I’ve wanted to go to a teppanyaki restaurant since forever. Benihana is probably the most well-known teppanyaki restaurant world-wide, an American company which runs around 116 Japanese restaurants. Alas, at £30 a main course Benihana has a reputation for being expensive so it’s always been pushed to the bottom of my list.
Sen-Nin, on the other hand, was recommended to me by a work colleague who’d enjoyed their Super Tuesdays offer. Every Tuesday Sen-Nin offer 50% off everything – that’s food and drinks (alcoholic!) in both their Camden and Islington restaurants. So a friend and I booked a table in the Camden restaurant on Pratt Street for 6.30pm after work.
What is Teppanyaki?
Teppanyaki is a Japanese cuisine and is derived from teppan (鉄板), which means iron plate, and yaki (焼き), which means grilled, or pan-fried.
For those of you unfamiliar with teppanyaki-style eating it basically involves guests being seated around a large hot-plate (also known as a teppan or Hibachi grill). “Theatrical” chefs then take centre stage and whirl, juggle, flip and flame raw ingredients into different dishes. The point is to engage and entertain all the guests whilst they prepare your meal making for a lively dining experience!
Whilst the chef warmed up the grill and begun his tricks, the starters we’d ordered began to arrive at our table. First up, Chicken Yakitori – skewers of grilled chicken with a teriyaki sauce glaze. I mean they were nothing compared to the yakitori awesomeness at Flesh & Buns, nor the dark horse that is Nambu-Tei but they were satisfactory enough.
Next in line, a portion of Japanese steamed dumplings known as Chicken Gyoza. I love a good dumpling and these, stuffed with chicken and vegetables were pretty decent.
Our third starter of choice was a Japanese Beef Roll. Presentation lacked a little here, it was a bit of a make-shift dish in my opinion. Shredded beef and cucumber filled a classic pancake roll which was drizzled with teriyaki sauce. A sweet dish, nice flavour but just a bit forgettable.
Our final starter came in the form of deep fried oysters known as Kaki Furai. Served with a tonkatsu sauce, the breaded oysters were such a non-event. I’ve only had deep fried oysters a couple of times before and I don’t remember loving them that much so maybe they just aren’t for me, but these certainly weren’t anything to rave about.
Avoiding any of the sushi dishes on the menu, (it was raining outside so I think we were after something warming) we chose our teppanyaki dishes. With the intention of sharing, I went for the duck and my dining partner chose the lamb. Whilst we were busy munching our starters our chef had rustled up some egg fried rice! Everybody at the table received a portion and it was damn good!
My favourite part of the meal was the meat, the Gressingham Duck Breast grilled with a plum sauce glaze was delicious – served pink and as fresh from the grill as possible! The British Lamb seasoned and grilled with fresh mint leaves was tasty even if it was a tad on the fatty side.
Last up from the grill – stir fry veg with bean-sprouts, peppers, beans and carrots. By this point we were both quite full, but it was a welcome finale to what had been a meal full of variety and interest.
Sen-Nin Super Tuesdays is a super awesome deal. We spent £21.75 each for cocktails, 4 starters, rice, veg, duck and lamb! It wasn’t the best food I’ve ever eaten, but it was an entertaining setting and a pleasing teppanyaki experience.
ADDRESS: 35 Pratt St, Camden, London NW1 0BG
CONTACT: 020 7096 1276
OPENING HOURS: 12pm – 3pm and 5pm – 11pm Monday to Friday and 12pm – 10.30pm Saturday and Sunday