February this year I was invited to a dinner with some people I had met in Tokyo at an incredible venue in Shinjuku. The restaurant was perched on one of the top three floors of the Mistui building, just near where I usually stay, and I experienced the most over the top Teppanyaki ever.
I don’t know about you, but for me back in Australia, Teppanyaki conjures up memories of team building or family dinners where you had some reasonable food, cheap hot sake, and throughout the night food is thrown at you making you feel like an absolute fool. This was not one of those venues.
With two sets of small appetisers including a multiple spoon construction and a sensational bonito carpaccio starting us off the grilled foie gras and the lobster with butter then came as no surprise. After I had come to terms with my sake coming in a beautiful glass teapot the beef finally came out adorned with a smattering of vegetables and the thinly sliced garlic that had been cooking for most of the meal.
So yes, as the finale there was the obligatory fried rice, but it was placed lovingly into bowls instead of being thrown at us across the room. I also managed to leave the restaurant without bits of fried egg stuck in my hair.
The food was delicious of course, fusing french ingredients and flavours alongside Japanese Teppan cooking and I suppose that is what distracted me a little. Certainly a great occasional experience but typically would prefer to lay down the cash on something a little more traditional when contemplating a good Japanese meal and go fully French when I wanted to. But the ingredients, cooking and atmosphere seriously could not be beaten when you are thinking “experience” beyond just eating.