A Tale of Two Sushi Restaurants (Shibuya)
Here at Navigating Japan, we’re always on the hunt for the best places to eat. So many visitors to Japan use Shibuya as their home base and so we’re starting our food reviews there. We’ve got an ongoing series to find the best ramen spots in Shibuya, but today is all about sushi!
With so many sushi restaurants in Tokyo, it can be challenging to find the best eats. So today we want to focus on two very unique sushi spots that infuse global and modern elements to traditional Japanese cuisine.
First, we’ll introduce The Bellwood, a Taisho-era cocktail bar with a four-seat omakase experience that is out of this world. From there, we’ll go around the corner to Kinka Sushi, a small chain offering more modern sushi fare for those missing sushi rolls closer to what one might find at home.
The Bellwood, Bell Sushi
For cocktail lovers in Tokyo, The SG Club, is a must visit as it consistently ranks as one of the best bars in Asia and the world. The Bellwood is part of The SG Group and their tea and coffee-infused cocktails are second-to-none. The atmosphere is reminiscent of 1920s-era coffee shops and the dark paneled wood transports guests to another time. In the back of The Bellwood is a cozy, 4-seat omakase restaurant serving some of the most innovative and interesting sushi anywhere in town.
Rare in the world of sushi, this female-led sushi counter has two set menus, one with eight pieces and two cocktails and another with twelve pieces and three cocktails. Reservations are recommended and they update availability on their Instagram.
Immediately upon sitting down, we knew we were in for a special experience. Bell Sushi’s space is cozy and the proximity to the counter provides an excellent view to watch the sushi come together. Our welcome drink was a tea cocktail made from The Bellwood’s own shochu and so we got the best of the bar experience as well. Each piece of sushi in the omakase is inspired by a country or a region in Japan and the chef meticulously explained what was in each.
Our first piece was a deconstructed Bahn Mi sandwich representing Vietnam and while I normally don’t like picked radish, it was delicious. This set off an around-the-world culinary trip with stops in Mexico, Germany, Hokkaido, Russia, and New York!
Around the World Omakase
The joy of an omakase meal is not having any say over what’s to come and to put your faith in the chef. At Bell Sushi, the innovative and creative choices all come together in a stroke of brilliance. For the Mexican-inspired piece, the fish was adorned with finely chopped jalapeno peppers and a nacho chip. The crunch and the spice, paired with the flaky whitefish, was so unique and playful I almost laughed after each bite.
Sushi and a Show
In addition to a variety of ingredients, the diversity of
presentation is similarly impressive. Midway through the meal came the
Russian dish, which had a soup element to it. Whereas the
German-inspired “sausage and sauerkraut” sushi was more of a handroll. For the final dish, our chef used a syringe to add soy sauce directly to a soft boiled egg yolk. Check it out below!
Being part of a cocktail bar, the pairings of the drinks were perfectly apportioned. Our final piece of dessert sushi came with gold flakes and a sweet shochu shot. It was the perfect conclusion to an incredible meal. For one of the best sushi spots in Shibuya, if not all of Tokyo, if not Japan, it was a fairly reasonable cost of 12000 Yen for 12 pieces + 3 cocktails. Bell Sushi occasionally runs some promotional pricing on their Instagram and follow them to stay up to date.
The experience at The Bellwood was so transcendent , we’re in the process of coming up with a reason to go back!
Kinka Sushi – Modern Japanese Cuisine
One of the great luxuries of living in Japan is endless access to the freshest sushi around. But admittedly, there are times when we miss American/roll-style sushi. While Kinka isn’t quite that, their modern take on Japanese cuisine fills an important void in the sushi landscape. We have been twice so far and look forward to our third visit back soon.
From the appetizers in, there’s a real strength of variety in the dishes available. The make your own roll salmon and avocado are perfect bite sized snacks. Additionally, the crab cream croquette was an enticing mix of savory and sweet.
Modern “Rolls” and Traditional Sashimi
The sashimi platter was incredible value for how much fish we got and the quality was superb. With our seats at the counter, we got to enjoy watching the staff assemble a few of these platters. Interestingly enough, the same order was plated differently each time adding an element of surprise to the meal.
There is no filter on the above picture. The sushi is actually that brilliantly colorful. Kinka has a by the piece nigiri option and the “akami” (tuna) was so good we reordered it… two times. The salmon was rich and the egg was sweet, but we couldn’t get over just how beautiful it all was.
The true start of the show was the rectangle-shaped, roll-like sushi. This was grilled salmon topped with a jalapeno pepper delivered still hot to our seats. We love this roll so much because it’s both fun to watch them make, as well as delicious. Kinka’s menu of traditional and modern makes it one of our candidates for best sushi in Shibuya.
Directions to the Best Sushi in Shibuya
More Sushi in Shibuya
Much like our ramen series, we’ll be continuing to expand upon our sushi in Shibuya content in the weeks and months ahead. Therefore, if you have any places you want us to check out — let us know!