27 June 2014

A Japanese Dinner - Teppanyaki Style!


 noun \ˌte-pän-ˈyä-kē\

Definition of TEPPANYAKI

:  a Japanese dish of meat, fish, or vegetables cooked on a large griddle usually built into the diner's table
With my memories of that steaming sushi boat still very much present in my mind and a visit to Tokyo planned for next January, it was with glee that I accepted Laura's kind invitation to accompany her to an evening of traditional Japanese culinary delights at Matsuri St James'.

Although the restaurant opened in the heart of Mayfair back in 1993 as a joint partnership of Kikkoman (the soy sauce people) and JR-Central (the high-speed railway company), this year they've been through something of a relaunch not only bringing in a brand new head chef to overhaul the menu but also adding an authentic sushi counter to the mix.

Today though our visit was not at the new counter but in the main restaurant. We were dining teppenyaki style and our visit promised the finest sushi, tempting tempura, black cod (one of my favourites) and prime Galician beef cooked right in front of us dribbling food-lovers.

Firstly, try not to let the decor put you off. Inside it's not unlike an office boardroom and they could probably do with a snazzy Zuma-style makeover but let's turn a blind eye to that and let the food do the talking. After all, that's what matters the most, right? (especially if you're as hungry as I was!).

The assorted sushi and rolls were very nice indeed. To be honest, I don't think I'll ever be the biggest sushi lover so I find it a little hard to judge but this was as good as I've tasted and according to the huge sushi fans who were sitting to my left at the table, it was bloody good stuff.

The fresh prawn tempura was more my thing! Tempura restaurants in Japan use a secret blend of oils to deep fry with to give it its individual flavour. These oils can be a mixture of vegetable, soya bean or sesame. Matsuri's was crispy, very tasty and not even a little bit greasy. 

And then the exciting bit started!

It was great being able to see all those fresh, raw ingredients laid out in front of us pre-cooking. Our dedicated chef put everything into preparing the fish whilst Laura and I reminisced about Rhodes, sipping on the accompanying sake and wine the very informed sommeliers were spoiling us with. 

The black cod was exactly as I like it; soft and melt-in-the-mouth. Absolutely beautiful fish.

I was fascinated by the huge joint of Galician beef the chef was about to tackle next. He covered it in rock salt and cooked that cow to perfection. 

Just look at that juicy meat! It was a sample plate of kings! The teppanyaki style of cooking really draws out the natural flavours in both the meat and vegetables. 

We watched as the yummy egg fried rice was also prepared...

...along with a tasty dessert of crepes with fruit and ice cream. Flambé! 

It was an impressive and very enjoyable meal. Matsuri St James' is definitely a restaurant worth considering for an authentic Japanese experience. Being able to watch the talented chefs at work is worth the visit alone!

I'm getting very excited for my trip to Japan next January now...

Just a tip: If you visit, ask for a glass of the Kamoizumi Nigori Ginjo - it's AMAZING

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  1. I was pleasently suprised by food, it was so good. Especially the black cod- just like butter. I love that picture of us! So cute! xx

    1. You look cute - I look a little bit insane! x

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  3. This place looks so delicious, I want that meat now! Looks so juicy! Going to have to try it
    Lauren xx

  4. I love having food cooked in front of me it makes the experience so much better. You can anticipate the taste of the food by the smell and I am definitely a visual eater. The cod look wonderful Lucy x

  5. The tempura prawn is making my mouth water... although if I'm being honest all of it is really! B xx

  6. Great photos; it all looks delicious :-) Glad you had a lovely time; thanks for sharing.

    x Roch & Tash x

  7. Hold up, you're going to Japan?! Mega jealous! That will be one hell of an amazing cultural experience! I've always wanted to go to a restaurant where they prepare everything in front of me. I love open kitchens, it's so reassuring to know that they know you're watching!

    Can I just take a moment to appreciate your bibs too ;) stylish ladies, stylish.

    Katie <3


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