Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Ambigram: A little Toni?

One imagines, Gentle Reader, that the last thing the Hiroo area needs is another Italian restaurant. Actually, any sort of restaurant. With establishments good, bad, and indifferent on almost every corner Your Humble Correspondent would argue that discretion might in fact be the better part of valour. Apparently not. Ambigram might in fact be more properly described as being located in Tengenji-bashi, down a romantic lane way from the temple itself. Might, but for the roadworks and incessant construction. Still, one digresses ...
One Chef Izawa is seemingly insufficient for Ambigram. Twin brothers (Koji trained as a chef in Italy and Kazuaki a patissier ex France ... which twin has the Toni?) rule the Ambigram-inal roost. The place has an energetic and lithesome feel, and while one shouldn't go overboard on the pot-rattlers it seems to work remarkably (fraternally?) well.
A quick look at the menu will suffice to reassure you, Gentle Reader, that the Brothers Izawa have resolutely picked the eyes out of "standard" Italian fare to ensure that you won't be disappointed. But one should really take the time to closely examine the daily menu for little gems - like burrata, the delightful Puglia version of yuba; or osso buco; or splendid little seasonal vegetable numbers.
It may be their relative youth but the Izawa fratelli have seemed to be on the top of their game whenever Your Humble Correspondent has darkened the doorstep, with one exception on a relatively simple veal option which seemed to be over-wrought and aiming for frippery rather than simplicity. One should also add the Once and Future Blonde was also disappointed - but in a spirit of generosity and forgiveness we should overlook these little peccadilloes.
The wine list is authentically Italian, reaching even to San Gimignano verdecchio which is one of Your Humble Correspondent's favorite tipples. Tuscany and other famous DOC are sprinkled here and there, while prices are particularly reasonable.
One area where Ambigram excels is the happy and thoughtful service team. Despite having been opened for about a year, they dance the tables seamlessly and skilfully meaning that even the most demanding guest departs sated and happy.
It is slightly difficult to classify Ambigram but it seems best suited to friends and energized colleagues rather than the place for a formal outing. And should you see a slightly puzzled gnome with trace of yellow burrata staining the napkins - well, raise a glass won't you!
 
Pip! Pip!
Ambigram106-0047 Minami-Azabu 4−12−4 Plachina Court Hiroo 1F, Minato-Ku, Tokyo t:03-3449-7722
Rating: Food: 7/10; Izawa-ness: 8/10; Service: 7/10; Ambiance: 7/10; Price-Performance: 7/10. Total: 36/50 (3 Forks)

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