A feast for the eyes and more

Luna Regalo fuses entertainment and food under the big-top

A feast for the eyes and more

A very unique space appeared in Hibiya, Tokyo on April 29, 2010. This temporary space – a giant big-top – is the venue for a dinner show, Luna Regalo tsuki kara no okurimono (Gift From the Moon). Set in amongst city buildings, Luna Regalo’s gigantic tent seats 400 people; here the audience enjoys a self-billed ‘fusion’ of acrobatic performances and fine cuisine.

The show’s stars are the performance artists are from Russia’s famous Great Moscow Circus, and the cuisine, taking the form of a set menu of four dishes, each created by a famous Japanese chef. Luna Regalo will be in Tokyo only until August 1, after which it will open in Osaka in autumn 2010 and is scheduled for Nagoya in 2011.

A fusion of the stage and the audience

Upon entering the gigantic tent, your eyes will arrive at a small space in the centre. The floor is decorated with the images of a moon, above which hangs a trapeze. Arranged in the four cardinal directions around the moon, the seating makes it easy to guess that this is where the performance takes place.

One of the most notable aspects of Luna Regalo is the size and proximity of the stage, which is small and with nothing separating it from the audience. Each table seats two en face, with the tables in the front row a mere two meters from the stage. The audience is so close to the stage, in fact, that they can feel the vibrations of the dancing through the floor.

To kick off the performance, the round moon on the floor rises to form an elevated stage around 1 metre high and 3.6 metres diameter, on which the artists perform. To add to the feeling of suspense and wonder, the performance space is so small that it sometimes might seem that the performers may fall. Performances like the trapeze act, where the acrobats swing in all directions and come right at the audience, could be likened to watching a 3D movie. It’s the combination of the petite size of the stage and its distance (or rather, lack thereof) from the audience that increases the magic of the performance and gives life to this new synergy.

A fusion of star chefs

As this is a dinner performance, the cuisine takes the form of a course menu – however each dish is created by a different chef. The chefs bring their own style-specific expertise in Chinese, French and Italian cuisines and dessert making, and create their dish based on the lunar theme of the show, creating a complete meal.

Chinese cuisine chef, Kinya Komoda, takes on the first dish, ‘Full moon steamed chicken parcels served with a seductive red and black sauce’. Komoda is a chef at Szechwan Restaurant Chen and is an exceptional talent, having taken the gold medal in the Fifth World Championship of Chinese Cuisine in 2004 – the first Japanese person to do so. Following on from Komoda is a dish created by Hiro Yamada, the man said to be responsible for creating the Italian food boom in Japan. His dish is called ‘The moon I saw in Rome: two coloured risotto with the fragrance of truffles’. Third up is ‘A flavourful lunar marriage of red wine, beef and vegetables’ by Hiroyuki Sakai, who shot to fame as the Iron Chef French on the popular Fuji Television program ‘Ryōri no Testujin’ (‘Iron Chef’). To finish, is a dish by rising star pâtissier Aya Kakisawa: ‘Colourful vegetable ice-cream with ginger moon’, which shatters the idea that vegetables have no place in dessert.

Needless to say, there is probably nowhere else where people will be treated to dishes crafted by these four chefs, under the one roof; it’s their fusion which results in the Luna Regalo meal being out of this world. This line up of chefs lasts until June, however July and August will see a new team in the kitchen: Tsutomu Ochiai (Italian),Yuuji Wakiya (Chinese), Hironobu Tsujiguchi (pâtissier) and Masahiro Kasahara (Japanese). Don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to indulge yourself in this extravagant menu.

A fusion of acrobatics and food

The dinner show brings together a feast for your stomach and one for your eyes, all in the same space. While most people think of a dinner show as a meal followed by a musical performance, this is most definitely not style at Luna Regalo.

Under the Luna Regalo tent, courses are served in between performances of the Great Moscow Circus. The first course is ‘Full moon steamed chicken parcels served with a seductive red and black sauce’ by chef Kinya Komoda, presented as a beautiful glittering moon in the night sky. When the dome shaped full moon created from steamed chicken is cut, out burst prawns, edamame (green soybeans) and a colourful assortment of other delights. As soon as this dish is cleared away, the circus performance begins.

On cue, acrobats appear from all directions for ‘Bankin’, a performance about sending people to the moon using sheer human strength. Aerial artists play the part of the humans who are launched into space and perform a twisting, turning dance. Watching them as they fly through the air induces a feeling of being in a world of lunar gravity. This switching back and forth between eye opening cuisine and acrobatics is a fusion of food with acrobatics unlike any other experience.

The smooth delivery of this complex format is due to the fusion of impeccable timing with every aspect of making and serving the food. All of the 400 members of the audience are served their meal at more or less the same time. Accordingly, the training of the staff is said to be rigorous. This ‘fusion of food and acrobatics’ is not just a performance, it is a work of art, which brings together the skills of the chefs, waiters and waitresses and everyone involved.

A fusion of performance and costume

Artist, Tatsuya Ishi, designed the costumes for the Great Moscow Circus. On first glance they may appear to be nothing special due to their monotone colours but when they are lit up their colours echo the glowing shades of the moon. The twinkling of the costumes as the acrobats perform their supple and enchanting moves on the Great Moscow Circus’s trapeze – known as the ‘Aerial Adagio’ – help to create an even more dazzling performance.

A fusion of live performance and technology

Charged with keeping the show on the move is Luna Patrone, played by actor Toshiaki Karosawa. Luna Patrone is the emcee of the show and gets a kick out of surprising the audience. When the lights go out, he appears on the six screens placed around the venue and skilfully calls on the next performance. The screens are also used to give the profiles of the star chefs and the concept behind each dish so that the audience knows what they are about to eat. Knowing which chef created which dish and why before eating simply adds to the truly exceptional experience.

Luna Regalo tsuki kara no okurimono Preview Show
Location: Hibiya Patio Showplace (Full details & map)
Date: Until Sun May 30
Admission: Special price ¥14,000 (food and tax included, plus drink fee)

Luna Regalo tsuki kara no okurimono Show
Date: Tue Jun 1-Sun Aug 1

By Kyoko Kitamura
Translated by E. Kavanagh
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.



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