Photo: Tom Roseveare

Shabu Shabu: Let Us

Farm-to-table inspired healthy shabu-shabu in Nakameguro

Photo: Tom Roseveare
Tom Roseveare   - 3 min read

New to Nakameguro in September 2017, Shabu Shabu Let Us (しゃぶしゃぶレタス) promises to redefine how this traditional Japanese cuisine is experienced.

The traditional approach to shabu shabu sees guests sit round a shared pot, making for a fun, group experience as meats and vegetables are dipped into the same broth. Let Us seeks to upend this trend, by providing more possibilities through individual shabu-shabu pots. This increases the amount of flavour options and taste combinations infinitely – of course these can still be shared.

The ability to experiment with multiple flavours is one of the biggest selling points here, and sets it apart from other shabu shabu venues. Instead of a generic broth, Let Us provides over almost a dozen soup bases, many made using a flavoursome mix of 5 varieties of bonito extract. They include katsuobushi, tofu, spicy sesame, sukiyaki-style, spicy Korean-style, a coconut/collagen mix, Sichuan Mara Hinabe, and Thai-style Tom yum goong.

Choose your favourite to go with your cuts of meat: a combination of domestic-raised Japanese Waton pork, as well as akami beef, before grabbing some of the 29 varieties of condiments, spices, oils, salts and herbs available to customise.

I found combinations of coriander, rock salt, peanut miso and spicy miso packed quite a flavour punch – with many more available. Traditional shabu shabu venues may serve just gomadare (sesame) and ponzu – these are great (and available here), but not necessarily that exciting, especially for those wanting to enjoy a longer, all-you-can-eat course menu. Being able to try continually try new flavours throughout makes for a rewarding experience.

As the naming suggests, Let Us is proud of its green credentials. Using their network of farmers, they benefit from direct deliveries of seasonal vegetables from around Japan. This doesn't just make for a visually diverse and interesting table of food (perhaps the most colourful plate of greens you can possibly hope to receive), much of this colourful line-up is proudly on display near the kitchen area.

With an interesting selection of seasonal, fresh vegetables alway available and the myriad soup/dip combinations available, Let Us breathes new life into the shabu-shabu experience. Together with the modern wooden finish and spacious decor, Let Us feels modern, clean and health-conscious.

Dinner courses include Waton pork (2,800 yen), wagyu beef (3,000 yen), aged gyutan (beef tongue) (3,500 yen), a high-grade wagyu beef all-you-can-eat course (4,500 yen), and assorted mushrooms (950 yen). A variety of lunch sets are also available, averaging around 1,100–300 yen.

Tom Roseveare

Tom Roseveare @tom.roseveare

Creative Director at Japan Travel, based in Tokyo. Feel free to reach out about living, working or travelling in Japan – just book a time.