Ensconced in the subdued interior it was hard to tell that we were on the 28th floor, other than for a glimpse of skyline from the lobby bar as we walked past. The view, it seems, is reserved for people paying to eat at celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey’s main, eponymous restaurant next door. (So is clean air—there is no no-smoking section at Cerise.) With the help of a damn good martini (¥1,500)—single olive, lots of citrus—we surveyed the Anglo-French dinner menu and the suited and booted business clientele.
Ranging from light bites to main dishes, à la carte options included both classics and more outré fare. We played safe with the first course: smoked salmon (¥2,000), and foie gras and chicken liver parfait (¥1,800). The ramekin of parfait came topped with a thin layer of sauternes jelly and when spread on toasted brioche with a dab of saffron fruit pickles, the smooth pate was pure decadence. Paired with the Oregonian Pinot Grigio (¥8,500) from the extensive and reasonable wine list, it was a great start.
We were intrigued to see what Ramsey’s take on fish and chips would be—at ¥3,800 we expected something far removed from his local Scottish chippy. It was good—two oversize pieces of battered cod, real handmade fries, minted peas and chunky tartar sauce (vinegar on demand)—but didn’t justify the price.
Our second entrée was a further re-imagination of a fast food favorite: thin crust pizza (¥3,100) topped with foie gras, smoked duck, parmesan and fig. Drizzled with a balsamic reduction, it had the perfect balance of tastes and textures. The combination of wafer-thin smoked duck and parmesan was particularly savory and it was hard to stick to our half of the plate when sharing.
The desserts were all tempting, although his London restaurant features a few more hot puddings. We narrowed it down to opera cake (¥1,500) and lavender crème brulé (¥1,200). The cake had dense layers of chocolate and coffee smothered in a rich chocolate glaze topped with gold leaf and spun sugar—perfect with coffee from an individual French press (¥950). The brulé was a more delicate affair, its lavender flavor subtle and alluring.
The final price tag didn’t suggest our dining experience was very “casual,” but Cerise is a good introduction to Ramsey’s cooking for those not ready to indulge in his full oeuvre. While the location favors those in the financial district, we’d trek back to Shiodome for the pizza alone.