service: 7/10; Price: 7/10. Total: 36/50 (3 Forks)
Angolo: Cnr Gaien Nishi-dori and Meiji-dori (Tengenji-bashi) Minami Azabu 4-2-42, Minato-ku TEL:03-5447-7055

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