Fuji Teppan-Yaki, probably the most entertaining Japanese restaurant in Auckland
I thought before I would not do a video post well I can’t help it as this restaurant really entertained the hell out of me and I want to share my experience to you guys, sorry there are no food photos today and for the video being so dark and grainy I did not have the proper gear when we dined in this Japanese restaurant and this was just taken from a camera phone. So the restaurant mentioned in this post is Fuji Teppan-Yaki Cafe & Restaurant it is a small cafe restaurant located at 282 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby 1011, New Zealand, and for those who haven’t been to Auckland well Ponsonby is the hippest strip in Auckland, it offers a diverse set of dining and shopping establishments. It has a lot of good restaurants and cafes, art galleries, up-market shops and nightclubs and Fuji Teppan-Yaki is one of them situated at the near the end of Ponsonby road going to College Hill. All I can say is that the minute I entered the restaurant I feel like I was warped to Japan, it so Japanese which means its small (3 tables only), cramped (seats 8 in a table), lots of things to look at (from sakes bottles, gongs, and Japanese word with English translations written in bamboo) and you feel at home. It’s not your typical restaurant where you see everything uniform and branded accordingly, this place is dark, every setting on each table is different and there is no uniformity on the design which is good as it looks more authentic and cosy. Staff is so friendly and very accommodating, they always make sure if there is a chance they utter the words “Domoarigatogozaimashita” which means thank you very much.
Well that’s enough on how it looks like inside, what’s more interesting is the chef and the food. The chef is more of the centre of attraction here rather than the food (don’t get me wrong food here is good as well), all of his moves is like a busker who performs some acrobatic moves on the street, it is entertaining from start to finish, I’ve been to some teppanyaki restaurants before but there is nothing like this at least for me just look at the five parts of the video embedded, I also knew from my friend (after showing him this video) who is a chef that this acrobatic moves and entertainment is practiced in teppanyaki restaurants in other countries, but this is the first time I saw one. So what does he actually do? First he balances two eggs on the end of the big griddle which he will be using later, he then grabs it with his spatula and throws it on the air (Part 1 video 0:52) catching it with the sharp side which cuts it in half leaving the shell hanging and eggs on the hot griddle. Once the egg cooks he then shapes it into a long log and cuts it really fast and dumping it into the rice in the process (Part 1 Video 1:36). Dining in there is interactive as well as everyone will have their participation like catching cooked scrambled eggs using your mouth from his spatula (Part 2 Video 3:40) , catching flipping bowls of rice by hand (Part 4 Video 0:20) and even catching rice not in bowls to you bowls (Part 4 Video 0:10). While doing this he tells all sorts of jokes related to what he is doing and even sing (Part 3 Video 1:03) with audience participation as well (too bad I only captured one song).
For the food, price is a bit higher compared to others but I guess that’s the premium you pay for the entertainment you get (my friend also told me this are one of the highest paid chefs), I was even so concentrated on what the chef was doing so I let him finish his show before I ate. The price for the teppanyaki set is ranging from $33 to $39 (if I remember correctly), you have an option of choosing 2 meats which can be a combination of beef, chicken, scallops, prawns and salmon, it is then served with fried rice, vegetables, a salad and miso soup. The food was phenomenal and what I liked most were the prawns (Part 1 Video 4:00) and miso soup. The prawns is a simple flash fried dish topped with sauces the chef calls as yum yum sauce (which I don’t know what it’s made out of, but definitely there will be a soy sauce in there) and yum yum yum sauce (which I guess is a Japanese mayonnaise). The miso soup was excellent as well and it does not taste like the normal miso soup at all, for me it tasted like a mixture of miso, creamed corn and dashi but if I had to rate both prawn and soup dishes that would be 10 of 10 for me. Chicken (Part 2 Video 6:50) was also good and cooked perfectly, it was so tender and delicate in flavour unlike normal teppanyaki where it is drenched with lots of garlic, I can rate this at 9 out of 10. The salad was superb as well, it consists of different greens and thinly sliced cabbage this is also around 9 out of 10. For the fried rice and vegetables well it’s not as par as the meats, soup and salad but they do taste above average. For the dessert I got a deep fried tempura banana with Kahlua ice cream ($13), it was presented really well and this too will be above average. If you’re not into teppanyaki or want more variation they also serve sushi and sashimi which I haven’t tried, will definitely try this next time.
Overall food is excellent and entertainment value very remarkable and highly recommend this to everyone, I would be glad to go back again here. So if you are in Auckland region do try this out if you want a really good dining experience where you will be smiling when you go out of the restaurant because of good food, good entertainment and good service.