Food without memory is just digestion

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Harmonie - Bistro de Paris en Nishi-Azabu

Three's a treat, they say, and Harmonie is the third venue operated by Chef Jitsuhiro Yamada of Cogito and Marche aux Vins fame. Your Humble Correspondent is ever vigilant on your behalf, Gentle Reader, and it had not escaped my attention that it remained firmly in the "Must Visit" column of my mental notebook. So, with considerable aplomb and much anticipation, I bobbed off to Nishi Azabu to catch up with my former right-hand girl the redoubtable Ms Motonaga.

A word of advice about the maps on most English language sites who list this venue - do not even try to use them without an Ancient Sumerian Cuneiform dictionary. One needs the luck of Howard Carter's waterboy or the tenacity of Heinrich Schliemann to find the blessed place! Use this one in Japanese from Tabelog, or find a Google or Yahoo variant.

The restaurant has all the charm of a rustic French restaurant and is decorated with antiques personally chosen by Chef Yamada. When I last spoke to Chef, he explained that he established Harmonie to create the sort of place he himself would like to visit once the day's work was done. If so, he has excellent taste. The atmosphere at Harmonie is elegant yet friendly, and the service is exemplary.

Our meal (we both chose the "two plate" option with one entree and one main dish) fitted well with the venue - sophisticated, well-presented, and showing a dab hand in balancing flavor with fashion. I particularly recommend the duck here, as well as the excellent terrine which vanished off my plate in a nano-second (Ms Motonaga? Moto-second?). The servings are generous without being scales-smashing. The floor staff keeps a weather eye on the progress at each table, and dishes are delivered on time at optimal temperature.

We shared a bottle of Graves that was reasonably priced and precisely chilled. A range of excellent wines are available by the glass, and the bar downstairs is small yet comfortable.

Visit Harmonie with friends and lovers, or for a romantic proposal [there is actually a small curtained booth that seems perfect for an assignation, although perhaps a little small for the whole bended knee thing]. Your Humble Correspondent shall certainly be visiting again soon with the Child Bride - this excellent little restaurant is both close by and reasonably priced.

In the culinary desert of this part of Nishi-Azabu, Harmonie is a God-send. Do visit, and be a good chap (chap-ette) by generously adding that you read the blog. Either that, or pick up the tab for the fat boy with the soup bowl eyes ...

Harmonie: Nishi-Azabu 4-2-15, Minato Ward. t: 03-5466-6655
Rating: Food: 7/10; Wine: 7/10; Service: 8/10; Ambiance: 8/10; Value ($$): 8/10. Total: 38/50

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