In our family, we have really goofy birthday celebrations. The birthday person gets to choose where they want to have dinner and we always have cake at the end of the night and sing happy birthday etc. I’m sure most people do this, but I find it especially goofy because we don’t invite anyone else along. It’s like a sacred family ritual. I guess this is because we have no other family in Australia. All our relatives are overseas. Growing up, I never had cousins to hang out with or look up to. I didn’t have grandparents to dote on. So when we have birthdays, it’s pretty special family bonding moment.
A few Wednesdays ago was my brother’s 17th birthday. He had been thinking about teppanyaki for ages but didn’t know where to go. I remember years ago, my mum had teppanaki at some fancy restaurant on Collins street so we went there. Turns out this teppanyaki restaurant is Teppanyaki Inn, the same place Jenny from Ichigo Shortcake blogged about a few months back, so I got really excited.
I was told our reservations were at 6:30pm, but when I rocked up around 6:45pm, the waiter said our reservations were actually for 6pm. We ended up having to wait till about 7:30pm. By the time we were seated, we were all getting hungry.
I ordered a Sapporo beer and mum ordered some warm sake. I have to say I’m not the biggest fan of sake. I thought I liked it but when I had some that night, I found it very difficult to drink. Maybe I just wanted something refreshing to drink.
We had a look at the menu and decided on four meat sets: the beef, the beef and seafood combination, the seafood, and the chicken and seafood. It sounds like a lot of food but when you think about it, one set is meant for one person.
Our awesome teppanyaki chef started off with some potatoes. These have been boiled to a slight mushy state whilst retaining the shape, then fried on the grill. This gave the potatoes a soft, fluffy interior and a crisp exterior.
She also fried up a load of garlic, turning them into crunchy, golden chips. The oil was then saved for cooking the other meats.
Mushrooms were fried to a delicious limp state and then she started on the seafood.
First, it was the prawns. The separated the heads from the bodies then left the heads to char and crisp up.
We also had some perfectly cooked squid and salmon, then plump orbs of scallop.
This was all accompanied with some yummy dipping sauces. The first one is a sesame one, which was creamy and nutty. The other one was a simple soy-based sauce. They also gave us a small platter of pickled cucumber, probably to cleanse the palate from all the meat.
The seafood was amazing. I think what I love about Japanese food is the flavours are so simple and clean. It's all about the quality of the ingredients and letting them speak for themselves. We had the dipping sauces to accompany the meats, plus a wedge of lemon. The lemon came in this awesome lemon squeezer!
Next up was the meat, we had some chicken which was cooked in some kind of sweet teryaki sauce, followed by some spinach, which I don't have a photo of.
Then came the yummy beef. We ordered two kinds of beef: the wagyu sirloin and the Tasmanian tenderloin. While I enjoyed the wagyu, I have to admit I liked the tenderloin more. It tasted juicier to me, and was so good with the sesame sauce.
That was the end of the meal, but my brother was still hungry so we ordered some fried rice, which was OK. I'm not one to order fried rice when I'm out because it's so easy to make at home. Whenever I do order fried rice, I just feel guilty and disappointed. This one was a little different. This one used a dark soy that gae the rice a nice dark caramel hue. It also had hand minced bits of beef, carrot, garlic and shallots. It was nice but nothing all that special. I guess it's made to accompany the rice so you don't want to the rice to over power the meats.
If you've never been to teppanyaki before, I'd highly recommend Teppanyaki Inn. It's a very sophisticated dining environment so you could potentially do first or second dates here. Plus, the don't throw food at you and make you catch it with your bowl, which I know some places do so that's a plus if you don't like that kind of experience.
If you've been to any other teppanyaki places, do share!