Located just a few doors away at the corner of our street, the Ninja House seemed always to be packed with diners but somehow we’d managed to resist the “all-you-can eat sushi and teppanyaki” restaurant, dismissing it as a gimmicky dining trap. How wrong we were!
We finally decided to give Ninja House a try for a late lunch on a lazy Sunday afternoon (open on Sundays and all-day meal service – already a great find for Brussels). We were given a menu complete with photos, an ordering card and a set of rules for the “all-you-can-eat” system. Getting our head around the rules and so many choices on the menu was a little daunting at first, but with the help of our friendly waiter we quickly got the hang of the novel dining experience.
The menu included many varieties of sushi (nigiri, maki, temaki and gunkan) as well as an extensive selection of hot dishes (grilled and fried meat, seafood and vegetable options) and sides (soups, salads, rice and noodles). In a two hour-sitting, we could order up to a total of five times, with an unlimited number of items per order. A new order could be placed once we’d finished all of the previous order, with a surcharge charged for any leftover food to minimise wastage.
We ordered cautiously at first but became more confident and adventurous with each new round of orders. My conservative guess is that we easily sampled at last half of the dishes on offer, with some of the highlights being the duck nigiri, crispy tempura maki, sautéed mushrooms and seaweed salad. It was just as well we were hungry. Once we’d made it through all five savoury courses, we were offered dessert – a scoop of surprisingly good ice cream in a range of asian-inspired flavours: red bean, lychee, coconut and black sesame. We left happy and satisfied, and will definitely be back to sample the other half of the enticing menu.
I would describe dining at the Ninja House as a learning experience. As with any learning curve, I made some mistakes and there are things that I would do differently next time. With that in mind, below are my own set of tips for getting the most out of your all-you-can-eat sushi experience.
- Make sure you don’t eat beforehand. There’s a lot of choice and you don’t want to be left having to skip something you’d otherwise like to try. Theres nothing worse than wondering what could have been…
- Don’t be overwhelmed by the menu and the ordering card you’re given. With photos and spaces for the five orders clearly marked, it can actually be fun once you get into it.
- My suggestion is to treat it like a five course meal, and start with a selection of soup, salad and fried entrées.
- Use the second and third orders as your sushi courses. Most portions contain just one to three pieces so a wide variety can easily be sampled. But only order half of what you think you can eat – sushi is surprisingly filling!
- Use the fourth course to try something new. Pick a dish that you have never tried before or that you wouldn’t normally order at a sushi house. You just might find a new favourite dish.
- If you’ve made it to the fifth round and you still have some space left make sure to end it on a high – order a second helping of those dishes that you liked best.
- Leave some room for the ice cream. Don’t end up looking blankly at your ice cream scoop wondering why you ate so much. You’ll be missing out if you don’t try it!
- Must-trys: the seven-flavours ‘ninjamaki’, the baked salmon tartare and baked tuna tartare maki (shaketarmaki and thontarmaki), and the salmon teriyaki.
Ninja house is very good value and works really well if you’re in a group. The service is friendly, fast and efficient. All the food is fresh and made to order, and although it’s not the best sushi I’ve ever had, it was pretty damn tasty!
Rue de la Vierge Noire 16-24, 1000 Brussels