The restaurant is divided into two areas; one with communal-style benches and a sushi counter which goes through to an open-plan kitchen; and the other featuring ‘shoji rooms’, providing an area for private dining, which can be split into smaller areas by screens.
Yum Yum Ninja also features a courtyard with space for an additional 65 people and an upstairs bar area, allowing customers of the restaurant and Riddle & Finns to have pre-drinks.
“I started my career about 20 years ago in a Japanese restaurant and I’ve always had a big passion and interest in that side of things,” said Rob Shenton, who owns the restaurant with business partner Adam Brian.
“Yum Yum Ninja is three doors away from Riddle & Fins and we’d been looking at the site for quite a while. We found that there’s a bit of a gap in the market for something a bit modern and different to what’s already available in the city.
“We opened about four weeks ago, we haven’t done any marketing or PR, but it’s been great since opening - it’s fairly busy already.”
On the menu
With the kitchen overseen by Shenton and chef Scott Dixon, Yum Yum Ninja's menu features Asian flavours with a modern twist. Using local and seasonal ingredients, the collection of dishes ranges from Asian tapas style light bites and Dim Sum & Bincho skewers through to locally caught cuttlefish and water chestnut fish cakes, soy glazed spatchcock quails and Sussex lobster.
The bar, headed up by cocktail bartender Peter Mierzwa, offers an extensive range of Sakes, Umeshus, Japanese whiskys & Asian fusion cocktails designed to complement the restaurant’s dishes.
The venue is designed to promote its oriental heritage, with the theme of an urban playground; walls of jute rope and an array of glowing luminescent lanterns. The courtyard aims to capture the hustle and bustle of an Asian night market with suspended festoon lighting, fluttering banners and parasols clustered around groups of tables.
Shenton also owned Due South restaurant situated between the piers on Brighton beach. The site closed at the beginning of the year before re-opening as Arch 139.
With the city welcoming 8.2 million visitors every year - a figure which dwarves it’s population of 300,000 - Shenton went on to talk of the benefits of operating in an area which has a vibrant restaurant scene and a wide variety of cuisines.
“It is really different to London and other towns, it has its own uniqueness,” he said. “But it’s close enough to London and it’s a pretty busy weekend destination all year round.
“Over the past couple of years, when the Euro’s been really strong and flights have gone up, we’ve seen more and more people coming into Brighton for holidays, weekend breaks and day trips, which is a real benefit for us.
“This summer hasn’t been anything to write home about, but the area is one of the best locations in the country for this industry - people come here with a fun attitude looking for a good night out, and that’s the ethos of Yum Yum Ninja.”
Speaking of the potential to one day venture into London, Shenton added: “We’d wait a year or two, if the economy does change and good sites become available at a good price, then we would consider it. But at the moment Brighton is ideal for us.”
Yum Yum Ninja and Riddle & Finns are situated in Meeting House Lane, in The Lanes area of Brighton.