Hoshinoya Tokyo hotel in Otemachi
Image: Courtesy of Hoshinoya Tokyo
In Tokyo, a restaurant took the idea of protecting customers from covid and turned it into a real dining experience. Here, diners savor a special menu made with fermented ingredients while nestled under the soft light of a giant traditional lantern, made by an ancestral craftsman. It is a very serious concept … and it is not cheap!
When the covid started, restaurants and bars were closed. And when they reopened, they often installed covid-19 protection solutions, with ideas like screens or plexiglass barriers between customers. Some designers have started to think outside the box, offering greenhouse-like constructions, transparent domes and more. But, what was yesterday a simple way to bring people back to restaurants has now become a new dining experience to try at the table.
In one of its Tokyo establishments, the luxury hotel chain Hoshinoya offers diners a meal in the shelter of a huge dome resembling the famous Japanese paper and bamboo lanterns. The Land of the Rising Sun is often known for its ability to skillfully blend ancestral traditions and new technologies. In this new experience, the Tokyo restaurant offers more than a nod to these lanterns, still handcrafted by Kojima Shoten in Kyoto. This legendary establishment of the former imperial capital opened its doors at the end of the 18th century. She agreed to make the giant lanterns for the restaurant by replacing paper with vinyl, so diners could see each other. Each “dome” is 102 meters high and 75 cm in diameter. In addition, the restaurant has created a whole ceremony to welcome customers, who enter a 40 m² room entirely dedicated to the experience.
In addition to enjoying your meal protected by a giant lantern, the menu is also part of the experience. Hoshinoya has concocted a menu based on fermented products prepared using techniques borrowed from French cuisine. And it’s a concept that comes at a cost, priced at 21,780 yen per person, or roughly $ 190.
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