Last week I was lucky enough to have lunch at Ginza Aster with a couple of friends. I had not been there before although I had heard that it was a quite a classy establishment and had walked past many times when walking around in Ginza so I knew of it and always wanted to try eating there.
The image I had of Ginza Aster before lunch was one of being quite expensive. While a little more expensive than the standard Chinese restaurant the quality of the food, the great service and décor represented really good value.
As I had not been there before I wanted to try the dish that they claim to be most well known for – Ginza Aster noodle. There were three of us so we ended up ordering several dishes each and sharing – a good decision indeed. We had a mix of shumai, shrimp mayonnaise (ebi mayo), Ginza Aster noodle and fried rice. All were great – all were presented beautifully even after the staff were kind enough to split each dish into thirds. All the food we had was so good that it was difficult to choose a favourite. All produce used was obviously very fresh and The ebi mayo included pieces of pineapple which was a little unusual but complemented the texture of the perfectly cooked shrimp nicely – probably the best I’ve had.
The Aster noodle dish was a great end to the meal – medium thickness round noodles in a very rich chicken broth (I thought it was beef) that was lighter than it first appeared with the pretty standard toppings of pork, shrimp, Chinese mushrooms, greens and bamboo shoots (takenoko) – certainly a must try.
This is not the usual saucy Chinese food but Chinese food taken and in the Japanese way influenced and enhanced to take it to something quite different and higher quality than usually expected. The food is full of flavor, not weighed down by excess grease like a lot of ‘standard’ Chinese food, and the presentation is fantastic.
This is the kind of place that I would recommend to go to for a special occasion – an anniversary or when friends or family are visiting for dinner, or maybe just when you feel like a bit of a special lunch. You’ll enjoy the upscale setting but you won’t feel rushed while you savor each bite of the Chinese delights offered on their menu.
The Ginza Aster Flagship Restaurant
Address: 1-8-16, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo