Sumiyakiya Nishi-Azabu is the go-to place for some very succulent halal yakiniku with a Korean twist. Our visit on a Wednesday night, a week after their reopening in early 2017, wasn't without hiccups – a tour group of 12 suddenly turned up with 18 people, meaning that we ended up having to wait outside for over 30 minutes despite having a reservation – but the food and value are good enough to make you somewhat forget any false starts (we'll put it down to growing pains). You can order cuts of halal wagyu and side dishes à la carte, but for convenience's sake, you can just stick to their recommended 'course' menus.
We had their signature Sumiyakiya course set; for ¥5,000, you'll get three different cuts of meat to grill, a generous salad, liberally filled bowls of homemade kimchi and beansprout namul, buchimgae (Korean pancake), fried rice, a side dish (croquettes on the menu, grilled, seasoned meat in reality) and, of course, salad leaves to wrap your meat in – in this part of town, we'd argue that is a good deal.
The marinated meat (halal wagyu) was perfectly seasoned, and their homemade kimchi (to ensure all ingredients are halal) and pancake also scored high points with our tasting team. The only downside was that the salad leaves were presented halfway through the meal, meaning we'd already devoured part of the meat before we could start wrapping properly.
The menu has changed a bit over the years, with a strict focus on wagyu meat making way for a wider range of cuisines, including a rather extensive selection of Sri Lankan and Indian curries, biryanis and more. We can't speak for their quality, but it's certainly a more unorthodox way to mix & match your meal – one we suspect is a hit with the clientele, which is a mix of locals and tourists. Note alcohol can be ordered on request.
It's known to be popular with tour groups, so with a mere 25 seats or so inside, we'd recommend making a reservation – and perhaps still be prepared for a wait.
|Venue name:||Sumiyakiya Nishi-Azabu|
3-20-16 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat 11.30am-3pm (last orders 2.30pm), 5pm-11pm / closed Sun & hols|
|Transport:||Roppongi Station (Hibiya, Oedo lines)|