December 19, 2010

Tantalisingly Teppan

It was the middle of the week and a slow day at work. My colleagues suggested that we try out a new eating place and someone said Teppan at the Benjarong.

My first thought; "Why is Japanese cuisine being served at a place that sounds Thai?"

We headed out anyway and since Benjarong is something of a landmark on TTK road. Our entry to the premises was the only confusing aspect of the whole experience. We were welcomed to Benjarong and for an instant we thought we were mistaken. But then on asking for Teppan we were told that it was a separate section upstairs.

I am a huge foodie and pride myself in experimenting with different types of cuisines. That being said, my knowledge of teppanyaki is scarce at best and trust me when I say, I was NOT prepared for the spectacular show that lay ahead. It started off with the chef who was preparing our starters. He explained how he seasoned the skillet. While waiting for the station to get hot we got to see some nifty card tricks. All good so far. The real show started with the second course onwards. Eggs balanced on spatula  edges, vessels flipped, food tossed and all the fancy hand work that one expects or if a first timer, actually surprises.

We started with a round of mocktails which acted as great aperitifs. My ginger-based mocktail acted as palate cleanser for the predominantly chicken dishes that I was having...the scrumptious chicken teriyaki starter being the highlight. What followed was a tenderloin in wasabi butter and succulent chicken breasts, which were cooked just right with the sake blending in delicately with the herbs. The chef even tossed a piece into my mouth from across the plate as a tester! Abhinav Bindra in the making perhaps?

While Teppan does exquisitely well on meat and seafood, one would but naturally think that Japanese cuisine has nothing to offer for the vegetarians. But I would urge you to think again. Because my herbivorous compadres absolutely loved what was served to them. Heck, even a chicken aficionado like  me fell in love with the avocado and tempura maki rolls.

Sufficiently stuffed, we just about thought that the end was near when the deal was sweetened at the end, quite literally at that. The sugar bar is by far one of the best I have seen and I have seen quite a few.  I am a hardcore dessert freak. I eat less so I can have desserts and I absolutely loved what was on offer here. Chocolates and more chocolates; mint flavoured, white and dark; beautiful pastries that just melted away to nothing leaving only the exquisite flavour, cream and jelly shooters, wafer goodies. Yumm!

Simply put, Teppan is one of those places where you go when you have time to savour your meal, enjoy the ambience and watch some exquisite artistry. Highly recommended!