The BIG 3-0

77 King’s Road, SW3 4NX

A 30th Anniversary is a pretty big deal…

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Whether its 30 years of marriage, turning 30 (breath!) or celebrating your restaurant being open for 30 years – it is definitely something to be celebrated.

Benihana will be celebrating it’s 30th anniversary in London this year which is an achievement in itself in this day and age where restaurants new and old, open and close on a weekly basis.

So Benihana what’s your secret? We headed to their Chelsea restaurant to find out what’s kept this legend alive…

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Something that has to be key to Benihana’s success is the fact that every table has its own personal teppanyaki chef who theatrically prepares, chops and prances in front of you whilst cracking jokes to get the whole table laughing.

But i’m getting ahead of myself – we obviously kicked things off with some starters…

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Signature Onion Soup a la Benihana which is left to brew for 8 hours before being served, surprisingly delicious with a real meaty depth to the broth…

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Salad with a home made ginger dressing, the recipe of which has been used since Benihana first opened…still pondering how we could have made this salad look pretty! Suggestions?

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The salad was quickly forgotten at the arrival of our Salmon and Tuna Nigiri – fresh tasting with good quality fish clearly being used.

Now you must be thinking – why are they waffling on about salads and soups, where are the fireworks?! We were wondering the exact same thing when Chef Christopher wheeled his station over to us and we sat back prepared to be amazed…

 

Chef Christopher clearly knew what he was doing and had the knife-skills to boot – skillfully slicing and de-tailing our prawn appetisers at breakneck speed before cleverly flipping the unwanted tails into the top of his chef hat – at which the table erupted into applause.

My thoughts turned to our kitchen at home but my dreams of learning such skills were quickly dashed as I remembered the bluntness of our knife set and the clumsiness of my housemate…let’s leave it to the professionals.

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After that there was no stopping Chef Chris, he was soon turning stacked onions rings into explosive onion volcanoes…

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The expression if you can’t handle the heat get out the kitchen sprung to mind at this very moment…

The onions themselves were perfectly soft with a subtle smokiness to them, not a hint of char which is surprising seeing the fact they were basically on fire 2 minutes before!

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Next came the famous Hibachi Rice which was bought together as if by magic in front of you, from some chopped up veg and a cracked egg into a mound of steaming, sesame seed coated rice topped with shiny melting butter (or Japanese Ice Cream as Christopher joked) within no time.

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Chef then arranged the rice into a heart shape and spelt out out I heart you – something which some people may think is gimmicky – but clearly not me as the thought to take a photo didn’t even cross my mind…totally enthralled!

What made Christopher even more fantastic was the fact that his humour was appropriate for all ages and you could laugh whether you were 5 or 55.

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We spoilt for choice with our main courses, a smorgasbord of Black Cod with Miso Sauce, Teriyaki Chicken and Aged Filet Mignon – could seriously get used to this.

Served with oodles of Japanese spaghetti (beansprouts!)

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The chicken was fantastic – just shows what you can do with the right flavourings (and cheffing skills) to something so simple as a chicken breast.

The cod was our least favourite even though it was the dish we were most excited for, it tasted incredibly fishy for cod but the Filet Mignon more than made up for it.

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Cooked to perfection…we opted for medium rare and were extremely satisfied with how it was done. The term “melt in your mouth” gets flung around way too often these days but do you know what? – it really was!

We were stuffed and kindly declined the kind offer of Ice Cream Tempura even though it sounded magnifique, we could barely speak and we were regretting wearing such tight-fitting trousers but it was so worth it!

So there you have it, Benihana. The food was delicious, ok admittedly not the best tasting food you’ll find in London but the way its cooked in front of you with such flair and excitement (even if it is slightly gimmicky) its hard not to be impressed. We certainly were…

The Burp Blog’s Verdict: Four out of Five Forks

Price: We dined as guest of the restaurant

The Burp’s Top Tip: Skip the starters and head straight to the mains.

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