18 Jun Tokyo Travel – Uobei Sushi
In the past few years tours to Japan have become more and more frequent. Judging by packed concert halls and enthusiastic audiences this trend looks set to continue. Add to that next year’s Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Olympics and you’ve got a country set to be the focus of the world’s spotlight. With this in mind I thought it would be the perfect time for my Tokyo Travel series! I’ve loved getting to know Japan during our four quartet tours, travelling all around the country. Mr Munch and I recently went back for a business meeting and I took special note of old favourite restaurants and bars as well as trying new local spots.
My first choice for this series is intrinsically Japanese – conveyor belt sushi. One of my favourites is Uobei Sushi in Shibuya, part of the Genki sushi chain. They take it to the next level by delivering your food on delightful little food trays whizzing along tracks direct from the kitchen. It’s super fun to watch!
If there’s a queue when you arrive, they sit you down in line to wait. Don’t worry, it’s very fast moving even if you’re standing by the door! The maximum time I’ve had to wait is 20 minutes at peak time but at other hours there’s often no queue at all. At your seat is your own tablet screen where you place your orders, the touch screen menu is extremely easy to use. Free green tea, pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce are easily accessible at every person’s station. There are different language options including English and each item has a helpful picture. You can pick up to three dishes at a time and then wait until it comes speeding towards you!
I know some people are worried about raw fish, perhaps preconceived ideas about smell or texture can be off putting. However, the quality of fish for sushi/sashimi has to be extremely high and fresh, especially in Japan where they are rigorous about sushi standards. Fresh fish has no smell and the flavour is incredible so I would really encourage everyone to give it a try. Uobei is a great please to test the waters as 1) it tastes great, 2) it’s brilliantly cheap, 3) the menu variety allows you to dip your toe in with something new, but also have some more familiar and recognisable dishes. For example they have grilled or seared fish nigiri, hamburger sushi which uses meat patties instead of fish, fried chicken and chips! The more adventurous among us can explore rarer tastes like abalone, sea urchin and whelks. Prices vary slightly for special fish like fatty tuna, fatty salmon and scallops, however even these are only £1.50 each! Each dish normally comes with two pieces, but the more ‘expensive’ ones, if you can call £1.50 expensive, often come with just one.
I am a sucker for salmon nigiri so immediately gravitated towards fatty salmon, grilled fatty salmon as well as medium fatty tuna. All mind blowing with a soft mouth feel as it melts on your tongue. Fatty salmon is just a dream! I then discovered they have gluten free soy sauce, a sign of the times as they prepare for the influx for foreign visitors. Halal sauce is also available. Personally I’m so used to not being able to have soy sauce with my sushi that I prefer it without. Adding it makes it a bit too salty for me, though that may have just been this particular sauce. It’s a great option to have though and I’m sure many people will appreciate and enjoy it!
My next triumvirate consisted of mackerel, yellowtail and salmon with chilli oil and spring onion threads. Speaking of mackerel, they have about four different iterations with various preparations and types of mackerel! Again all were delicious but particularly the chillied salmon, slightly numbing with Szechuan pepper heat. I had to order it again asap. My final dish was a half and half, one grilled salmon and one raw salmon nigiri.
Mr Munch always goes for the chocolate cake here, it’s become a bit of a tradition! He’s made more trips then me, so he’s probably been here more than seven times! There is a whole dessert section on the menu with various sweet treats including crème brulée and cheesecake.
I highly recommend coming to Uobei or any Genki sushi restaurant. It’s so much fun and there is something for everyone on the menu, even those who are a bit scared of sushi! The price is beyond reasonable, I had to double check my receipt – eight sushi plates for less than £7?!?! There are various locations, we’ve even been to one in Hong Kong, but in Tokyo we like the one in Shibuya as it’s a great area. You’ve got the famous Shibuya ‘Scramble’ crossing, lots of shops and it’s great for nightlife. Tokyo Opera City, one of the biggest concert halls, is about 25 minutes walk and Shinjuku station is only one or two tube stops away. There’s a great sake bar in Shibuya too that I will tell you about in an upcoming post! Give Uobei a try and I bet you’ll be as hooked as I am!
Total receipt (1 person): ¥993 (£6.76 for 8 sushi plates!)
Rating: ⭐️ 10/10 ⭐️ Addictive concept and food!