Teppanyaki and More: Beyond Sushi #3

Trying to look beyond  the sushi on Harima's menu

Trying to look beyond the sushi on Harima's menu

So Mr. Small won his first inter-school quiz contest on Thursday – and requested a celebratory dinner for Saturday evening. Now do my kids want to eat Happy Meals at Mickey D’s? Of course not (I’d disown them if they did). KFC? Nah. Erroneously assuming that his parents stash piles of money under the mattress, he wondered whether we could fly back to Bangkok to eat some of the delicious street food we’d sampled there.

As he watched us convulse (me in laughter, The Spouse in pain), he swiftly changed tack and suggested something closer to home: Dahlia, the unpretentious Japanese eatery on Church Street. Which, we found to our distress, has closed. For good.

On to Harima, then.

Boldly Going Where No Sushi-Lover Has Gone Before

In the spirit of going beyond sushi (see adventures #1 and #2 in this series), we order a misoshiru soup, butaniku no shoga yaki, and seafood teppanyaki.

Miso soup

Miso soup

Miso shiru (miso – fermented soy beans; shiru – soup) is the most basic Japanese soup, made from a light stock of bonito (a kind of dried fish) shavings and kelp, seasoned with miso, and containing tofu and seaweed. It’s very hard to mess this up, and thankfully, Harima doesn’t. It’s hearty and warm and good, and perfect for the cooler weather Bangalore’s been seeing over the last couple of days.

Butaniku Shogayaki

Butaniku Shogayaki

Translated roughly, butaniku means “pig meat”; shoga means “ginger” and yaki, of course, means “grilled”.  While Harima’s pork shogayaki was tasty, with thinly sliced pork grilled in a light, tangy, teriyaki-reminiscent glaze, there didn’t seem to be a hint of ginger in the mix. The butaniku is definitely yaki-ed, but hey, where’s the shoga? Here’s a recipe you might want to try.

The portion was more than generous, though, with the four of us each being able to get an ample quantity. The shredded cabbage with which it’s traditionally served in Bento boxes took away some of the saltiness and added a nice fresh flavor and some crunch.

Teppanyaki: Iron Plate Grill

Our seafood teppanyakis arrived next. In Japan, teppan refers to an “iron plate” (indeed, our seafood arrived still sizzling, on a round, cast-iron plate of the kind we’re used to seeing “grilled sizzlers” being served on), and is traditionally grilled on a heated, flat, iron griddle.

Because this form of cooking enhances the intrinsic flavors of the meats and vegetables being grilled, light seasonings, super fresh ingredients and grill plate that’s hot enough to sear them quickly are the hallmarks of a great teppanyaki meal. I’d have preferred to actually see the food being cooked, but that isn’t an option at Harima.

Each teppanyaki portion arrives containing onion rings, thinly sliced carrots, and a generous two pieces each of:

Get it off the plate and into your stomach REAL quick!

Get it off the plate and into your stomach REAL quick!

  • pink salmon
  • large prawn
  • scallop
  • calamari
  • shiitake mushroom
  • white-meat fish (my guess would be snapper)

Now the thing with any grilled meat or vegetable is to get it off the hot grill plate quickly, to stop the cooking process. This is especially true of seafood.

Giant Vacuum Cleaner and I manage to do this, and find that the scallops, the prawn, the pink salmon, and the calamari are perfect – tender, moist, and flavorful. A quick dip in the accompanying sauce is all the seasoning it needs. The shiitakes are smoky and juicy too. By the time I get to the white fish, though, it has overcooked itself on the griddle – its edges have burnt. The Spouse and Mr. Small have even less luck – in waiting for it to “cool down a bit”, they neglect their teppanyaki so long that everything overcooks.

Over the years, teppanyaki-style dining has evolved into a form of performing art involving a dexterous display from a specialty chef. Watching the chef has become as much part of the teppanyaki experience as eating the food. Sadly, you can’t experience this eye-popping combination of jugglery and culinary skill anywhere in Bangalore – or at least, not to my knowledge.

Till someone “imports” a teppanyaki wizard, enjoy this video (it’s long, but definitely watch up until the first 2:30 minutes… if you’re like me, you won’t be able to stop gaping after that!):

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6 thoughts on “Teppanyaki and More: Beyond Sushi #3

    • Vasu: Thanks for dropping by 🙂 Zen is very expensive, but they do a Sunday brunch buffet thing that combines dim sum and sushi. Still expensive, but at least you get your fill!

      Note to all: Teppanyaki is available at several places… I know for example that Ginseng at the Royal Orchid used to offer teppanyaki dishes, and as the above two readers have pointed out, so do Shiro and Zen. However, I don’t think anyone offers the kind of live showmanship teppanyaki diner experience as seen in the vid above. If anyone comes across this kinda thing – anywhere in India – do share your video by posting on The FTB Blog’s Facebook page, or just email it to me!

  1. had been to the Teppanyaki Restaurant at Singapore recently..the dishes were good but no showmanship skill like the one seen in the video above!!! Sometime ago the guy making rotis at roomali in church st used to display amazing skill in tossing rotis!!

    • One of my earliest food memories is of the roomali chef at the West End flipping, spinning, and tossing rotis with flair. I can flip an omelet pretty darn well, but those roomali dudes are real cool!

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