This is a splendid establishment [Map], hidden like its near neighbour Epice de Kaneko in the back streets of Roppongi. But it's well worth the hunt, and one feels a certain guilty almost voyeuristic sense of pleasure entering its secret depths. There's a love affair with Northern Italian food going on here, and your Humble Correspondent is happy to be part of it.
I travelled there with the Duchess to meet with the Trendies (all 3 of them) to discuss an upcoming project. In hindsight, it was best that we had most of that talk early on - as dish after scrumptious dish arrived the desire for witty conversation fell by the wayside, and people grew more and more protective of each morsel.
In short order we had a magnificent spread of appetizers including organic vegetable crudites with Bagna Cauda, green salad with Parma Prosciutto, Stewed Tripe, Italian Summer Porcini Tart, and some very sensible charcoal grilled vegetables. Oh dear, this was going to be some meal! Obviously we needed some vigorous wine to match this feast and we went for a Terre da Vino Gavi Masseria dei Carmelitani 2005. Terre da Vino is owned by 14 co-ops who choose the best grapes from vineyards around Piemonte. This is absolutely a typical Gavi, brusque but full of depth, piquant but fragrant, with a nutty palate. Much like your Humble Correspondent, methinks.
On then, to some pasta. What if I tempted you with Italian porcini and suumer truffle tarajin, Gentle Reader? What's "tajarin" ... Tajarin are the delectable fresh egg yolkpasta of Piedmont and take a certain culinary courage with up to 40 egg yolks per kilo of flour. There is no better accompaniment for Italian truffles! Or Gorganzola gnocchi? Cappellini (angel hair)? There is likely no better descent into over-eating than the temptations Tornavento offers, and each was prepared with a delicacy and pride that had your Humble Correspondent grinning maniacally.
The main courses included Beef Cheeks with corn gnocchi, Cotoletta alla Milanese (YHC), Sauted Pigs Trotters stuffed with Pork and Cheese, and charcoal-grilled fish delivered fresh from Numazu. Was the ecstacy ever to stop? How would I pull out of this freefall? When matched with Fratelli Cavallotto Barolo Briccho Boschis 1999, this was a meal quite out of the ordinary and not suited to a business discussion!
Tornavento is a small town in the province of Varese in Lombardy, right up in the north-west corner of Italy. I for one am delighted that a small part of it has been magically transported to Tokyo - the new Hell-Hole is located close nearby, so if you're thinking of going there (and you're paying!) drop by and pick up the fat boy. I'll be eternally grateful!
Rating: Food: 8; Wine: 7; Service: 7; Ambiance: 8 Price: 7 ($$). Total 37/50