Long lauded as one of the most esteemed hotels in Japan, Palace Hotel Tokyo will soon boast one of the country’s most sought-after dining establishments.
The iconic Japanese property is teaming up with DUCASSE Paris, founded by world-famous chef Alain Ducasse, to unveil a brand new restaurant on its premises – scheduled to open on November 1, 2019.
After more than half a century in operation, Palace Hotel Tokyo’s signature French restaurant, Crown, will permanently close its doors on July 28 to make way for the new venue. The new restaurant, which will bear the name ESTERRE, is set to become the first collaboration between a Japanese hotel and the world-renowned chef and restaurateur when it debuts at the beginning of November following a complete redesign by SIMPLICITY, the design studio of award-winning Japanese interior designer Shinichiro Ogata.
Posing questions to Managing Director & General Manager Masaru Watanabe for insights with regards to the upcoming changes:
Why replace “Crown” with a new eatery?
Crown played a pivotal role in the introduction of French cuisine to Tokyo when it first opened in 1964 as part of the original Palace Hotel. We then elevated it with a more refined, contemporary dining experience when we re-launched in 2012 – as part of the reinvention of the entire hotel following a three-year re-build to elevate it to luxury standards. There’s no more refining or elevating to be done with Crown now. It’s had a truly incredible run for over half a century, particularly the past couple of years, and it’s now time to do something completely different.
Why did you decide to team up with Chef Alain Ducasse for the new project?
There are more spectacular heights to reach for now with a fresh, new approach and as one of the contemporary world’s masters of French cuisine, we believe Alain Ducasse can get us there. Upon meeting, we instantly felt an affinity to him and his approach to the culinary arts. He has both a well-established understanding and appreciation for our Japanese roots and the culture behind Japanese cuisine, as well as indisputable success in launching destination restaurants – both of which were requisite as we sought out the perfect collaborative partner for introducing a new kind of French fine dining in Tokyo that would both incorporate the latest trends in French culinary arts and place great importance on Japanese ‘テロワール’ – ‘terroir’, the French word for ‘earth’ or ‘soil’, but a term which we (Japanese people) commonly use to refer to food ingredients. Essentially, the natural (food) ingredients that Japan has to offer.
Contemporary French Haute Cuisine
Chef Ducasse and his team will be overseeing the new restaurant, where patrons can look forward to a new contemporary approach to French haute cuisine – an approach which aims to re-establish the connection with nature not only by bringing out the original, natural flavors of ingredients, but also by promoting the procurement of sustainable, organic, local ingredients.
Shared Values of Hospitality
“Omotenashi and hospitalité. I believe Japan and France share a sense of hospitality,” said Ducasse. “Whatever the apparent differences between the two cultures, their souls have the same vision of striving for excellence to anticipate their guests’ expectations and offering them a moment of pure happiness.”
“ESTERRE at Palace Hotel Tokyo will deploy nature to the table,” he explains. “It will celebrate the best ingredients that Mother Nature has to offer each season and enhance the very essence of them. We will employ French culinary techniques that turn exceptional ingredients into sublime, elegant, contemporary dishes that are at once healthy, harmonious and sincere.”
About Ducasse Paris
With thirty restaurants in seven countries – from authentic bistros and casual brasseries to three Michelin-starred restaurants – a network of more than 500 addresses selected by les Collectionneurs in Europe, an international education division in culinary and pastry arts, handmade bean-to-bar chocolate shops and handmade coffee-tree-to-cup coffee shops, Alain Ducasse has developed, over thirty years, a different vision of the food service and hospitality industry re-grouped under Ducasse Paris, which he founded in 1999. For more information, please visit ducasse-paris.com.
About Palace Hotel Tokyo
As the anchor to a USD 1.2 billion mixed-use development built entirely from the ground-up, Palace Hotel Tokyo commands some of the city’s most exclusive real estate and incomparable views of the much-loved Imperial Palace gardens and the surrounding skyline. Located at 1-1-1 Marunouchi, the contemporary 290-room hotel features 10 distinctive restaurants & bars – including exquisite Japanese and an Old World-style cigar & martini bar – as well as Japan’s one and only evian SPA.
As heir to a legacy going back more than half a century as one of the city’s most iconic properties, the hotel remains firmly rooted in its commitment to offer Japanese hospitality at its finest. Drawing deeply from the country’s history, culture and art, the award-winning hotel redefines luxury in Japan with sophistication and authenticity, presenting guests with the most bespoke cultural experiences to be had in Tokyo.
Palace Hotel Tokyo is the only independent Japanese brand hotel to ever be awarded the highly coveted Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star rating, the industry’s most prestigious arbiter of luxury travel – a recognition which it first achieved in 2016 and has consistently held since. For more information, please visit en.palacehoteltokyo.com.