Eating in Shinjuku (II) – Lunch & Dinner
As we were staying in Shinjuku during this trip, I planned most of our meals around the area. E&A who joined us on this trip left all the planning to us. I planned for different type of food for each meal.
1. Tempura @ Funabashiya Honten Restaurant
Add: 3 Chome-28-14 Shinjuku
Funabashiya Honten is a famous tempura restaurant in Tokyo that has been around for over 100 years. It often referred to as the oldest tempura restaurant in Shinjuku. I had found out about this restaurant while researching where to eat in Shinjuku. It was a 10mins walk from our hotel. We navigated our way there with the help of Google Map. It is actually right behind the large Uniqlo & BIC Store in Shinjuku.
As we had made a reservation, we were seated immediately on the second floor upon arrival. The tempura bar is on level 1. Reservations can only be made if you take the course meal. As we did not want to wait, we decided to make reservation and go for the ¥5,300 set course meal.
Our course started with a small plate of pre-appetisers vegetable followed by a bowl of chawanmushi. The egg was smooth and was a nice app to start the course.
Next came assorted sashimi. The nice part about sashimi in Japan compared to Singapore is the thicker slices and freshness of the fish.
Then came the highlight – tempura. There was mushroom, ginkgo nuts, prawns, scallop and a prawn patty. My favourite is the ginkgo nuts! This is the first time that I have eated tempura ginkgo nuts. The batter was light and crisp. Not oil at all. They provide the usual tempura dipping sauce with radish and also flavoured salt. I like to dip my tempura in flavoured salt so that the batter stays crisp.
We were so full and thought that this was all and they came over with our final item, Ebi Kakiage Tempura, a ball of shrimp and vegetables coated in batter. This is especially crispy and good.
We were then served rice, pickles and miso soup. Then the meal was round up with fruit jelly dessert.
Overall a good meal, but it was really too heavy for lunch. We came on a Tue and the restaurant was not very crowded. There was no need for a reservation actually. So just walking in and ordering a single dish ala-carte order per person would have been good enough.
2. Tonkatsu @ Tonkatsu Saboten
Add: 8F Keio Departmemt Store, Shinjuku
We were stopping at Keio Departmemt Store and decided to have lunch there. The 8th floor of Keio Departmemt Store in Shinjuku has many restaurants. We decided on Saboten, a well known restaurant chain specializing in tonkatsu, or deep fried breaded pork.
Tonkatsu is normally served with fresh shredded cabbage. Serving is unlimited. So you can ask for more if you like. As for the dipping sauce, you are first served with sesame which you ground and then add the sauce for dipping your pork.
They had various types of pork to choose from including Iberian pork and Kurobuta pork besides regular pork. Among the 4 of us, we had the Iberian Pork set (¥1,850), the Kurobuta pork set (¥2,100), and an ebi (shrimp) & vegetable rice bowl (¥1,600). I had the Kurobuta pork loin and it was excellent. Pork was tender and juicy on the inside and evenly breaded and crisp on the outside. DH and A had the Iberian pork while E had the Ebi set. All only had good things to say of their food.
I have a Union Pay card and that entitled me to a set of discount coupons at Keio Departmemt Store. In the set of coupons, there was a free drinks coupon for every set we ordered at Saboten. So the guys got their beer and E and I had our coffee.
Overall a satisfying meal and it’s a good place to drop by for a reasonably priced lunch while shopping at Keio.
3. Yakiniku @ Hanamonya
Add: 4-1-9 Shinjuku Youth Builidng, 6F, Shinjuku 160-0022
At the location where previously Sushi Iwase was located, is now, Hanamonya, a yakiniku restaurant. Sushi Iwase where I had previously recommended good chirashi has moved to 3 Chome 3-4-1 Nishi-Shinjuku.
We love yakiniku and make it a point to have it for at least one meal everytime we visit Japan. Hanamonya is located just behind Takashimaya in Shinjuku and so is just about 5 mins walk from our hotel.
This is a small restaurant and we were seated in a private japanese style room.
We started our meal with a salad (¥926). Each couple ordered one serving to share. Then we each had a piece of beef sushi (¥695 each). The beef sushi was yummy!
The four of us love Japanese wagyu, so we decided to order a platter of 5 different cuts for 4 (¥17,038). Make sure you order for the exact number of pax, as each cut will have only one slice per person. The standard platter is for 2 or 3 but they easily made it a platter for 4 for us.
The beef was so good! Well marbled and so very tender. It melts in your mouth.
Each person has 3 dip. A soy sauce based dip, a garlic dip and the most interesting is a piece of tofu like dip with wasabi. Ok, we couldn’t figure out what that was. We tried to ask the waitress, but with her limited English, we got no where. This piece of “tofu” melted and when mixed with the wasabi was a great dip. I am thinking it maybe some kind of fats, but hey, I have no idea. There was also regular and flavoured salt which also goes well with the beef.
Our favourite was the Yakisuki, thin sirloin with egg yolk (¥5,926 for 4). Each slice of seasoned sirloin was sliced really thin and the waitress cooks it quickly over the fire for you. You then dip it in a raw egg yolk before eating. It is so so so good that we had a second helping!
This was a really good meal. We loved it. It was not cheap, but we had very good quality wagyu. We would not be able to get the same quality in Singapore at this price. We rate it our second best on this trip. The best being our teppanyaki dinner at Colza on our last night. I’ll come to that in my next post.
4. Sushi @ Otaru Masazushi
Add : 14F Takashimaya Time Square, Shinjuku
Our flight departing Tokyo was at 5pm. Our plan that morning was to go to Takashimaya to do some last minute shopping and have lunch before we head for the Airport. So I made a lunch reservation at Otaru Masazushi.
Otaru Masazushi is conveniently located within Takashimaya on level 14. Based on my search on the internet, it is one of the better sushi restaurants in Shinjuku area and since it was conveniently located at Takashimaya, worked out just right for us.
Among the 4 of us, we had the uni-rice bowl (¥3,500), 11 pieces sushi set (¥5,500) and chirashi sushi (¥4,200). My uni was fresh and sweet. The fish were all very fresh. In fact, the fish and uni here are all flown in from Hokkaido and so are really top notch quality.
The sushi at Otaru Masazushi is very good but not cheap. This is definitely not your cheap sushi joint. But compared to Singapore it is not expensive for the quality that you get. You can’t get such quality at this price in Singapore. So if you enjoy good quality sushi and is shopping at Takashimaya, this is a good lunch option.
Next up: An Evening in Ginza