Eating in Tokyo

My Melody and My Sweet Piano Cafe「マイメロディ&マイスウィートピアノカフェ」

This pop-up cafe at Shibuya is open for a limited time from 19 March to 31 May 2015 and I jumped at the chance to check out the cafe during my recent holiday as I love cute character-themed food! ^_^

Be mentally prepared to queue to dine here! Customers are only allowed about an hour to dine-in. We queued for almost 90 minutes (this was on the weekend) before we eventually got a table!!

Capsule machines (gachapon) containing limited edition items, as well as a seal printing machine which can print your name on My Melody and My Sweet Piano designed stickers, can be found just outside the cafe.

Before you are led to your table, there is a photo opp available at the entrance of the cafe. Several props and accessories can be found in a basket by the side and you can use them for your photo.

It looked a little too cutesy for my age but I gave it a go anyway! :p

  

The decor was quite simple and there was one table where “lucky” customers get to sit with giant My Melody, My Sweet Piano and Kuromi plushies as their dining companions.

This was the table setting and you are allowed to take the paper placemats with you when you leave.

We were shown this just before the menu was passed to us. Okay…so we may be served dessert before everything else…

Menu (in Japanese only):

I’m listing the food/drinks that we ordered in the sequence that they arrived at our table…

Strawberry Milk 「いちごミルク」 – ¥780
This beverage was topped with cute My Melody and My Sweet Piano images, with two pink chocolate hearts and a chocolate flower served by the side. I took a sip and was in strawberry bliss! ^_^ (FYI – the drink contains strawberry bits)


My Melody Latte 「マイメロディラテ」 – ¥680
Cute but the foam started sinking after it sat for a while at the table. This also came with chocolate candies by the side.

Souvenir coasters (i.e. you can take them home) came with our drinks, but we kept them and didn’t use them.


My Sweet Piano’s Sweet Dessert Pizza 「マイスウィートピアノのスウィート❤なデザートピザ」 – ¥1,280

When this arrived, I was wondering if they had forgotten about our main courses and served us dessert right away! However, we were already informed earlier that dessert could possibly be served before the other dishes…

Gosh…this was a HUGE dessert with a big fluffy cloud of pink cotton candy which made up My Sweet Piano’s head, accessorized with 3 pieces of chocolate flowers.

Its base was a chewy mochi-like pizza, topped with blueberries and a strawberry compote, which wasn’t too sweet. The face and ears were actually biscuits and they tasted like shortbread. If you like berries and sweet stuff, this would be the perfect dessert for you! I felt it was sweet enough and thus I didn’t drizzle on the additional syrup which was provided.


By the time the main courses arrived, they were rather lukewarm so we didn’t really enjoy eating them. I suppose it’s kind of expected at such cafes that the food art/food presentation will supercede everything else?

Both curries each came with a glass of salad, served on the side.

My Sweet Piano Vegetable Curry Rice 「マイスウィートピアノベジタブルカレー」 ¥1280
The curry wasn’t piping hot, probably since it was only a thin layer on the plate and the plating may have taken a while to complete. It did look cute though, with the cauliflower florets and potato mimicking My Sweet Piano’s hairstyle, complete with edible flowers. This was a vegetable curry and its flavour was quite light and pleasant. The ears are actually pieces of bread, which can be used to wipe up the remaining curry at the end of your meal (i.e. use it to wipe the plate clean!)


My Melody Chicken Curry Rice 「マイメロディチキンカレー」 ¥1280

This curry like the earlier one, was almost cold by the time it got to the table. Similarly, Melody’s ears were also pieces of bread. The curry has a stronger, meaty flavour (cos this is chicken curry) so its taste definitely differs from the earlier vegetable one. There were pieces of chicken hidden under the “ears” and they seemed to have been marinated with some spices (a bit like chicken satay). Edible flowers came with this dish and they provided different flavours which added an extra fragrance to the curry.


There is a souvenir shop at the cafe which sells My Melody and My Sweet Piano merchandise, as well as limited edition goods only available at this cafe!

 

Being a foodie, the only “merchandise” that I bought was this box of donuts (available for takeaway only) and limited quantities are being sold daily.

「カフェ限定 テイクアウトドーナツセット」 – ¥800
マイメロディとピアノちゃんの特製ドーナツ2個セット♪

They were a little cake-like and weren’t too sweet. I liked the crunchy bits on Piano’s head. Not only did the donuts look cute, they tasted good too!!


Verdict:

If you are into food quality and taste, the desserts (including the takeaway donuts) and beverages are good, but the main courses may not be worth the money that you’re paying for them! However, if you enjoy photographing cute food, then you might overlook the value-for-money part – well, it’s not everyday that you get to dine at such a place!! :p


ADDRESS:
THE GUEST cafe & diner
Shibuya PARCO PART-1, 7th floor
15-1 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0042, Japan.

My Melody and My Sweet Piano Cafe will only be open for a limited period.
Dates: 19 March 2015 to 31 May 2015
Opening Hours: 11:00 ~ Last Order(Food) 22:00 / Last Order(Drinks) 22:30

Enquiries: 03-3477-5773  (THE GUEST cafe&diner)

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Categories: Anime / Games, Eating in Tokyo, Japan, Tokyo (東京), Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tomato Beef Sukiyaki at Mita Basara「三田ばさら」

Mita Basara「三田ばさら」 is located in the Mita ward in Tokyo (near the Tokyo Tower) and can be a little tricky to locate as it’s housed in the basement of the KDX Mita Building「KDX三田ビル」.

This place specialises in Tomato Sukiyaki「トマトすきやき」 and if you don’t want to blow your budget, dine there for lunch as they have affordable set meals, otherwise dinner may cost you 2-3 times more!

I had already checked the menu on their website (Japanese only) and had decided on what I wanted, so it didn’t take long for me to place my order. ^_^

The interior of the restaurant was furnished in a simple, minimalist Japanese style, with private rooms available for reservations.

I found the clientele to be mainly Japanese and it was almost full house during a weekday (i.e. the remaining tables were all occupied after I took the picture above).

When the sukiyaki was brought to the table, the fragrance of the soup filled the air and we breathed in as much of this delicious aroma before the bowls were set down on the table. It just heightened the anticipation of how the flavours of the soup would react on our tastebuds! Just imagine how the soup’s fragrance can permeate the air even before the lid on the claypot is uncovered!!

The Tomato Sukiyaki weekday lunch set comprises of a sukiyaki hotpot (100g wagyu beef, tomatoes, onions, basil), rice, pickles, a side dish, red miso soup and a dessert. There is a bowl containing a raw egg and you are supposed to beat the egg and use this as a dip when eating the beef.

Yumm…I couldn’t wait to tuck in!…

Just look at that piece of delicious juicy tomato!

The well-bodied flavour of the soup was a blissful combination of the ingredients and none of them overpowered the other. It was really good and you can taste the beefy goodness combined with the sweetness of the tomatoes and mirin. Definitely one of the best foods that I’ve eaten to-date!

Dessert was included in the meal and there was a choice between Tiramisu and Sakura Monaka (i.e. sakura ice cream sandwiched between 2 pieces of wafer).

Since cherry blossoms were in season during our visit, we went for the monaka (and so did the 2 ladies at the next table after looking at ours!)

The ice cream came with a piece of mochi and was topped with a salted sakura flower bud. I thought the plating of this dessert was rather unique!

However, to eat it, you are supposed to put the wafer cover over the top and press it down – this makes the dessert look rather uninteresting (see photo below), which explains why it was initially presented to diners uncovered.

I don’t usually like eating salted sakura flowers, but the combination of all the ingredients in this ice cream sandwich made the overall taste quite alright.

Even though this place was a little out of the way to get to, we were glad that we made the effort to ge there! Their Tomato Sukiyaki is definitely A MUST TRY!! ^_^


Address:
MITA BASARA「三田ばさら」
東京都港区芝3-43-16
KDX三田ビル地下1階
[Map]

Tel: 03-5444-6700

Opening Hours:
Mon to Fri:
11:30~15:00(LO 14:00)
17:30~23:00(LO 21.30)

Sat & Public Holidays:
11:30~15:00(LO 14:00)
17:30~22:30(LO 21.00)

Sun:
17:30~22:00(LO 21.00)

Getting There: Take the subway to Mita station (exit A10) and walk for about 10min.

It’s best to check Google maps so that you don’t get lost along the way. You’ll need to walk along a side road before getting to the main road where the restaurant resides. Walk in the direction of Tokyo Tower and the KDX Mita Building「KDX三田ビル」 is on the right side of the road (just to clarify – I took this picture of Tokyo Tower from across the road from the restaurant as I felt this angle of the tower was nicer – you will already be walking on the right side of the road if you are making your way there from Mita station).

Categories: Eating in Tokyo, Japan, Tokyo (東京) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Delicious Pineapple Ramen at Papapapapine「パパパパパイン」

Papapapapine「パパパパパイン」 is a little ramen shop located in a quiet area next to the train tracks and you can’t miss it as there is a pineapple lantern hanging just above its entrance.

Tickets for your food will first have to be purchased from the vending machine located outside the shop. Check if there are empty seats before you proceed to enter, otherwise you’ll just have to wait until the seats have been vacated. Once you are comfortably seated, pass the tickets to the chef behind the counter to process your order.

A closer look at the items available.

This shop is quite tiny and only 7 counter seats are available.

We found a bottle of pineapple vinegar at the counter, plus a little sign saying that pineapple wine was available by the glass. There was also a pineapple ale (seasonal item) that was available during my visit, but I was too excited over ordering the ramen and totally forgot to add on one of these drinks to try!

One of the highly recommended items on the menu is their pineapple flavoured egg. My hubby and I were initially a little skeptical about how it would taste but it only costs an affordable ¥100 each, so we both added this to our bowls of ramen.

パイナップル海老塩ラーメン (pineapple prawn salt-based ramen) + パパパパパイン名物 パイナップルの味付け玉子 (pineapple flavoured egg) – the noodles were cooked just right and the soup broth was absolutely delicious and wasn’t as salty as we had imagined a salt-based soup to be! It was a refreshing taste with the added pineapple. The slice of pork was tender and I loved the onsen egg, which is a hard-boiled egg with a semi-runny yolk inside and this egg was infused with a pineapple flavour! As you are about to bite into the egg, you get a whiff of the pineapple fragrance and once you have tasted it, you’d want more!! I’ve never had anything like it before! Imagine that the fragrance and sweetness of pineapple can be tasted in an egg!


パイナップル醤油ラーメン (pineapple soy sauce based ramen) + パパパパパイン名物 パイナップルの味付け玉子 (pineapple flavoured egg) – the soy sauce flavour somewhat masked the original taste of the soup. It was still yummy but I thought the salt-based one tasted better!


Verdict:
I would highly recommend this ramen shop as it is unique and the soup stock is a refreshing change from the traditional ones. That pineapple flavoured egg is a MUST TRY and something that I definitely would go back for!!

I’m not sure if they will offer it again, but they did serve chocolate (cocoa) ramen for a limited period between February and March this year. I wonder how it tasted?


Address:

Papapapapine「パパパパパイン」
Nishiogi Minami 3-12-1 Nisshin Nishiogi Plaza 1F, Suginami
〒167-0053 東京都杉並区西荻南3-12-1日伸西荻プラザ108

[Map]

Tel: 03-3247-2181

Opening Hours: 11am – 8pm
Closed on Wednesdays.

Access: A 30-second walk from the South exit of Nishi Ogikubo Station (JR Chuo Line/JR Sobu Line).
JR中央線・総武線、西荻窪駅南口を降りていただき、線路沿い右手に歩いて頂き30秒。

As this place is a little out of the way from downtown Tokyo, I would recommend that you incorporate dining here with a visit to either the Ghibli Museum or Inokashira Park.

Categories: Eating in Tokyo, Japan, Tokyo (東京), Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BAKE Cheese Tart 「ベイク チーズタルト」 (by Kinotoya) at Shinjuku

Kinotoya, a long-established confectionery store in Sapporo, Hokkaido, started selling their original cheese tarts「焼きたてチーズタルト」 in Tokyo in 2014 under the name “BAKE Cheese Tart“.

They have a cafe in Jiyugaoka, Tokyo, which sells cheese tarts, ice cream and beverages, but I couldn’t find time in my packed schedule to travel there, so I went to their takeaway-only store at Lumine in Shinjuku instead.

There were long queues here at intermittent times of the day, depending on when the trains get in (Shinjuku JR station is located just next to it). Not bad, considering only cheese tarts are being sold here.

If you buy 6 pieces, they will be packed in a box (see picture below).

Upon opening the box, you’ll see a double-deck of cheesy goodness!! ^_^

Heh heh… you can’t really envision how they would taste just by looking at them, but trust me, they are really good!!

I found the cheese tarts to be quite fluffy, very creamy, yet light in flavour (the Japanese don’t really like strong-tasting cheeses anyway). These tarts have a cheese mousse filling, made from a blend of 3 types of cheeses. Loved them!!

My hubby and I had 3 each and they were sooo good that we started to wonder why we didn’t buy more! LOL…

A word of advice – they are best eaten on the day of purchase or the very latest eat them first thing in the morning if you had purchased them on the evening before.


BAKE CHEESE TART 「ベイク チーズタルト」
LUMINE EST SHINJUKU, 1F
ルミネエスト 新宿店 1F
〒160-0022
東京都新宿区新宿3-38-1

Opening hours:
Mon-Fri  11:00-22:00
Sat, Sun & Public Holidays  10:30-22:00

Telephone: 03-5925-8170

Categories: Eating in Tokyo, Japan, Tokyo (東京) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Asahi Red Eye「アサヒレッドアイ」 – Tomato Beer Cocktail

We were taking a ride on the Tokyo Metro and spotted an interesting advertisement in the train for Asahi Red Eye「アサヒレッドアイ」. It was a canned drink under the Asahi brand and upon further scrutinization, we read that it was a tomato beer cocktail! Hmm….tomatoes + beer?? What a strange combination!!

My other half insisted on trying it and off we went to the nearest convenience store a.k.a. konbini 「コンビニ」 to look for it. We checked at the FamilyMart at our hotel but they didn’t stock the product, so we headed over to Lawson and managed to find it there.

Asahi Red Eye

Alcohol content: 3.5%
Tomato Juice (Kagome brand): 20%

When you first pop the can, the drink smells like tomatoes! I poured it out into a glass and found its colour was a little reddish – just like a mixture of light beer and tomato juice. The beer was indeed light, plus it was smooth but didn’t have the strong taste of beer as the flavour was overpowered by the tomato juice. I love drinking tomato juice so I kinda liked the taste of this cocktail, which also had lemon juice as one of the ingredients.

If you’re not a fan of ketchup or tomato juice, then I would suppose that you may not like this cocktail. However, you only live once and quoting a German friend who once said this to me, “You should try all things at least once. If you don’t like it, that’s fine but at least you’ve tried it!”

I’ll probably buy this again, or perhaps do some experimentation at home and come up with my own concoction! ^_^

Categories: Eating in Tokyo, Japan | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fishing Restaurant Zauo「‎釣船茶屋ざうお」 in Tokyo

I am not the sporty outdoorsy type and have never tried fishing in its natural environment before (i.e. the only times I’ve somewhat tried previously were in man-made ponds). Since I was on the trail of themed restaurants, I decided to go check out this fishing restaurant called Zauo「釣船茶屋ざうお」, located at Shinjuku in Tokyo.

This restaurant chain originates from Fukuoka in Kyushu and has since opened several branches across Japan.

It was such a coincidence that the restaurant happened to be located at the hotel I was staying at (I had booked my trip in Jan 2014 but hadn’t finalized my itinerary then), so that made it even more convenient! ^_^

When you step into the restaurant, you will see a huge fishing boat which occupies most of the floor area of the restaurant and is surrounded by what looks like a moat containing various types of live seafood. Cool!

Diners can sit at tables on the fishing boat and try to fish for your meal from above. However, there is limited seating on the boat so if they are all occupied, you will be ushered to the ordinary table booths located around the back of the boat.

As I wanted to maximise my experience at the restaurant, I made a reservation a few days earlier and specified that I wanted a table on the boat.

English menus are available and diners have the option whether you want to fish for your dinner or simply order off the menu. A brief fishing guide is also provided for your reference (a “how to” guide on the process can be found here).

I asked the restaurant staff with regards to how long it would take to catch a fish and they said it depends on how skillful you are at fishing! That didn’t help at all!!…

We were kind of hungry and weren’t sure whether we could successfully catch any fish, so we decided to order a few items from the menu just to temporarily satisfy our hunger pangs.

Love the logo on their chopstick covers!

They first served us with an appetizer (¥324 incl. tax, per serving) which was a piece of radish and some kind of fishcake and it was quite nice. We didn’t order this but had to pay for it – I suppose it’s like a mandatory fee for dining at this themed restaurant (e.g. miscellaneous charge similar to the tea/towel/peanuts charge in Singapore)??


Dried and Grilled Squid (¥734 incl. tax) – This was dry and chewy and I think would be a good accompaniment to alcohol.


Japanese Omelette containing Alaska Pollack Roe (¥734 incl. tax) – I’ve never had tamagoyaki stuffed with other ingredients and this sounded interesting, so I decided to order it. The fish roe was a little salty but overall it was quite nice.


Now for the fishing part…

It costs ¥108 (incl. tax) for a small portion of bait (shrimp) which is to be used to catch the fish. The fishing rod with a tiny hook at the end is provided free of charge.

   

Do note that there’s no such practice as “catch and release” here – once you have caught something, it means that you will pay for it! Therefore, do have a look at the menu first to check out the prices of the fish/seafood, then target the more affordable ones.

We decided to try fishing for Sea Bream「鯛」 (bait needs to be used to catch this) as it was the cheapest fish on the menu but they just wouldn’t bite!! 😦

There are other fish and even lobsters and turban shells, which you can try catching with your fishing rod. Some of them do not require any bait to be caught and you’ll have to test your skills with the tiny fishing hook.

For those seafood which is charged at market prices, there is a signboard near the tanks that lists the current prices but the fish names are in Japanese, so seek clarification from the staff if you are unsure.

As I wasn’t having any luck with the Sea Bream「鯛」 from where I was seated, I decided to move to the other side of the boat and try to at least catch one fish for dinner!

The Sea Bream「鯛」 wouldn’t bite at this end as well, so I tried my luck with the Flounder「ヒラメ」 and it took me 3 attempts before I caught this one! As the fish will be wriggling on the hook once you’ve caught it, nets are provided so that you can better handle that slippery creature and pass it to the waiter.

Haha…my hubby was still trying to catch Sea Bream from our table and was oblivious to the fact that I had already snagged a Flounder!

According to their website and signboard outside the restaurant, the staff are supposed to beat the drum, do a victory dance and chant to celebrate your success in catching a fish but there was no one around to witness my successful catch except the other diners who were still attempting to catch their own fish. Thus, I didn’t get any celebratory dance from the staff – what a letdown! (not that I wanted the attention anyway but still it was part of the novelty of this restaurant….and I did hear the victory chants much earlier when other customers successfully caught their fish!)

Next was the decision as to how the fish was to be prepared…

As you can see from the menu, the fishing price is much cheaper than ordering straight off the menu. Even if you add on the cost of the bait, it still works out to be cheaper.

We decided to have half the fish as sashimi and the other half grilled, so my cooking specifications were given to the waiter when I quietly handed over the fish to him with my table number.

The sashimi was served on a bed of ice. I don’t think I’ve ever had Flounder「ヒラメ」 as sashimi before and it was actually quite nice.


This was our grilled fish minus the parts that were removed for the sashimi.


Various sauces and seasonings were available at the table and we were testing out the different types of soy sauce including ponzu「ポン酢」 (they had slightly different tastes and levels of saltiness) with the sashimi.


Finally, here’s another picture in case you were wondering how big the portion of fish was. It definitely needed 2 persons to finish this – I don’t think I would have been able to eat the whole fish all by myself! (or maybe I could have if we didn’t order the other dishes earlier)

Our total bill came to ¥6306 but I used a discount coupon (only applicable for use on Mondays and reservations are required) and got 10% off, so our final bill was ¥5676 which wasn’t too bad for a dinner for 2 persons (including 2 non-alcoholic drinks), considering that it was at a themed restaurant in Tokyo.


Verdict:
I declare that I am better at fishing than my husband! LOL!!… :p

Overall it was quite a unique dining experience but I probably wouldn’t do it again as I don’t have the patience to wait for the fish to bite if I’m hungry! The fish was very fresh as it is prepared almost immediately after you’ve caught it.

Important points to take note of:
– You can’t release a fish back into the water once it has been caught and this could be a problem if by accident you catch a really expensive fish that may burn a big hole in your wallet.
– You CANNOT scoop the fish out of the tank with a net if you haven’t actually caught it with the fishing hook!
– If you don’t manage to catch anything, you can order the fish off the menu but it will cost more.


Address:
Zauo「‎釣船茶屋ざうお」
Shinjuku Washington Hotel
3-2-9 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 160-8336 Japan.
〒160-0023 東京都新宿区西新宿3-2-9
新宿ワシントンホテル1階

Phone: 03-3343-6622

Operating Hours:
Lunch (Weekdays) 11:30~14:00 [Last Order 13:30]
Dinner (Weekdays) 17:00~23:00 [Last Order 22:00]
Sat, Sun & Holidays 11:30~23:00 [Last Order 22:00]

Check this link for a discount coupon (terms and conditions apply) – http://www.zauo.com/img/shoplist_img/shinjuku-cuupon.jpg

For more details on this themed restaurant, check out the restaurant’s page (Japanese only) at http://www.zauo.com

Getting There:
SHINJUKU WASHINGTON HOTEL is directly connected to Shinjuku Station by an underground passageway (serviced by JR, Tokyo Metro, Odakyu, Keio and other railway lines) between 06:00 and 22:45 for comfortable access even in bad weather.

8 min walk from Shinjuku Station.
新宿駅徒歩8分

Oedo subway Line, Tocho-mae Station (Tokyo Metropolitan Government)
5 min walk from Tocho-mae Station.
都庁前駅徒歩5分

Categories: Eating in Tokyo, Japan, Tokyo (東京) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ninja Akasaka 「忍者赤坂」

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!


Drinks menu:

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
手裏剣グリッシーニ フォアグラパテが付いてる
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
ズワイガニとグレープフルーツ 水平抜刀霧隠の術
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
秘宝玉手箱 魚菜ゼリーの卵見立て
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
サザエ爆弾焼き エスカルゴもどき
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
隠れトリュフ 玉子包み
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
忍法黒柔術 柔らか角煮黒酢豚
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.


Icy Bonsai
氷菓盆栽
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!!


Address:
NINJA AKASAKA 「忍者赤坂」
Akasaka Tokyu Plaza 1st floor,
2-14-3 Nagatacho, Chiyoda, Tokyo 100-0014, Japan.
〒100-0014
東京都千代田区永田町
2-14-3 赤坂東急プラザ1F

Telephone: 03-5157-3936
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.

Opening 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)

Getting There:
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).
銀座線・丸の内線
「赤坂見附」下車  徒歩3分

Categories: Eating in Tokyo, Japan, Tokyo (東京) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Japanese Sweets at Tokiya 「時屋」

I was researching on the web for food places within walking distance from my hotel in Shinjuku and stumbled upon this Japanese Sweets shop, which was established in May 1948 and is known for their dorayaki (pancake filled with a sweet red bean paste and is a favourite food of Doraemon).

Looking at the display in the shop window, they even sell a giant-sized dorayaki!

The next picture was taken at about 6:20pm, when most people would be looking for a place for dinner instead of having sweets/desserts, thus the place was relatively empty. I’ve heard that it can be quite crowded during the day!

We had already made prior dinner reservations at 8:40pm, so this was dessert before dinner! If you are undecided about what to order, or want to try more items, there’s actually a mini set of 3 desserts (take your pick from a list of 20) but we weren’t sure if it would spoil our appetites for dinner, so we just went with the dorayaki.

Sencha with cream-filled Dorayaki
煎茶と生クリーム入りどら焼き   ¥720


Matcha with cream-filled Dorayaki

抹茶と生クリーム入りどら焼き   ¥830

The dorayaki in both the pictures above are identical, it’s just the drinks which are different. Matcha by itself is bitter but it went very well with the dorayaki which is sweet, so the combination of both was perfect! The pancake was nice and soft and the red bean filling was made using plump red beans, which were very fragrant and flavourful. I’m not usually a fan of red beans but I love the beans that went into making this dessert! They were cooked perfectly and were not mushy and neither were they hard.

Fresh cream is used and here’s a peek at what’s between the pancake layers…


Verdict:  Having eaten the dorayaki, I finally understand why most of the customers of this sweets shop highly recommend this traditional Japanese dessert!


Address:
Japanese Sweets Tokiya 甘味喫茶「時屋」
新宿小田急ハルク店
Shinjuku Odakyu HALC 1F
東京都新宿区西新宿1-5-1 新宿小田急ハルク 1F

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 11:00~21:30 (Last Order 21:00)
Sat-Sun & holidays: 11:00~20:00 (Last Order 19:30)

Getting There:
2 minute walk from the JR Shinjuku Station West Exit
2 minute walk from the Metro Shinjuku Station, Exit B18

Categories: Eating in Tokyo, Japan, Tokyo (東京) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

100% Chocolate Cafe

Was searching on the web for places to eat in Tokyo and came across this chocolate cafe operated by Meiji, so I decided to go and check it out (cos I have been a fan of Meiji chocolates since I was a kid).

 

Entrance to the cafe:

 

This place sells chocolates for every day of the year!  Just look at the colourful spread at the counter in the above picture.

 

There were too many temptations in the cafe so I finally decided on the following….

 

まぜまぜシヨコラ オランジ – Orange Juice with Chocolate
Sounds strange?  I thought it was an interesting combination since I like orange-flavoured milk chocolate.


The next picture shows how my Orange juice with Chocolate drink ended up after being stirred and well-mixed.

Also ordered the following:
ワッフレート (プレ-ンカカオ) – Wafflette filled with fresh Plain Cacao chocolate
シフオンシヨコラ (アーモンドミルク) – Chiffon Cake coated with fresh Almond Milk Chocolate


Haha…. my drink didn’t look like it was orange juice any longer!…

Each drink comes with a piece of the chocolate of the day.

Since I visited on October 14th, the chocolate of the day was “Ghana & Ecuador / Semi-Sweet”:


Overall, I was quite satisfied with what I had ordered although some of the items which I wanted to try were sold out. There is limited seating at the cafe so you’ll need to be prepared to wait if there are no available tables.

ADDRESS:

100% Chocolate Cafe
2-4-16 Kyobashi, Chuo-ku Tokyo
明治製菓本社ビル1F
Opening Hours:
8:00-20:00 (Weekdays) – last order 19:30
11:00-19:00 (Weekends & Holidays) – last order 18:30
Seating capacity: 18
http://www.meiji.co.jp/sweets/choco-cafe/shop/

Getting there:

(a) Take the JR to Tokyo station and it’s an 8min walk from the Yaesu South exit.
JR東京駅八重洲南口より徒歩8分

(b) Take the Tokyo Metro Ginza line to Kyobashi station and it’s a 1min walk from Exit 5.
地下鉄銀座線京橋駅(5番出口)より徒歩1分

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Yabaton 「矢場とん」 at Ginza, Tokyo

Another one of my favourite restaurants in Tokyo, this one specializes in miso-katsu. I always make it a point to visit this restaurant whenever I’m in Tokyo.
The main branch of this restaurant is in Nagoya but I have yet to visit that branch. This branch in Tokyo opened on 8th March 2004.

If you like tonkatsu (deep-fried breaded pork) and miso, you won’t want to miss this! They use a Nagoya-style red miso paste which is sweeter than normal miso.


The window display of the restaurant:


Here’s a look at their Menu


鉄板とんかつ Teppan Tonkatsu with miso-based sauce – this is a deep-fried pork (loin) cutlet which is served with cabbage on a hot plate.


Yumm… this was my dinner – ひれとんかつ Hire Tonkatsu (deep-fried pork fillet cutlet with miso-based sauce) and a side order of 矢場とん汁 Tonjiru (a Japanese soup made with pork and vegetables, flavoured with miso). I have a weakness for ‘tonjiru’ and it’s one of my comfort foods! ^_^


Address:
矢場とん (Yabaton) 東京銀座店
東京都中央区銀座4丁目10番14号 (closed on 23rd Feb 2014)

東京都中央区銀座2-11-2 銀座大作ビル (re-opened at new location on 3rd March 2014)

Phone: 03-3546-8810

Opening Hours: 11:00~22:00 (last order 21:30)
Closed: 毎週月曜日(月曜日が祭日の場合翌日) Sundays & public holidays

Getting there:
都営浅草線 東銀座駅 A2出口よりスグ (Subway Asakusa line – Higashi Ginza station – Take the A2 exit and it’s just around the corner)
丸の内線 銀座駅 A6出口より徒歩3分 (Subway Marunouchi line – Ginza station – 3 min walk from exit A6)
JR山手線 有楽町駅 徒歩10分 (JR Yamanote line – Yurakucho station – 10min walk)


東京メトロ 有楽町線 銀座一丁目駅 銀座一丁目駅 11番出口より徒歩一分 (Subway Yurakucho line – Ginza Itchome station – 1 min walk from exit 11)

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