One of the most common questions I get asked (usually in broken or bad English!) is what’s the best country I’ve ever visited and it’s kind of impossible to answer as how can one really truthfully compare two fairly random countries. Of course you can only talk about your own holiday experiences and one of the best ones I had was back in June 2011 when I went to Jordan for my first taste of the Middle East. The mix of breathtaking sights, world wonders, helpful locals and travelling companions made it a trip to live long in the memory.
One of the Japanese people I met on that trip, whilst in the capital city of Amman, was Kimihisa who I have kept in touch with ever since. We even managed to meet up again in New York last August and for many months we have been planning to go to this Jordanian restaurant in Ikebukuro. We finally got round to going there the other week to taste what we didn’t really taste in Jordan itself!
Tsuki No Sabuki (月の砂漠) is less than a minute away from the west exit of JR Ikebukuro station. The address is 1-26-5 Higashi Ikebukuro and it’s on the second floor but be aware that the entrance is up some stairs on a dark and dirty street round the back next to a porn dvd shop!
When I went to the restaurant a couple of days before to book a table it was a Friday evening and was quite a thriving place with a steady stream of customers trickling in. Glad to have made a reservation, we turned up on a Sunday evening and typically we were the only customers there……all night!!
We were a tad disappointed at first that it wasn’t full of Jordan dishes but instead was more like general Middle Eastern cuisine. We ordered the ‘Tsuki No Sabaku Course’ (2500 yen) and a couple of other dishes such as couscous and Jordan mansaf which was basically a yoghurt rice combination and though a bit pricey (1800 yen) it was of great quantity and the taste was pretty awesome. This ethnic food was all washed down with a few beers; my first for over five weeks!
Tsuki No Sabuki (月の砂漠) has been in Tokyo since 2009 and means Desert Moon. There is a song of the same name and it’s also a 2001 Japanese film (see the posters below) focusing on the conflict between work and family commitments in modern Japan. I’m not sure which one the restaurant takes its name from.