MUJI has gained global recognition for its minimalist “no brand” style of goods, furniture and clothing. Now, it has also branched into the dining scene with its own chain of cafes, restaurants and diners. Last week I ventured into the basement of MUJI’s flagship 6-floor store in Ginza to check out the MUJI Diner (無印良品食堂), a stylish cafeteria-like eatery with a warm wood atmosphere.
Fitting in with the brand’s theme, the diner’s decor was a calming mix of reddish-brown hues and whites. There was a nice use of red bricks for the walls and beige for the furniture. All the tableware and condiment holders also evoked a typical MUJI style, and even the straw they gave me for my drink was made of paper instead of plastic. Needless to say, the straw was falling apart by the end of the drink, but it was nice to see they are attempting to be more environmentally-friendly.
The dishes served at MUJI Diner are based on the concept of 「素の食」 (“simple meals”). The menu selection itself is minimalist, but offers a balanced and health-conscious range of salads, appetizers and set meals which change depending on the time of day.
The dinner menu, which features some English, contained options such as:
- Ryukyu-don: Sesame sauce-marinated sashimi rice bowl that is a local specialty of Oita Prefecture.
- Sweet chilli mayonnaise karaage: Deep fried juicy chicken breast meat with a sweet and spicy dip
- Kale and chestnut coleslaw: Soft kale with chestnut sherry dressing and olive oil.
- Kanzuri-grilled rice balls: Rice balls flavoured with kanzuri, a hot paste specialty condiment from Niigata, Japan.
- Honwa Kato purin: A pudding using Honwa Kato, a type of sugar from Okinawa.
More expensive dishes on offer were a beef stew for 3,000 yen and a mix grill plate for 4,300 yen.
Since I went during dinner, I ordered a half Ryukyu-don, the chicken karaage and the salad bar.
Being a diner as opposed to a full-blown restaurant, dishes are very affordable even at night. You can have a solid meal for under 2,000 yen per person. I especially recommend the salad bar for 700 yen. Although it’s not exactly buffet style (you can only go once), you can fill a big salad bowl with as much vegetables, beans and nuts as it can fit and share it between multiple people.
Getting to MUJI Diner
MUJI Diner is located in the basement of the massive MUJI store in Ginza, so you can stop for a meal if you feel peckish in the midst of your shopping. The concept is reminiscent of the one coined by IKEA. It is open from breakfast to dinner, with menu items changing based on the time of day. The breakfast menu runs from 7:30am to 11am, lunch menu from 11am to 5pm, and dinner menu from 5pm to 10pm.
MUJI Ginza is less than 5 minutes walk from Ginza Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza, Marunouchi, and Hibiya Lines. It can also be reached on foot from Ginza-itchome Station on the Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line, or Yurakucho Station on the JR Yamanote Line.
Address: 東京都中央区銀座3-3-5 地下一階
B1F, 3-3-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Note that the diner is different from MUJI Cafe & Meal, which is located nearby on the 2F of the hotel remm Hibiya.
How to make a booking
Bookings can only be made for dinner, i.e. after 5pm. You can call the store directly or book online on their official website (Japanese only). However, it doesn’t seem to be too crowded outside of the peak dinner time of 7pm to 8pm, and even then the wait is usually only about 15 minutes, a waitress told me. So bookings are not essential.
Final rating: MUJI Diner
Food: 8/10, tasty dishes featuring regional specialties and a fresh salad bar that is the bomb for the health-conscious.
Customer service: 8/10, no complaints here, but nothing particularly memorable. Expect the same high level of service you get at the average Japanese eatery.
Cost performance: 8/10, good value for money in a stylish setting that looks more expensive than it really is. Those working the Ginza area can probably get some good lunch deals as well.
Check out my other reviews of interesting theme cafes and restaurants in Tokyo!