Mata Hari, Shibuya

Tasty Balinese food in a fun beachy setting

Peter Sidell
Peter Sidell   - 3 min read

Straight across the road from the big H&M store in Shibuya, there's a tall, narrow building full of funky little restaurants. The one on the 7th floor is Mata Hari which, with its authentic cuisine and tropical styling, as as close as you'll get to a Balinese beach without leaving Tokyo.

The wooden wind-chime at the door sets the tone for what you'll find inside. By the window there's a separate little room with cheerful coloured glass set into a white wall, and all around there are tropical pictures and ornaments. Soft gamelan (Indonesian percussion ensemble) music was playing, and from my table I could admire a little raised area done out like a beach hut, complete with a grass roof and a light screen decorated with an elephant motif. The overall effect was very soothing, and I could easily forget that I was just a couple of minutes from that hectic crossing.

For my lunch I chose the ¥1000 special, which brought me a mixed plate of dishes. There were crunchy vegetable rolls on the side, crispy fried rolls, some tender chicken in a smooth, fragrant curry sauce, a hard-boiled egg with sweet chili sauce, some slightly spicy fried noodles and vegetables, and a good sized helping of rice with prawn crackers on top. Everything was tasty and I enjoyed the mix of flavours and textures, and it left me satisfyingly full without being too much.

Other lunch sets for around ¥750 include nasi goreng and mee goreng (fried noodles), pad thai, a seafood curry stir-fry, or Mee Kuwa Ayam, a Balinese noodle dish with chicken in coconut milk soup. For an extra ¥100 you can add a soft drink, or a beer for ¥300.

The extensive food menu is only in Japanese, but there are plenty of pictures to help you, and the friendly English-speaking staff can also help out. Stir-fry dishes cost between ¥700 and ¥1350, salads from ¥780 to ¥1100, and Thai curries are ¥900 for the red, ¥950 or ¥1250 for the green. There are also full set dinners at ¥3500 for six courses, ¥4000 for eight.

The drinks menu does have English, and starts with bottled Asian beers for ¥750, including Bali Hai, Bintang, Singha, and Chang. Cocktails cost from ¥550 to ¥750, and soft drinks from ¥400-¥500 include a guava lassi or coconut juice.

So if you're in Shibuya and want good south-east Asian food in a peaceful atmosphere, Mata Hari is certainly a good choice.

Peter Sidell

Peter Sidell @peter.sidell

I came to Japan from Manchester, England in 2003, and have travelled a lot since then, around Japan and in Asia. When I'm not working, I write satire and perform stand-up comedy in and around Tokyo. Check YouTube for a taste.