Cascade Cafe Lunch Buffet, ANA Intercontinental Hotel Tokyo
Education | Avg price: ¥5000 | English Available: None (Unknown)
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Great hotel lunch buffet in central Tokyo
When you do an Internet search, something along the lines of 'lunch buffet ana intercontinental tokyo', the top search comes out with a title the prefix of which reads 'Best Buffet in Tokyo'. A bold claim indeed, still having once spent a night at the ANA Intercontinental I wouldn't have been surprised to find that the hotel staff know how to lay on a good spread.
Lunch buffets at the Intercontinental are served in the 2nd floor Cascade Cafe in the main lobby of the hotel. It's a pretty grand setting for a spot of lunch. Presumably 'cascade' comes from the designer 'waterfalls' that occupy the center of the lobby. A grand piano and cello sit on a elevated stage at the top of a sweeping set of stairs, and the floors of the hotel rise up around you. Cascade Cafe itself is all subdued tones (greys, beiges, browns), the table seating is comfortable (there are some booths), and there is an army of staff flying around like cabin attendants.
The weekend lunch buffet is listed as 3,980 yen, but this is without tax and service charge. Throw in a soft drink and it comes out as 5,000 yen on the nose. It's a about 500 yen cheaper on weekdays.
The food is mostly Western; pizzas, roast beef, burgers, roast / steamed vegetables, breads and cheeses, stews, pastas, and paella. Of course, there are the staple salads (but we're not here for them, are we?), and there was a smattering of Indian influence with chicken tikka, and some form of curry.
Desserts at these things are usually a bit of a let down, but the buffet at the Intercontinental did a pretty sterling job here. If you're a fan of macaroons, then this buffet is a must. You can stuff yourself silly with the things in a number of different flavours, and the way they are laid out and decorated will remind you of the time you watched 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' as a kid. The soft cream here comes highly recommended (although I didn't try it), and I was a fan of the touch of having jars of the Jelly Beans from which you could scoop out handfuls. There are also three or four chocolate (and other sauce) fountains that kids will love, as well as jelly, panna cotta, pudding (the Japanese kind), cakes, and little tarts.
Teas and coffees at the Intercontinental lunch buffet are all you can drink but you have to order them from the wait staff. As I understand it, you can bring your own bottles of wine, if you wish.
The lunch buffet is for 90 mins. There are two seatings; 11:30 am and 1:30 pm. We were at the 1:30 sitting. People starting waiting in line around 15 - 10 mins before hand. Reservations are a must, I would think. We made ours the evening before after finding that our first choices for a hotel buffet lunch in Tokyo were all booked up (a lot of these places require reservations before 5 pm the day before).
Anyway, the Cascade Cafe is a nice setting for a good hotel lunch buffet in Tokyo, the food is very nice, the desserts particularly good, and the whole vibe pleasant and friendly (although you can sense the tension of people waiting to be seated so as they can maximise their time at the buffet). Ultimately though, this buffet luncher will never learn that I don't really have the stomach to get the best value for money out of these things (I was starting to labor after the second plate, before even getting onto the dessert).
The ANA Intercontinental Hotel Tokyo is central but not really in a happening part of town. It's in the Akasaka area and the quiet Ark Hills is next door. We accessed it from Tameike-sanno Station on the Ginza Line. From the hotel it's also possible to walk to places like Roppongi, and Toranomon (good for getting that lunch through the system).