I had long heard about this themed restaurant in Tokyo but hadn’t had the opportunity to dine here until now.
The entrance to the Ninja Akasaka restaurant is a simple doorway which is situated in the middle of a black wall and it may be missed if you don’t consciously look for it (especially after dark)!
From outside the restaurant the interior is hidden from view as not only is there a curtain at the doorway, you’ll also need to walk around the wall partition, which is found immediately behind the entrance, to get to the reception counter.
At the reception counter, we were asked to wait for a little while and our waiter would show us to our table. The wall panel on our right then slid open and our waiter (dressed like a ninja) jumped out from it! We were told that no photo-taking was allowed whilst being led to our table as the path was dimly lit and we might miss a step. Our ninja waiter then led the way through narrow passageways, stairways, trapdoors and a broken bridge to get to our table.
I hung my camera over my neck and left it running on video mode whilst being led to our table. However, everything was dark and nothing much could be seen from the video, so I didn’t upload it (but on a brighter note, I did upload a video of their incredible food!! – you can watch it towards the end of this post).
Now, let’s enter the era of the warring states…
We saw other diners having their meal at this Ninja village side of the restaurant.
Although I had made prior reservations, we arrived about 30min early and our originally allocated table wasn’t available yet, so we weren’t seated at the main area of the restaurant (i.e. ninja village) but was instead ushered to a cave-like room, which was named “Dōkutsu no ma” (洞窟の間). This housed the bar and was rather cosy, but I felt that it lacked the warring states atmosphere as compared to the other side of the restaurant.
Our ninja waiter made up for it as his presentation of the dishes was quite comical! We were definitely entertained!
I ordered a strawberry sorbet champagne cocktail called “Ninja Zen” and it was served with a spoon so that you can use it to scoop up the sorbet. It was an interesting combination which surprisingly went well together and was quite refreshing to the palate.
The next moment was rather unexpected as Mr. Ninja presented us with a scroll and I was initially wondering what he was up to…. Who knew that the scroll unravelled to reveal the food menu! This was the English version of the menu:
There are various course menus (i.e. set menus) offered by the restaurant but they can burn a big hole in your wallet! I did look through the various courses and the only one which appealed to me costs ¥15000 (excluding tax) per head! As I wanted to try a variety of different dishes and not all were available collectively as part of a set menu, I opted to order from the ala carte menu and share the dishes between 2 persons, instead of each having a set with some repeated dishes (sharing works out to be cheaper too!).
Based on the ala carte menu (in Japanese) on their website, I had actually done a little homework before my trip and had printed out a list of the Japanese names of the dishes which I wanted to try, thus I was trying to match the Japanese names to the ones on the English menu. In the process, I think our waiter started to get confused, as he couldn’t figure out if I should have been given the English menu or the Japanese one! LOL…we ended up having 2 scrolls at our table – one English and one Japanese as I was trying to match the menu items to ensure that I actually ordered what I wanted (some of the descriptions in Japanese actually contain more detail and sounded more interesting than the English version).
Most of the food which we ordered that night were in fact their Signature Dishes and I ended up ordering more appetizers than the main courses!!
Shuriken Star-Blades Grissini with Cream Pate de Foie Gras dip
Our first dish for dinner! This was from the appetizer menu and was very well presented! The grissini was black in colour and crisp but I thought they were more cracker-like rather than breadsticks. The foie gras pate dip was creamy and we were given 3 star-blade shaped servings of it so I spread generous helpings of it over my shuriken crackers. Yumm!
Snow Crab and Grapefruit served with a Sword Trick
A cold appetizer which came with a sword pierced through the grapefruit. Our ninja waiter proceeded to remove the sword and the dish literally started smoking! (It’s actually the dry ice effect). COOL!! The fresh crab flesh was sweet and paired well with the juicy segments of the grapefruit.
Treasure Chest with Egg-Guised Seafood and Vegetable Jelly
Another cold appetizer and this time a black lacquered box, with smoke curling out from it, was placed in front of us! The lid of the box was then opened to reveal a mysterious treasure. I have to say that I was impressed with the presentation of this dish!!
We marvelled briefly at the smooth white “precious stone” before it was overturned to reveal a gelatinous substance filled with various treasures from the sea. Our waiter advised us to mash up the “egg” and mix it into the salad before eating….and yes, it was delicious!
Turban Shell Bombs with Garlic Butter
Apparently this dish has often been featured in TV programmes which were shot at this restaurant. Its presentation makes the turban shells look like mini bombs and our waiter tried to use his “special powers” to light them up!
It feels as if you are eating escargot as the flesh of the turban shell has a similar texture and the garlic butter gives it a nice flavour. Mmm…it was my first time eating turban shells cooked in this manner! Oishii!! 本当にすごく美味しいですね！
Truffles Lurking in Eggs
The English name of this dish does sound rather strange, but you’ll not bother about its name once you start eating and concentrate on its taste. This is a sushi appetizer but it looks like french toast sitting atop a lump of rice, and was served with some pickles. I couldn’t really taste the flavour of the truffles but my hubby liked this dish. I thought it was just ok…and in case you’re wondering – there was no special ninja presentation for this plate of sushi.
Special Stone-Boiled Soup (Japanese Bouillabaisse)
名物 灼熱投石鍋 葉隠之術
This soup is the restaurant’s recommended dish but it can only be ordered with a minimum of two diners. Our waiter told us to keep a distance as what he was going to do was “very dangerous”, then he took out a pair of scissors and started snipping the vegetables into strips! LOL…
The entire process for the soup to be served to us took almost forever as a lot of time was spent cutting up the greens and some hot stones were then placed into the soup as well!
We were given some mint, tom yum paste and I forgot what the last condiment was, and these could be used to enhance the flavour of the soup. You should first taste the soup, then add them to your liking.
As the thick milky soup had a rich seafood taste, I felt the tom yum paste went best with it!
Black Enchantment-Sweet and Sour Tender Pork
This dish tastes better than it looks! Well, I like black vinegar and the seasoning used in the sauce was lovely! The pork was extremely tender and both sweet and sour flavours were well balanced.
Haha…when this dessert was placed in front of us, our initial reaction was, “WOW…is this for real?? How are we supposed to eat this potted plant??!!”
Out of all the dishes that we’ve tried here, I think we spent the longest time staring at (oops…I meant admiring!) this one!! ^_^
The stem of the bonsai plant was made from puff pastry and the leaves tasted like sesame paste. As for the soil, we found there were 3 flavours of ice cream hidden beneath – milk, green tea (matcha) and black sesame! A very satisfying dessert which looked too good to be eaten!!
Here’s my video of the Signature dishes which we tried at this restaurant…
We were also treated to a magic show at our table, as a ninja magician (not our waiter) went around the restaurant performing card tricks to the diners at each table. No photography or videography is allowed during the magic show so I have nothing to show here apart from talking about it.
Alas, all good things must come to an end and it was time to leave… Our waiter led the way back through the “secret passage” to the exit and even followed us out of the restaurant! Just when we were starting to wonder why, he surprised us by unrolling another scroll!! LOL…it had the words “Please Come Again” – I found it rather amusing and just had to take one last photo!
Verdict: Overall it was an enjoyable experience! The restaurant is actually like a Japanese izakaya but with an added theme and well-conceptualized presentations of the dishes. Only the Signature dishes had some added sideshow performed by the waiter, some of which were hilarious and unexpected! (those initial moments may not have been captured in my video as I totally did not expect them!)
With regards to the food, it was AMAZING! All the dishes which we had tried were extremely pleasing to the palate! Not only did most of the food look like culinary works of art, they tasted good too! The service at this place was also extraordinary!!
If you only have the opportunity to dine at a themed restaurant once in your lifetime, this has got to be the one!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!
NINJA AKASAKA 「忍者赤坂」
Akasaka Tokyu Plaza 1st floor,
2-14-3 Nagatacho, Chiyoda, Tokyo 100-0014, Japan.
Reservations can be made via phone or through their website. Do check their webpage for more details especially if you intend to order from their course menu, or if you want to bring children along, there are some restrictions on the dining hours.
Mon-Sat Dining/Bar 17:00-25:00 （Doors close 22:30）
Sun & Holidays Dining/Bar 17:00-23:00 (Doors close 21:45)
Take the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line or Marunouchi Line to Akasaka-Mitsuke station it’s a 3-min walk from there (you’ll need to get to street level and cross the road to get to Akasaka Tokyu Plaza).