Xvin, Shiodome: Chinese Dining To Impress
With plenty of superb restaurants to choose from in Tokyo, it’s a difficult task to find one that adds something new to the scene. Delicious food in itself is not enough to create a memorable dining experience, and even average service may raise a few curious eyebrows. Some savvy restaurateurs in the city know this, and have therefore learned to incorporate surprising and creative ways to impress.
One venue that’s up to the challenge is Xvin, a Chinese diner on the 24th floor of the Royal Park Hotel The Shiodome, just steps away from Shiodome station. The restaurant offers a simple yet classy interior combined with a great view that overlooks the Tokyo skyline. The décor—wine red and deep black—has a romantic feel at night, but appears bright and spacious during the day, with plenty of light streaming in from the large windows near almost every seat. After two minutes in the restaurant, you might find yourself imagining the variety of ways you could enjoy the space: a quiet luncheon, an afterwork party, a romantic evening, or even solo, with nobody to distract from the food.
The menu selection is filled with surprises, as despite specializing in authentic Sichuan-style Chinese cuisine, Xvin offers a vast array of options for different tastes, in both Japanese and Western styles.
Take the humble steak or roast chicken dinner set (¥5,000). Nothing in the name suggests Asian food, yet the four-item course includes most of the familiar favorites. The chef’s recommended hors d’oeuvre is served first and features a plate of six small, standard Chinese nibbles cooked untraditionally: sweet-and-sour pork tongue, chili shrimp, banbanji (spicy) chicken, tai (sea bream) sashimi, jellyfish salad, and baby squid. For the main dish you can choose between Japanese wagyu steak or roast chicken. (If you’re wondering how this is Chinese cooking, well the wagyu steak is cooked rare unless otherwise requested, in a Chinese wok and served with three condiments: wasabi, garlic herb sauce and Chinese salt). The beef comes out tender and savory and is followed with a dish of stir-fried vegetables and a choice between chicken noodle soup, fried rice, or sesame-based dandan noodles.
Unique à la carte menu items include a shark fin and sea urchin soup (¥1,620) and the spicy mapo tofu (¥1,296), the former being a rare synchronization of two Chinese and Japanese delicacies (served in a gaudy bowl), while the latter is a new touch on the classic Sichuan-style spicy tofu dish served piping hot. The searing combination of Chinese spices will make your lips numb, but you won’t regret ordering it.
For those who have trouble making decisions, Xvin also has a buffet menu of over 50 kinds of traditional Chinese dishes, some rare fusion culinary nibbles, desserts and more, all cooked to order (available on weekends and national holidays only for ¥5,500 and ¥7,500).
For drinks, Xvin is a bottomless well you wouldn’t mind drowning in. The large wine cellar speaks for itself (and the name of the restaurant: “x” stands for infinity and “vin” is French for wine), but here you can find some of the best internationally branded wines that, surprisingly, go perfectly with Chinese food. At least here at Xvin.
Despite the exquisitely presented dishes, however, what makes Xvin stand out the most is its taste to hospitality and ability to adjust to customers’ needs, whether it’s a request for a fully vegetarian Chinese menu, a personal arrangement for a birthday celebration or a romantic proposal, a wheelchair seat, a quiet meeting, or a girls’ night out. “Whatever your needs are, just call us in advance,” the restaurant’s top waiter Yasushi Sakamoto and chef Kazuhiro Gogami harmoniously say. Three members of the staff speak English and one Chinese, and they will make sure that your order is arranged as requested.
A good restaurant knows that serving is caring, and Xvin, with eight exclusive private rooms fit for two to 36 people, not only has the capacity to arrange that, but also the will to. It’s simply a restaurant that knows how to impress—and remain in your memory.
Address: 24F Royal Park Hotel The Shiodome, 1-6-3 Higashi Shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Open: Daily, 7 a.m.–10:30 a.m. for breakfast; 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. for lunch; 5–11:30 p.m. for dinner