Shinobi Sushi Lounge
- Tues – Fri 12 noon-2pm, 5:30pm-10pm
- Sat 5:30pm – 10pm
- Sun 5:30pm – 10pm
- Payment Types: EFTPOS, Visa, MasterCard, AMEX
- Price Range: Moderate, $15 - $25
- Dress Code: Casual
- Alcohol: Beer, Wine, Spirits, Cocktails
- BYO/Corkage: No BYO
- Takeaways: Yes
- Delivers: No
- Takes Reservations: No
- Dietary Restrictions: Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy-free, Gluten-free
- Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
- Outdoor Seating: No
- Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Late Night
Opening in July 2009, Shinobi Sushi Lounge has received unanimously positive reviews from critics and customers alike. Made-to-order Sushi and Sashimi plus a selection of other Japanese dishes; as well as a fine selection of Cocktails, Wine, Beer and Sake make Shinobi a great addition to the Wellington restaurant scene.
11 Reviews for Shinobi Sushi Lounge
I cannot really fault this place from my first time here last night.
I hadn’t tried this type of authentic Japanese Preparation of Sushi and this place really surprised me; The Sushi Chef made the whole process of slicing the seafood and placing it on the rice etc. very entertaining, and the other staff there were an incredibly welcoming balance between professional and personal, it really felt like a second home and the environment was perfect for my liking.
I tried the Nigiri Selection, their homemade Lemonade, and Eda-Mame. All of the above was delicious (and I’m not a seafood eater usually) well presented and intriguing to watch being prepped. This place is one of those off-the-main-road gems which exceeds your initial expectations, whatever they are.
The only thing I found a little lacking was their not having Ramune; as I love that fizzy Japanese Drink. That aside, it’s an experience worth having and a performance worth seeing over and over again.
I intend to come back when I can afford it.
Some of the Sushi menu is a little pricey for me, but as the staff informed me, it’s a little pricier than other places because their ingredients are a higher quality; I have to say, from what I tried there, I can believe that statement.
Well worth your time visiting.
Shinobi is a rock ‘n roll kind of sushi bar, with emphasis on the roll.
I think it’s a fantastic place for the sushi newbie, someone who loves fusion food with sweet-savory sauces drizzled over their giant, eight-piece sushi rolls that incorporate Western ingredients like cream cheese or avocado.
For the Japanese nigiri or sashimi purist, though, you’ll be left wanting.
I’ve been craving really good nigiri (raw fish on top of a small mound of perfect shari), and my partner took me here. He explained the head sushi chef apprenticed in Japan, which gave me some hope for good nigiri.
It was a busy night, but we were seated in about 10 minutes.
We ordered a number of nigiri right off the bat:
- shiro maguro (albacore tuna)
- ebi (prawn)
- tobiko (flying fish roe)
- western style unagi (bbq eel) roll
The shiro maguro and tobiko were very fresh, as well as the cooked ebi. I was hoping for ama-ebi, raw sweet prawn, but unfortunately, the specials board didn’t indicate whether the prawn was cooked or not, and I had forgotten to ask the server.
The shari (sushi rice) was undercooked and under-seasoned. The rice had a bit of hardness left to it, and the person who prepared the nigiri had a heavy hand with the requisite dab of wasabi between the shari and fish. It overpowered the delicate flavor of the shiro maguro and the sweetness of the prawn.
Next, we ordered the aji (jack mackerel) and ume-shiso (preserved plum with perilla leaf) maki.
This time, the rice was perfeMorect. Al dente in texture, moist and well seasoned.
The aji was ok. Not the greatest cut of aji I’ve ever had, but then again, I prefer saba (blue mackerel) that’s been slightly pickled.
Our ume-shiso would have brilliant if the chef hadn’t forgotten to put in the shiso leaf. It was a failure in the sense that the dish was incomplete, but we didn’t complain because the ume maki itself was good.
All in all, the restaurant is a good place to go with your mates, and have a rollicking good time.
I’d advise sticking to the rolls, though, and possibly coming before or after prime dining times to avoid the crush of people, and with all of the inconsistencies that arise from the kitchen when they are slammed.
There is a decent wine list with a short selection of sakes and Japanese beers.
Our meal, with large sake and one Kirin beer came to roughly $91 and some change.
I was at Shinobi on Saturday and found the food, service and atmosphere -to be in this order -delicious,friendly and buzzing.And if I didn’t like the music, I am sure one of the attentive staff would have obliged in changing it.
Yes, I have heard the owner speaking to a female staff member in Japanese.Just the one though, and she is Japanese.Surely as a young woman living away from home, it must be nice to have someone to speak to in your own language.
I too have lived in Japan and only recently returned for a holiday. Shinobi compares more than favourably on quality and freshness which you just don’t get from the cheap,plastic box, day old sushi that Melissa likes. And you do have to pay for quality. I believe Shinobi gets whole Mt Cook Alpine salmon directly and prepares them on-site. Al Brown of Logan Brown recently tweeted that it is the best salmon he has tasted. Period.
And today I read that David Burton has named it as no.4 in his annual list of top new restaurants.
I’m with David Burton
The miso soup was absolutely wonderful, and the shitake mushrooms were a nice surprise. Yum! However, that is pretty much where the positives stop…
First of all, when we were there the sushi chef (and we suspect owner) was listening to a bizarre hodgepodge of music that made no sense. One minute it was folk rock and the next it was gangsta rap, to which he felt the need to sing along to… and let me tell you, nothing like “bitches” and “hos” to go along with your sushi.
Secondly, the sushi wasn’t all that great and was insanely overpriced. I lived in Japan for a few years and I could find better sushi for $5 at the local Marunaka (supermarket chain). I would recommend a little less filler in your sushi and more of the ingredients it states on the menu.
Finally… not too sure how to broach this subject – so I will just come out and state it: I found it quite rude and borderline racist how he kept speaking to his female employees in Japanese. When I conversed with them, I was surprised to find out they had full New Zealand accents. For whatever reason, he only spoke to his female employees this way…? When he asked the NZ European male employee to get him something from the back room, it was in a thick NZ accent and even had a “bro” thrown in. Why would he apply one set of rules to one group of employees and not to the other?
Put it this way, we left with the impression that the sushi chef/owner had spent a few years in Japan and was trying to impress everyone with that fact.
As a vegetarian, I was slightly worried, but it turns out that the vegetarian dish is one of the most delicious on the menu! The chef, and owner noticed me trying to lick the last f the ‘secret’ sauce off the plate and put me out of my misery by offering me a free pot to take home. My omnivorous partner was also impressed, and he is a chef.
Respect to this couple for their courage. Visit Shinobi Sushi lounge. You won’t regret it.