First Stop Tokyo - China Blue

After an absence of 3 years or so there are certain things one will miss in the capital city of Japan - strolling through Ueno Park on quiet weekdays, shopping at Ginza on Sundays and sampling the culinary delights of one of the world's best fine-dining Chinese chef at China Blue.

I have been following the career of Albert Tse since he was setting the bar for Chinese fine dining at Four Seasons Singapore's Jiang Nan Chun over a decade ago. He moved to Tokyo in 2005 with the opening of Conrad where he has been helming the hugely successful China Blue since.

Albert's signature black sesame duck roll is going through a 12 month metamorphosis in 2017 with the crispy yuba, daikon garlic and burdock roll its January version at the time of our visit. The ingredients may have changed but it's the same satisfaction one feels with each bite of the roll. His dim sum trio is still the surprising basket of har kow, siew mai and san cheen pao. The har kow accented by truffle oil with added crunch from cordyceps and black wood ears. The black pepper pan fried steam bun features wagyu beef fillings and the siew mai is topped with a braised baby abalone garnished with golden carviar. And the presentation basket never seem to run out of piping steam, keeping the delicious morsels hot even after we are done with the photography!

A comforting beef and pepper consomme provides the right notes of heat for the dreary weather outside Tokyo today. His new signature of crispy fried 'Dongpo' briskets did not disappoint with a good balance of textures and heavier flavours, doused with decades old black vinegar from Hong Kong. The lobster broth wanton noodle is absolutely delicious, a commonplace crowd pleaser made glorious with a gorgeous lobster stock and noodles of wonderful bite.

By the dessert course I am once again reminded that uncommon culinary talents also need hard work and creativity to maintain their ranks in their establishment hierarchy. Albert Tse has a masterful command of Chinese techniques, an acquired mastery of Japanese ingredients and an innate willingness to always evolve and change with the seasons, making China Blue a gourmet indulgence in the capital of epicurean titillation.

Steaming hot dim sums @ China Blue

Lobster stock wanton noodles

Crispy 'Dongpo' pork

Crispy yuba, daikon, garlic and burdock roll

Chef Albert Tse woking up a storm in his kitchen

China Blue @ Conrad Tokyo

China Blue @ Conrad Tokyo