Shiro Sushi is a tiny piece of Tokyo hidden away upstairs at One Eleven Resorts, a modern design hotel on the edge of a tropical island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. With impressive organic modern interiors by celebrated Osaka-based architect Shibemasa Noi, you could go just for the atmosphere and escape while filling up on the extensive sake and Japanese whiskey offerings. That is just the beginning, despite the perfect surroundings and strong cocktails, you will soon realize that it is the food that shines at Shiro. The sushi is perfect; the cooked dishes are creative without being molecular, and the sashimi is something I will make my way back all the way to Seminyak, Bali to experience again. I had the small omakase menu, and it was spot on. Sit at the bar and make some new friends while you watch the chef work his magic with stunningly gorgeous pieces of super fresh fish. Do yourself a favor and book in advance as it fills up, and you won't want to miss this spot. Shiro stands out among a lot of tourist filled mediocre offerings on the island. Dinner here will be one of the highlights of your time in Bali.
Filtering by Tag: Japan
Pottery and ceramics hold a special place in my heart. I love the way the art form completely represents a place. Whenever possible I try actually to meet the people that create this art since they are working directly with their hands and the earth they know the place well. The works at Setia in Ubud are by a Japanese-born potter working in Bali for the last two decades. The integration of the raw materials and resources of Bali with the workmanship of a Japanese artisan make for pieces that are unique, organic, simple, and thoughtful. There is a small gallery in Ubud proper where you can easily pop in and for prices that seem like sealing head home with a piece or five. Take it a step further and make your way from the gallery to the studio up in the hills just above the main drag where the open air layout and organized chaos is inspiring. The day that I visited the studio there was a meeting on for a new restaurant concept in Singapore where Setia would be creating the tableware. Very normal to witness at a factory, yet, in this case, it wasn't in a conference room or an office. This meeting for a massive project was happening at a work table in the middle of the studio open to the jungle with racks of works in progress surrounding you. Being this close to the person making the pottery with the raw materials surrounding you make anything seem possible. I started to daydream about ways to come up with an excuse to make products with them, an excuse to come back to Ubud for work someday. Still dreaming from afar at this point and loving the time I spend with the works I've brought home.
Claska is a lifestyle concept as much as it is a hotel property. The large Mad Men era building sits in the Meguro neighborhood of Tokyo which is a bit off the more traveled paths of the city. Meguro is a very robust area with good public transport access, I wasn't bothered in any way by the location. However I was surprised by the lack of design hotel properties in Tokyo. It feels as if every other detail of every other thing is being considered from design and concept perspective, despite that you will be challenged to find a place to lay your head that isn't either a luxury property from a global player (I'm not complaining about that in any way, but I wanted a design experience) or a Japanese business hotel - think pods. The building and it's rooms are big by Tokyo standard, with 20 rooms across 4 floors there are distinctly different types of rooms to choose from. Rooms fall into 4 categories: Traditional Tatami, Japanese Modern, Contemporary and Weekly Residences. I stayed in one of the contemporary rooms on the 7th floor full to the gills with conceptual stuffed animal art pieces that I thought were going to freak me out, but ended up being a nice juxtaposition to the urban landscape. All of the rooms and common spaces deliver. For my next stay I will go for the Japanese Modern or the Weekly Residences, every room is worth its rate. Rates which are surprisingly reasonable compared to what you hear about in Tokyo.
The concept shop sells mostly Japanese wares a well edited offering from designers and craftspeople throughout the country. The shop at Claska is one my top three favorites from the stay. I found it especially good because of the smaller artistically considered selection on offer. Compared to The Loft or Tokyo Hands it was easier to navigate. It is simple to understand the artistic take when you realize that there are two separate galleries in the building that regularly have shows up. Upon arrival you are greeted on a lovely welcome floor with reception and open plan restaurant that is great for a traditional Japanese breakfast or tea in the afternoon. My favorite parts of the building were the common spaces and the architectural details that they had left in place when they re-purposed the property to turn it into a hotel (see amazing tile below). Thoughtfully placing seating and working areas are spread throughout the common spaces on each floor. There is a shocking amount of open space and it's all cinematic, it is a very photo friendly property. The toiletries are from Marks & Web which became a favorite for gifts when I was in town. You will be conserving in the interest of bringing them home with you. The linens were crisp and luxurious with two different robes on offer.
The best part of the whole building is the rooftop terrace, stunning views of the city skyline from an underexploited vantage and an excellent place to sip coffee with my new crush....Mt. Fuji that is. I woke up each morning in my animal filled room looking out the window a the magical mountain. I fell hard. I was lucky that I had three clear days in a row where he was on full display and it was just after winter so he was in tip top camera-ready shape. The last morning I was there a fashion shoot for a Japanese magazine was in full force with fittings in the gallery space on the 8th floor and a small crew setting up on the roof. It was nice to see all the space being used in a creative way. I really felt like I was living in Tokyo for a moment.
The service at Claska is wonderful. They're not chasing after you like butlers, but they are smart, thoughtful and have a genuine concern that you enjoy yourself and are comfortable while you're with them. I will be back to Tokyo and Claska as soon as my life allows.