Dining floor TSUNOHAZU which was renovated in autumn 2014, embodies the folkloric traditions and boundless energy of the Shinjuku neighborhood that surrounds the Hilton Tokyo. A multifaceted mini-city combining new and old, boisterousness and tranquility, Shinjuku retains a purity and sense of order derived from the spirit of its residents. TSUNOHAZU expresses these qualities in an open-format space composed of colorful materials, surprising design elements and four distinct dining and entertainment zones—lounge ZATTA, Japanese restaurant JUNISOH, Chinese eatery DYNASTY and METROPOLITAN GRILL, which offers premium meats and seafood prepared by chefs from their perch in an open kitchen. Rooted in the land and reflecting the seasonal focus of the local dining ethos, TSUNOHAZU translates the traditions of Shinjuku into an alluring space of cultural and culinary discovery.
TSUNOHAZU’s distinctive design comes courtesy of Japanese architectural firm NAO Taniyama & Associates, whose celebrated works include high-end hotels (Grand Hyatt Tokyo) and luxurious restaurants (Dominique Bouchet Tokyo). Nao Taniyama, the company’s founder and representative director, considers this project a highlight of his career.
“Even though the floor consists of just four venues, we’ve deployed enough concepts to fill 20 restaurants,” he says. Materials such as native Japanese timber, traditional washi paper, steel and brick frame an open dining floor whose three restaurants—Japanese, Chinese and grill—revolve around a central lounge. It’s a space where discrete zones are defined not by physical barriers but by variations in the walls and flooring.
“The design is like a bunch of scattered matchboxes,” Taniyama says, “each with the potential to ignite a beautiful story.”
Executive Chef Philippe Louis Egalon has set himself a clear mission at TSUNOHAZU: To create pioneering cuisine that respects the classics. “New tastes always have—and always will—stem from an understanding of what’s come before,” he says. “We can’t be innovative if we ignore tradition.”
Passionate about cooking and intensely committed to his craft, Egalon expects the same of his team, urging staff to stake out new culinary territory by moving beyond their comfort zones. That creative spirit pervades the entire dining program at TSUNOHAZU.
“At Metropolitan Grill, we’ve appointed a ‘Spice Concierge’ to suggest rare seasonings from around the world that draw out the full potential of the grilled meat and seafood,” Egalon says. “At our Chinese restaurant, DYNASTY, we seek the cuisine’s ideal marriage with international wines—not just conventional Chinese rice wine. The sushi chefs at Japanese restaurant JUNISOH have revived a unique method of smoking raw fish over burning straw.”
Egalon is perhaps most proud of the bread served at METROPOLITAN GRILL, which is baked on premises from fresh-made dough—and which calls to mind the finest handcrafted culinary traditions. “It tastes exactly like European artisan bread,” he says with a smile.