Benihana in Piccadilly
Benihana was the first Japanese restaurant to come to London, 30 years ago. It’s a Japanese steakhouse with a difference: each table has their own private chef who cooks the dishes on Teppan grills that are heated to 300 degrees whilst entertaining guests with tricks, knife skills, and the occasional joke too.
The meals are served in several courses and guests select the main component which is accompanied by the Benihana classic appetiser, soup, salad and side dishes that have not changed in recipe since the first restaurant opened in 1964.
A mainstay in the ever-expanding Japanese restaurant scene in London the Piccadilly branch of Benihana is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Today there are 122 Benihana restaurants globally who incorporate the idea of showmanship and entertainment as part of the meal.
Japan’s Oita Prefecture are coming to London this month bringing Bungo, Donko and Kabosu-buri from Oita to the Capital for the first time.
The incredibly lush Oita region is found on Kyushu Island in South Japan. 70% of Oita is covered by forests and rivers encircled by 759 kilometers of coastline that has shoals in the north and a jagged coastline in the south. The coastal waters contribute to a prosperous fishing industry and the streams that flow from the mountain ranges give rich water sources to arable farm land.
Bungo beef comes from cattle raised in Oita’s beautiful region of rolling mountains. It is regarded as some of the very best beef in Japan and has a rich yet mild melt in the mouth flavour. Donko is the highest grade shiitake found growing from forest oak logs. These mushrooms are hand-harvested and sun-dried at their peak to capture the best flavour and most nutrients. Kabosu-buri is Japanese yellowtail that have been fed on a famous delicacy of Oita Prefecture, the kabosu lime, a citrus fruit that imparts a delicate note to the fish.
We’ve test-drived Benihana and even though the food is good, that’s not the reason you’d choose it among London’s vast offering of Japanese restaurants; Benihana is fun, it’s the perfect place to go for dinner with your work colleagues or on a Saturday afternoon with your family and kids – at a very reasonable price.
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Photos: Filippo L’Astorina
The Oita menu is available from 15th October until 25th October 2015.