When I visited: May 2016
Location: Hakone (near Lake Ashi)
Rating in the Michelin Guide: Not rated in the Guide
What to wear: Men – jeans or nice trousers and a shirt; women – jeans and a smart top or a smart dress (could go more casual)
Ambience: Beautiful, quite intimate
Course of the meal: Chocolate scone with yuzu orange jam
If I could change one thing: More obvious signage leading to the restaurant
If Tokyo is Coruscant (see Seryna and Andaz Tavern), Hakone, specifically the area near Lake Ashi, is Naboo (yes, even owls watch Star Wars), almost as much as Lake Como where the Naboo scenes of Attack of the Clones were actually filmed (see Cafe Il Balcone sul Lago and similar Como restaurants). It is just SO beautiful and atmospheric that you could wander round for hours … but eventually you’ll need some sustenance, so if you can find it via the mysterious Japanese signs you should head to this restaurant for afternoon tea.
My partner Owl and I had a glass of Pierre Moncuit champagne each (nice and dry) as well as jasmine tea selected from an extensive global tea menu. The afternoon tea food itself was glorious:
The food included beef pastrami mini sandwiches, a vegetable quiche, a salmon layered sandwich, pickled vegetables (another staple of Japanese meals) and olives on the ‘savoury’ tier, followed by a chocolate scone (an amazing invention!) and a normal scone with clotted cream and yuzu orange jam on the ‘scone’ layer, with the top / ultimate cake layer consisting of a strawberry mini cheesecake with a silver ball on top, a jelly with blueberries, an edible rose petal and orange, a lemon macaron on a dark chocolate base with a chocolate ganache mini tart.
I would totally go back to this restaurant, and this area, and would highly recommend it for a Hakone day out.