The place I am sharing with you today is truly special. A very unique experience, outstanding food and a real insight into Japanese culture. Ready? Let’s go!
Imahan specialities are sukiyaki and shabushabu. Both cooking methods involve preparing the food at the table. Sukiyaki means that the food is fried in a pan, and shabushabu is when the food is cook in a hot pot.
Now to find Imahan you will have to go underground. You read that right! In Japan, shops and restaurant are spread over multiple levels and in Shinjuku, Tokyo there is an entire other city underground. Imahan is in the underground area right next to the Hilton and the Hyatt.
Once you found it you will enter another world. Shinjuku is very modern, Imahan is very traditional. The waitresses wear elegant kimonos and the decor is the reflection of a traditional Japanese home. You can immediately feel that you are somewhere special where people whisper and guests are kings.
Once seated, we were offered a cup of green tea and a hot towel to wash our hands. We looked at the menu and settled for the sukiyaki ‘course’ option, which includes starters (with an S and you will see why in a minute), the beef, sides and desert. A real fest!
You can see on the picture that prices are quite steep, Imahan Sukiyaki is definitely not a cheap eatery. The experience is so special though that we were happy to spend that money on a memory we would cherish for ever.
Now let’s talk about the waitresses, as I mentioned earlier they are all wearing the most elegant kimonos, they will also spend the entire meal at your table! Yep, that’s the thing that took us the most by surprise. We thought we would be given the pots and the ingredients and cook ourselves, but instead we had a waitress dedicated to our table, who cooked for us the entire time, and in front of whom I embarrassed myself with my lack of chopstick skills.
The entire dinner was a ceremony and we were treated to so many dishes I lost count after 3, luckily I took pictures! So let’s go through it together!
First, the waitress set up the pot.
We then got served our first starter, which was made of many things I didn’t know or couldn’t recognised, it was also the most beautiful thing I had ever seen!
It was followed by a miso soup.
Which was followed by beef sushis (soooooooo good).
Still hungry? Good, because that was only the appetisers. Now the serious things started! The waitress brought the beef and multiple sides.
We got served a first bowl of beef in egg. Raw eggs are often served with rice and meat in Japan, it is a little weird at the beginning, but you get used to it!
We then got a second serving of beef with vegetables.
At that point I started to feel SERIOUSLY full, so I turned around expecting to see almost empty plates… Nope, another mountain of meat and vegetables was waiting for us. I HAVE NO IDEA how Japanese people stay so skinny!
Everything was so good though that I just kept eating. Luckily it was getting ‘lighter’ with mainly vegetables and tofu being served at that point.
The waitress looked at us with a gentle smile, turned off the gas and took away the pot. I was happy to see that we were close to the end with only dessert remaining as I was completely stuffed! But.. Oh wait! There was more! The waitress came back with another soup.
Served with pickled vegetables.
And a last serving of eggs with rice!
My stomach was hurting at that point, but finally I saw the light at the end of tunnel with dessert being served. Small and refreshing, perfect after such a filling meal!
Our meal at Imahan was amazing, the food was delicious and the plates stunning to look at. My only advice though, don’t eat AT ALL before to go there!