I was searching for a good sashimi restaurant in the magazine we bought from JTB when I found Taiko Chaya. The magazine introduces popular restaurant and cafes in Tokyo and reccomends Taiko as a value for money place for sashimi buffet. We decided to head there for dinner hoping to have the buffet
The restaurant is pretty hidden in a residential area and we took some time to find it as there was no obvious signboard. There are a few public carparks about 5 mins walk from the restaurant and costs about 500 for 2-3 hours.
The restaurant is located at the basement of the building but once you find the building, you can see the multiple posters and write up at the entrance
The restaurant is not too big and at one glance you see can all the tables available. The decor itself is simple and functional and looks a lot like the usual izakaya restaurant
The menu of the restaurant is very extensive and you can pretty much order any Japanese dish you can think of with the exception of shabu shabu. I will talk about the food of the restaurant before talking about the special activities that happen here which makes this place super unique
We were all given a small bowl of starter which is braised fried tuna fish with soy, onions and radish. We assumed this was complimentary but kind of guessed it was payable as we found an unidentified item in our bill. Regardless, this tiny bowl was so good, we did not mind paying for it. The meat was very fresh and flavourful as it has fully absorbed the sauce it was braised in.
Of course we ordered the Tako wasabi which is my favourite Japanese starter dish. This was done well with a good balance of wasabi for kick and sweetness of the Tako came through the peppery taste of the wasabi
We ordered the squid and they can cook the squid in 3 ways. The first being squid sashimi. The squid had good texture and is very fresh and sweet
The 2nd and 3rd method was grilled with butter and fried in tempura batter. The squid was done well without overcooking so it has a soft texture and a light butter taste for the grilled one. For the tempura one, it tasted like the usual calamari rings but the batter was light and crispy.
The bomb was this huge Sashimi platter which left us with our mouth opened when the platter was served. This whole platter of goodness cost us less than SGD 100 and everything on it was so fresh and good. There were at least 14 types of fish or shellfish with at least 4 to 5 pieces per kind. This is really well worth our money.
I love grilled rice balls and not everywhere does it well. The ones sold here were fabulous with nice grilled and crispy rice outside and warm yet soft rice inside with strong soy flavours. This was so good i ordered another takeaway to eat back in the hotel
As we had very little carbo dishes, we ordered this rice porridge with seaweed and local pickled plum which was very light and appetizing. This was a fantastic choice as it was a refreshing taste to the palate after having the rest of the dishes.
From the number of signatures and pictures from famous celebrities, you can tell how popular this restaurant is among the locals. We were actually quite lucky to get a table without reservations.
Here comes the interesting part. Every night, the restaurant plays 2 activities with their customers. The first is the tuna auction where customers get to auction for the fish while they cut up the fish at the front of the kitchen where everyone gets to see it. With Tsukiji main market shifted, this is the next best place to take place in a tuna auction. The highest bidder can either bring the tuna home or cook it with the kitchen.
The 2nd game is actually scissors, paper, stone in Japanese. You have to play against the host who you can see in this video is holding the microphone at the front of the kitchen. For those taking part, you just need to raise your hands and put out your choice at each different round when the host starts each round.
The game goes on until there is one winner. The winner can win either cooked food items or raw ingredients. I remember seeing items like ramen pack, whole plate of raw shabu shabu grade pork slices or grilled tuna etc. All prizes are packed up nicely including the raw meat.
It was extremely fun to hang out here and see all the interactions of the restaurant with their customers even though everything is spoken in English. The service staff can all speak English so there is no issue with taking orders. I highly recommend to come here for a great experience. For those who wants to satisfy their Sashimi cravings can try their sashimi lunch buffet too although it heard that it is crazy popular.
Address: Japan, 〒103-0002 Tokyo, Chuo City, Nihonbashibakurocho, 2 Chome−3−2
Operating hours: 11.30 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 11 pm