The pandemic, the effects of which were felt all over the world, especially shook the hospitality sector. However, the sector entered a rapid recovery period, allowing new projects to be implemented. As we leave 2021 behind, let’s take a look at the best new venues opened in Tokyo throughout the year.
Inspired by famed bartender Shingo Gokan, his new venture Swrl has rocked Tokyo’s cocktail scene this year. Cocktails at Swrl are inspired by popular resorts like Koh Samui, London and Athens. Every drink, whether sauvignon blanc or zinfandel, is a wine champion, and interestingly, the blends are swirled rather than shaken to preserve the delicate flavor profile of each ingredient.
DAWN Avatar Robot Café
In Nihonbashi’s DAWN Avatar Robot Café, which uses a complex system of remote-controlled robots, workers from all over the country can connect to the cafe’s androids via their home computers. At 120 cm tall, OriHime-D robots are equipped with a camera, microphone and speaker to allow them to interact with customers and take orders as they move through a space.
Respected British chef Daniel Calvert runs the kitchen at Sézanne, inside the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo in Marunouchi. Calvert has prepared a dynamic French menu for the elegant space designed by architect and interior designer André Fu. The restaurant opened in June, but has already earned its first Michelin star. Another highlight on the menu is the homemade sourdough bread made from Hokkaido corn that has been dried and turned into polenta and then mixed with a yeast developed by Calvert himself. Pastry chef Elwyn Boyles is in charge of desserts, while an ever-changing selection of wine, sake and champagne is curated by sommelier Nobuhide Otsuka.
Digital art meets food at this innovative ramen shop inside Tokyo’s teamLab Planets. The popular ramen restaurant opened up shop in Kyoto last year before bringing its plant-based noodle bowls to Tokyo in 2021. The menu here is entirely plant-based. For something warm and comforting, recommend the spicy vegan miso ramen or the vegan soy sauce ramen made with soy sauce from established brewers Inoue Shoten.