Teppan is one of the few specialty Japanese restaurants in Bangalore, serving a variety of dishes from the Land of the Rising Sun. The restaurant is fairly easy to locate since it is on the second floor of a building on Ulsoor Road that includes 3 other busy restaurants. There’s really not too much in the way of decor here that one could remark upon, they’ve mostly kept it simple and clean..but as we entered the restaurant we were drawn to the communal seating around the Teppanyaki grills. These are large flat top iron griddle-type grills on which all kinds of food can be cooked, not just large cuts of meat. With the promise of dinner fresh and hot off the grill, we settled down to await our meal.
We were at Teppan that night to review the menu for Citibank Restaurant Week India, a popular 10-day event that provides an opportunity for diners to check out some of the best restaurants in their city. Most menus feature a three course set meal at a fairly reasonable heft from the wallet. You can book your table at the participating restaurants in Bangalore here for lunch or dinner, and the menus being served at each restaurant are also helpfully listed on the website so that diners can make an informed selection based on what’s on offer.
The Restaurant Week India menu at Teppan features a salad, appetizer, soup, main course, rice or noodles and dessert. Vegetarians, who might be a trifle wary about dining out at a Japanese specialty restaurant, need not fret since there is a separate vegetarian menu with ample choices. Most of the courses also have options that one can select from, for example you could opt for either a tuna or chicken salad in the non-veg menu.
We started the meal with our bowls of colourful, crunchy salads. The Fresh Tuna Salad was a real winner here, with thin slices of tuna teamed with crisp iceberg and a flavourful ponzu dressing. If you’d rather go the conventional creamy dressing route, the other option is Kurisupi tori salad – a chicken salad with a mayo-based dressing – here thin shreds of chicken had been batter-fried, resulting in it becoming a slightly hard and chewy.
The vegetarian salads were along similar lines in terms of the flavours, with the Miso-mayo dressing based Yaki Yasai Salad and the Tofu salad with sesame dressing.
We enjoyed watching the precise and skillful creation of the maki by the chefs at the open work counter. The seasoned rice, nori or seaweed sheets, fillings, tempura crunch, wasabi, sauces and toppings all layered just so, rolled tight with the help of the bamboo mat and then cut into exactly equal portions..a treat to the eyes.
For the appetizer we’d recommend going with one of the maki. Both the vegetarian and regular maki were good and were accompanied by the traditional sides of soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi paste. The deep-fried starter options are Tori Karaage, a spiced batter-fried chicken or the Vegetable Tempura, both these didn’t really stand out for us flavour-wise though they were adequately crunchy.
Once the house star – Teppanyaki Chef June fired up his grill we lost all interest in the menu and just sat back and watched his lightning fast moves with the knives. Chef kept up an engaging banter all through the meal and the sounds and smells of the hot food had us salivating though we’d already munched our way through the appetizers.
The main course came right off the grill and it was delicious – the vegetables stayed crisp, and the tofu, meat and fish were perfectly cooked and succulent. Chef expertly mixed sauces, chopped and tossed proteins, veggies and noodles, adding generous pats of butter and moving things around on the flat top to ensure that they didn’t overcook. All this went on amidst the rhythmic clanking and acrobatics with knives and metal spatulas, with some fire, smoke and theatrical sizzles thrown in for good measure.
Soy sauce, mirin, cooking sake, hoisin sauce..we quite lost track of what was going into which dish but once the glazed and saucy concoctions were transferred to our plates we couldn’t wait to dig in. Chef also garnished our dishes with generous quantities of crunchy fried garlic, all the while expounding on its healthful properties :)
Also served at this time was Miso shiru – miso soup with tofu and scallions. This had too strong a salty, soy taste for us to appreciate but there was plenty of other good stuff around and we focused our attention there.
The fried rice was the performance of the night. Chef spun, balanced, juggled and tossed eggs and knives. He fished an egg out of his hat, cracked it and drizzled a cupid-style heart, complete with arrows, signing off his creation on the grill in his snazzy style. The rice was as much fun as fried rice should be – every bite full of bits and bobs of scrambled eggs, vegetables, chicken and of course, truckloads of the above mentioned deep-fried garlic!
For the dessert course there is a beautifully arranged buffet and one can pick three items from the creamy concoctions on offer that day. None of these however, have any affiliation with Japanese cuisine and hail from the standard mousse-cake-brownie family.
Overall my companion and I agreed that it was a nice meal and an enjoyable evening. If you choose to visit Teppan for Citibank Restaurant Week India or even otherwise, we’d recommend that you arrive early and grab a seat at the table around the grill to enjoy the lively and interactive Teppanyaki experience. Also, if you are a newbie to Japanese food, the set menu is an easy way to sample a variety of dishes and flavours, and see what you enjoy.
- Meal – Lunch or Dinner
- Valid till – 28th September 2014
- Meal cost – Rs. 900 plus taxes (Comes to about Rs. 1200) per person
- Signature main course dishes are Rs. 200 extra per person
- Drinks – not included but you may order a la carte
- Reservations – Required. Reserve at Citibank Restaurant Week India
- Address – Teppan, 2nd floor, 1/3 Ulsoor Road, Bangalore
- Phone – 080 32569029
- Parking – Valet