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.
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!
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.
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
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
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!
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
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!
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!
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! :)
We 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.
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 :)
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
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!
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
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! :)
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:
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! :)
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!
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 ;)
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
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
Pricing: $26 per person for the Vegetarian set
51 Phillip Street
New South Wales
Phone Number: (02) 9893 9594