I was having a quick peruse of the excellent RocketNews24 website last week when I saw an article about a Pakistani restaurant in Ikebukuro which serves sheep brain curry and thought I’d go along and see and experience it myself. Maruhaba is a five minute walk from the west exit of JR Ikebukuro station although it took my girlfriend and I about an hour to find it as I had the wrong address and couldn’t find it on google maps. After a quick call to the place it was known that the actual address was 2-63-6 Ikebukuro. With a mannekin pis statue outside as well as the usual elephant statues we entered expecting a place full of Pakistani men but the place was completely deserted with only one other couple coming in a bit later.
According to the aforementioned website the majority of Pakistani people are Muslim and so don’t eat pork but when it comes to sheep they eat all of it including the heart, brain and even the genitals! Maybe that will be next as I’ve seen Bear Grylls sample such delicacies in ‘Man Vs Wild‘ (‘Born Survivor‘ in Britain) many times over the years and its done him no harm!
Although the usual curry dishes were on the menu I decided to splash out on the brain masala as that was the reason for locating this restaurant and you can never have enough brain can you?!! Maruhaba claims to be the only restaurant in Japan to serve the dish though I can’t be sure of the authenticity of that statement.
I pushed the boat out a bit and also had some keema (minced beef) nan with the obligatory lassi drink which was possibly the best one I’ve ever had. The curry taste was way better than I expected as I usually play it fairly safe in these places. It had a soft spongy taste with tofu-like texture and as expected I didn’t even feel like I was eating brain. Its certainly not a spicy dish and is actually quite mild which suits me fine. I’m sure only bits of the dish are actually the sheeps brain but who knows?!