CCU Undercover: Tem Ichi Restaurant (Teppanyaki)

What am I, working overtime? 

CCU sat back in her chair and stared at her computer, its screen splattered with photos of the night. She could hardly believe herself, going out so much and not giving a darn about reviewing everything and anything.

May as well get started, no use procrastinating now. With a stomach contentedly full and the light of dawn filtering through her venetian blinds, she sat back, cracked her fingers and began to type, as her mind raced back in time to a night of fans, frolicking and food.

Food being thrown at you.

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Ok so for my 18th birthday, you will not even believe where a couple of my best friends took me. No seriously, I dare you to try and guess.

Oh, right, slight problem with my guessing game, I may or may not have already given you the answer with my title. Or maybe not? It is quite oriental, I didn’t even know it was called this until I went there!

HUNGRY! TT, Moi and PDS :D

HUNGRY! TT, Moi and PDS :D

Teppanyaki. According to Wikipedia (of course, teachers, seriously I do not even understand why you are against it :P), it is a ‘style of Japanese cuisine that uses an iron griddle to cook food.’

Japanese barbecue? Cool right. Well it gets even better. You sit, chill and relax. While they cook. In front of you. Flames sizzling up right in your face, I am not kidding you, these chefs and their skills with knives, oil and anything that can burn is quite sensational.

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They chop faster than you blink.

They flip, sizzle and cook fried rice in 3 minutes. You think I am joking? Nope :P

And what is even more super fabulous is that they make the dining experience so much fun! :D
Common to teppanyaki dining, is the trend of having the cooks throw your dishes at you. Yes, they do hurtle eggs, fried rice and other things straight at your face.

And if you don’t catch it, it goes all over you. LOL :D

PDS and I - P is fine, but I am desperately hoping my weird chopsticks grip holds for the photo....

PDS and I – P is fine, but I am desperately hoping my weird chopsticks grip holds for the photo….

Now that you know a bit more about it, maybe I should return to the beginning of my story.

So said mates, TT and PDS, took me up a revoltingly grand staircase to get to the joint (I was in my heels ok!), and even then I was a little confused, I thought ‘Japanese? Awesome!’ but was definitely not expecting to walk up and see a chef hollering to his customers to catch the food! The atmosphere, despite the small amount of people, was fun. I know, am I at a loss of words or what?

Fun is the best word here to describe the experience :D

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A really sweet lady came over to us, gave our menus and we sat and talked and of course took a photo or two as we do, while choosing our orders, with all of us going for the vegetarian set option. The whole room was red, bright fans decorating the walls and the whole oriental style was really played up to increase the ambience :D

There was a bar tucked away to the corner for those more mature than catching rice bowls (as if!) with a large fish tank hypnotising my friends and I. One of those fishes was as large as my entire hand and I am not even kidding you!

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Our salad arrived first as part of our menu option, dressed in a vinaigrette and with forks because, as far as chopsticks are concerned, PDS and TT can handle them somewhat, I can make it through very barely but we were outclassed by the salad :P

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A little wilted on the lettuce, the cucumber and tomato was fresh and the vinaigrette was extraordinarily strong but it really stimulated tastebuds. I rather liked it :D – I also enjoyed the fact that they didn’t feel it was necessary to have some elaborate salad on the menu. Simple Japanese cuisine with enjoyment factor is what it promoted and delivered on :)

Then we got our entree section, the fried goods, one large bowl each and may I say, this could have been our dinner, it was so generously served. There was a delicious mix of battered fried vegetables, ranging from sweet potato to pumpkin, though my favourite had to be the spring rolls and the onion ring, I wish I had had two of those!

PDS and her mad chopstick skills!

PDS and her mad chopstick skills!

The sweet potato was warm and well cooked, crunchy batter on the outside, but I couldn’t even really distinguish it from pumpkin (You Americans must be hating on me so much right now :P) but the spring rolls were simply perfect. Warm, crunchy and with a delicious, fresh veggie filling, I ate them in 2 bites!

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And the onion ring, the lightness of the batter (I have no idea which flour they used but certainly not plain!) was simply crispy and a perfect external covering for the spicy onion!

And the sauce was not overdone, which was a relief, and provided a complimentary occasional burst of sweetness, though a little more would not have gone amiss! :) – I especially liked it with our fried silken tofu. Ohmygosh, I never knew tofu could be so awesome with the contrasting texture of crunch and silk! :)

IMG_0065We also received our boiling hot miso soup at this time, and none of us had ever tried miso before. No spoons, it is customary to drink this like a … drink… but despite the bean sprouts floating in it and the murky dark brown clouds, this was quite pleasant and filling as well.

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It reminded me a strong sweet ‘n’ sour flavoured soup, with an earthy undercurrent of flavour. TT thought it was too strong but personal opinion :)

Such a brave one, that TT :D

Such a brave one, that TT :D

Just to check, I looked up Miso with Wikipedia of course: Japanese seasoning created by fermenting rice, barley and/or soybeans. Interesting…

Now came the entertainment section! :D

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Our chef came in, introduced himself and began to prepare the barbecue! What I really appreciated was that because the other party at our table would be eating meat, he purposely asked us whether we were ok with eating food which had touched meat, and since we were not, he happily made our fried rice first and then did the meat. Little details like this really allow the customer to feel more comfortable and satisfied! :)
And I love their flexibility in entertaining!

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He started off with the vegetables, smoking them up real good and oiling them, almost massaging them with his spatula! And seasoning them as well of course! The vegetables were charred, delicious and smoking when they came on the plate – always a good sign and still crunchy so they were initially fresh of course :D

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He then put the rice on and started smoking it as well, before expertly cracking some eggs on the side. Fried rice never smelled or looked so delicious – earthy and flavoursome! A little burnt at parts, but that is all part of the charm! :)

Sorry for the photo quality - its hard to capture their quick movements!

Sorry for the photo quality – its hard to capture their quick movements!

No eggs thrown to us went to waste (unless you dropped it!), he simply made an omelette out of them :D

No eggs thrown to us went to waste (unless you dropped it!), he simply made an omelette out of them :D

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Now, being veg, it hurts me a little to say this (naah, not really :P), watching the meat cook next was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING :D He laid out the slabs like nobody’s business, then suddenly brought out oil. Or alcohol I think. Or a mixture of something really flammable. Because BAM:

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LOOK AT IT BURN! BURN BABY BURN! :D

OMG. My eyebrows actually just singed off. Am I kidding? Please. I am really not :P

The fire was monstrous, sparks, beautiful but still all under control! :)

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And of course, this was not the end of our entertainment. I did mention throwing food right?

Expertly, he grabbed a couple of eggs, cracked their bottoms slightly, and then placed them that side down on the stove. Grabbing his spatula he flipped a couple up, chucked us our bowls, and processed throwing raw eggs at us to catch.

You throw a ball. You catch it.

He uses a spatula to throw an egg. You catch it in a bowl. OH. MY. GOD.

Brutally honest here, we did pretty well – check out our gorgeous eggs!

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Though TT probably doesn’t want me to tell you guys this, she did drop her first one (though they expertly covered it with sawdust and I put my napkin so that the smell didn’t come up!) :P

He also threw bowls of rice at us. Yes, we had rice in it. And at one of the guys in the other party, he legit hurtled it at him like a bowling ball. BOWLING BOWL –> Pun intended ;)

Yes we caught the bowls in bowls :D 3/3!

Yes we caught the bowls in bowls :D 3/3!

And voila! I think everyone should experience this fabulous dining treat, these friends of mine, I swear they know me way too well :D Playing with food is my second nature :D

No, thank you! :D

No, thank you! :D

Would I go back? Absolutely, this would be a brilliant place for a foodie get together!!!

Tem Ichi Restaurant – Teppanyaki (Japanese)

  • Do not go there if you are expecting 5 star gourmet service – entertainment is just as important as the food, people are warm and friendly and the food is tasty, but reminded me of the wonders of street food (I never knock street food – extra greasy, extra flavoursome :D)
  • Language was a slight barrier at time but nothing that would go amiss at all :)
  • And that is all I can think about that I haven’t already said! Though getting rid of those stairs for us girls in heels would be quite nice! :)

Food Rating: 7/10

Entertainment Rating: 9/10

Website:

Pricing$26 per person for the Vegetarian set

1

Address: 

51 Phillip Street
Parramatta, 2150
New South Wales
Australia

Phone Number: (02) 9893 9594

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99 Comments

  1. Pingback: CCU Undercover: Cafe Boheme | Go Bake Yourself

  2. Pingback: CCU Undercover: Mooberry Dessert & Breakfast Bar

  3. Carolyn Chan says:

    Ouch Pinterest is a wormhole where I have lost much of my time. But so is Instagram and Candy Crush ;) And all because they are GREAT.

    Happy birthday ! That restaurant looks like so much fun – I would be nervous as I am a TERRIBLE catcher and I can imagine myself being covered in the food they throw at me haha

  4. Welcome to Pinterest, CCU! It’s lots of fun and great ideas, not just about food. You mentioned teachers… your school teachers have every reason to be proud of you. Your spelling and grammar are always spot-on and that makes your posts so much easier to read. Loved the photos of the flames. You have the best friends, so nice to take you to such an entertaining restaurant.

  5. Kim Bultman says:

    Uru, how sweet of your friends to take you out for dinner! Happy Birthday!!! xo I thought it was marvelous the chef asked about preparing your veggies w/o touching the meat — very respectful. (Hadn’t thought about that aspect of “shared” grilling.) My son took me to a teppanyaki restaurant last summer and it was a blast. No eggs flung at us though — I feel like I missed out! Glad you had such a wonderful, tasty birthday celebration!

  6. Shirley Tay says:

    Happy belated birthday, gal! How could I have missed this post? Lol! I adore Teppanyaki & have it rather often. OMG, you’re 18?? That’s the same age as my son! Wish he’s as talented as you…….. I’m following you at Pinterest & support you all the way!

  7. Haha I really enjoy reading your teppanyaki experience! I think it looks a bit far from authentic teppanyaki meal but I think and heard a lot of people enjoy the “entertainment”. That unfortunately won’t happen in Japan… usually teppanyaki place is more high end place – yeah very different from ones I see outside of Japan! That fire is crazy! I think I’ll have fun with their cooking show though. ;)

  8. Happy Birthday! How exciting that you’re having a new blog created. It’s so worth it but a lot of work to play catch-up and get things in order. I’m still doing some editing and mine was recreated back in May.

    As for Pinterest of course I’ll follow you. I’ll go do that as soon as I get off. As for help – you’ll have no trouble figuring it out. It’s addicting.

  9. foodfashionparty says:

    Happy Birthday, oh what a fun day you’ve had. a new website sounds great, can’t wait.
    Yay and hifi for teppanyaki, love it.

  10. Book Blather says:

    No fair this post made me so hungry!! Lol. I would add you on PInterest if I could, but I don’t have an account – PInterest is not something I know anything about although you see the icon everywhere now. Congrats on the ‘new’ blog plan!

  11. Ridwan says:

    Happy belated birthday to tou, congrats in new website and will follow your pinterest,I’m not there much :) I like to go to teppanyaki sometime,cool chef behind that counter :)

  12. Barbara says:

    We have a chain in the US that’s like this restaurant. Mostly, my clothes get all smokey so it’s not my favorite place to go, but it’s fun.
    Looking forward to your new website and have fun with Pinterest. Try to limit yourself to once every couple days and you won’t get hooked!

  13. Happy Birthday CCU! Your friends rock as this sounds like a really fun way to celebrate your B-day. Welcome to piniterest. I also think this is quite a distraction right before your October exams as one could literally spend hours drooling over all of the delicious pictures of food and meeting new people.

  14. I love these places too! We’re all big kids aren’t we? I love to go there for our anniversaries and eat a lot! Hope you had a great birthday. Can’t wait to see your new web site and welcome to Pinterest, the biggest waste of time ever invented!

    Nazneen

  15. It sure sounds like you had a very happy birthday. What a fun place to go – very entertaining and everything sounds great. I cannot believe those flames – I think I saw some scary images in that fire & I sure hope they have very high ceilings in the restaurant. Maybe next time you should wear a raincoat.
    I wish I could help you with Pinterest. I love it but don’t understand it that well except to know that I can get lost in space for hours looking at everything on there.

  16. What a lovely birthday. Do you know that in the US they perform in a similar manner but they don’t throw bowls or eggs or rice at people and it’s still fun. The first time I went to a teppanyaki restaurant in Australia I couldn’t believe it. It was a fancy lunch for our staff and our accountant and lawyer were invited and our lawyer left covered in raw egg. He was less than impressed as he chose not to participate but the woman next to him missed. Thanks for reminding me. I tried hard not to laugh but I failed.

    You’re all grown up. We remember you when you first started. :)

  17. Suzie says:

    Happy birthday! It sounds like you had a great time. I would love to go there. I’m not sure how I would do catching eggs but, I would give it a shot! We have a place here that is similar, I have yet to go there but, I’ve heard wonderful things about it.

  18. A_Boleyn says:

    Happy birthday. It sounds like a fun time with your girls. I’ve enjoyed teppanyaki a couple of times but they never threw the food at us. I wish there was still a restaurant like that in town.

  19. Deanna says:

    Congratulations on your upcoming website! That is very exciting! Pinterest is such a distraction, but I love it. Will follow you! You can find us at solefoodkitchen!

  20. Wll actually you paying for the cooking show my dear…LoL
    and actuallly paying a lot for that fancyy demo….
    but it’s always fascinating me when i go to japp-stly teppan restaurant nearby..
    i love when the chef is cut the veggies in the pan…..

  21. Oh how I would have loved to have joined you! Maybe for your 21st…
    Sadly I don’t Pintrest or however you are supposed to say that but I am hugely excited to see your new website! :-) Mandy xo

  22. Pinterest is fun – I just started ramping up my presence on it, but I can see where it’ll be a great time waster!. I’m your newest follower! ;-) What a great birthday celebration – sounds like loads of fun with truly good friends. Hope you had a great birthday!

  23. Uru your enthusiasm is contagious! First, welcome to Pinterest. I LOVE it and I am your newest follower:) I also repinned one of your pins:) May I suggest you add the Pin It button to your web browser, if you haven’t already, because I saw that you have the images from your blog uploaded rather than pinned. You should go back and add the URLs for the images. Many have pinned from your blog, including me. If you want to see what has been pinned from your blog, go to this link.

    That restaurant sounds awesome! A perfect way to celebrate with friends and have FUN too! In New York there was a place called Benihana that entertained the diners also. The chefs put on a show and everyone ate family style. I don’t know if they are still there. I’m not really sure about the throwing of eggs though:)

    Thank you so much for sharing your meal with us Uru. I’m going to wish you a Happy Birthday again, just because:) Enjoy and if you have any questions about Pinterest, just email me and I will try to help:) You are going to LOVE Pinterest!

    P.S. I’m thinking about doing a Pinterest How To post. Do you think it would be useful?

    • Ngaw thanks for this my friend! Pinterest is definitely addictive! Thanks for the tip, I will pin them as oppose to uploading now :D
      And YES, a bit biased personally, but definitely that would be good :)

      It was, the chefs were so incredibly talented! :)

      Cheers
      Choc Chip Uru

  24. Happy Birthday, my dear, you’re now officially an adult with full voting rights, at least in the US. Sounds like your friends gave you the perfect gift; Teppanyaki is always fun even if playing with food is not your cup of tea! :-) Can’t wait to see the unveiling of your new website!

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