Benihana is a Japanese restaurant that isn’t just about the food, it’s about the experience. You are seated around a large table, either exclusively for your own party or with other groups, and you have your own private chef to cook meal.
On our various trips we have had a few different chefs, but they are always on top form with the wise cracks, and really make the meal entertaining. You may hear some of the same quips if you visit regularly, but that is all part of the fun.
The menu includes a full range of japanese delicacies, including Sushi, but we usually opt for one of the ‘traditional’ or ‘speciality’ set menus.
This means that your meal starts with a deliciously fragrant Japanese onion soup. It is thin in texture but beautifully warming and a great light start for the meal. The next course is a tasty salad, which you can contentedly graze on while the real spectacle begins. Your chefs begin by preparing your prawn appetiser in front of you.
There is flaming onion pyramids and the fasted prawn de-shelling you have ever seen – it’s true theatre in motion, but for your dinner.
The prawn appetiser is served with courgettes and the aforementioned flame grilled onion.
Then comes the main event, your chosen meat along with Hibachi vegetables and steamed rice (word to the wise, if you want egg fried rice order the Hibachi rice for a small extra cost, you see that cooked in front of you too).
There is a variety of different meat options, including tuna fillet, salmon, steak, chicken. Some of the speciality meals include a combination of different options, and on my latest visit I really indulged with the lobster tail and steak option. It was incredible. So simple but so tasty – and seeing it prepared in front of you is a real treat.
Prices vary depending on the options you choose, but be warned it can get a bit pricy and I would definitely advise going when you have saved enough pennies to have a cocktail before your meal. The Strawberry Daiquiris are to die for. Our average bill, including several drinks each, was around £70 which is far more than I would usually splash on a meal.
But it was thoroughly worth it for a four course treat, and we keep going back again and again so that speak for itself. You can make it cheaper by opting for some of the less extravagant options as well, so don’t let the price tag put you off.
If you are in London I would really encourage you to give Benihana a whirl. It’s a meal you won’t forget in a hurry, and for all the right reasons.