Today I will introduce to you a great restaurant we found in the heart of Ueno (Yes, I know the name says “Ginza” but this is the Ueno chain of it). Ginza LION is originally a German style restaurant which specialises in its German sausages. Though I’ve tried these before in my previous visit, and they are absolutely awesome and keeps its reputation, today I wanted to show you how much more they have to offer.
Ginza LION has a wide range of menu selections from salads, steaks and sausages. The restaurant also offers an English menu which can be very handy for those who cannot read Japanese. From the menu, we ordered 4 items: The 15 Ingredient Salad, Beef Stew, Beef Rib Loin, and Baked Potatoes with Melted Cheese and Corned Beef. Let me go through each dish with you.
The 15 Ingredients Salad
This salad is pure genius. I would say that this is one of the best salads I’ve ever had for appetisers. In Australia, I am very used to seeing the common favourites on every salad menu. Almost always there is a Caesar Salad, Beetroot Salad, Thai Beef Salad or a Greek Salad. In Japan, you can also commonly find simple salads that consists of slices cabbage, tomato and corn. However, this salad (as its name suggests) has 15 different ingredients. And you also get to pick a dressing of your choice: Lemon Dressing, Sesame Seed Dressing or Plum Dressing. Though I should have asked and note them down, I can remember that the salad consisted of lettuce, tomatoes, corn, seaweed, rocket, fried eggplant and fried lotus roots. That’s only half of the entire dish! However, I kid you not that the moment you take a bite into the many ingredients, you can taste the freshness of each ingredient, and it will make you have an appreciation towards each ingredient. The combination of all ingredient gives you the crunch, the juicy and the flavour, all in one. This is a must have appetiser for any main dish you order
The Beef Stew & Beef Rib Loin
This beef stew is probably a little bit different to common beef stews because of the sauce they use. The sauce is a very thick sauce and very similar to Japanese traditional BBQ sauce. However, as soon s you bite into that beef belly, you will be shocked by how quickly the meat melts inside your mouth together with the perfect sauce. It’s so soft, tender and a little bit sweet and sour. This is an extremely comforting dish. Surprisingly what made it even better was the weather. This was the very first meal we had after arriving in Japan, and it was a really cold day at just 9 degrees Celsius. Naturally, it made me crave for something as comforting as this and yes I was extremely satisfied without leaving any piece left. The Beef Rib loin dish is very similar to the Beef Stew dish, but this is a more meaty dish. Whereas the previous dish was more fatty. You ge an extremely juicy meat that comes with a much lighter Demi glaze sauce. Yet another spot on for a cold spring day.
Baked Potatoes with Melted Cheese & Corned Beef
This dish, whilst sounds very simple, is a very, very tasty dish. I think that whoever invented this dish is a pure genius. Melted cheese is obviously a given to any hot food to make it much tastier, but the addition of corned beef takes it to the next level. Unlike bacon, corned beef is less salty, and the meet is much stringy and easy to chew. The saltiness of the corned beef perfectly compliments the buttery potatoes and the melted cheese and really sings in your mouth together with the other main dishes you have. I’ve always wondered what is the best way to use corned beef, but I’ve found my answer here at Ginza LION.
Overall, Ginza LION is a fantastic option for anyone, at any time of the day. From our observations, there were more elderly than young, and quite a handful of businessmen enjoying their chat with their colleagues. This restaurant is very easy to spot as soon as you exit the Ueno Station (including the JR, Keisei and Ginza lines). There is a yellow banner written Ginza LION in Japanese at the front of the building, and the restaurant is located in the B1 floor. The restaurant is also separated into two sections: Smoking and Non-smoking - which is a nice touch considering a lot of restaurants in Japan do not offer separate spaces. Prices are also reasonable but not cheap - you get what you paid for, and I mean this in a really good way. You won’t be disappointed by their quality of food. Service is also very friendly, just as you expect in Japan. It ticks all the boxes for a good restaurant for me and that’s why I highly recommend this restaurant.
Ginza LION Ueno
Address: 1-57 Uenokoen | B1F, Ueno Saigo Kaikan, Taito 110-0007, Tokyo Prefecture
Opening Hours: 11AM - 11PM from Mondays - Saturdays. 11AM - 10:30PM on Sundays
Average Spend: 2500 yen per person
Access: 1 minute walk from JR & Keisei Ueno Station. 3 minutes from Ginza Line.
Born in Japan, brought up in Hong Kong and currently living in Sydney, Australia.
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