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#193 Abeno

March 8, 2011

Okonomiyaki - because 'Japanese bubble and squeak omelettes' sounds a bit dull.

So late on Sunday night with 3 friends, exhausted by Samba, we decided to try no 585 in Time Outs ‘1001 Things to do in London’. This book is one of a couple we have to help guide us through our quest – and Abeno piqued our fancy as a Japanese restaurant with a difference, with its main dish being okonomiyaki – a kind of omelette-cum-Mongolian BBQ. I have never actually been to a Mongolian BBQ – so it’s a kind of a guess that that’s what its like – and the Time Out description of this as ‘a kind of savoury pancake made from cabbage dough pieces of tempura batter and a choice of vegetables, meat or fish’ might be more helpful.
So as I was saying, late on a Sunday night we made our way to this Bloomsbury restaurant and were seated round a giant hotplate for a table where the okonomiyaki are prepared in front of you – hence the reference to a Mongolian BBQ. But really if we hadn’t been living in the sticks for the last few years, we would – like you probably are – be familiar with the term ‘teppan’ and appear far more sophisticated.
Anyway, first a little of the batter carefully was moulded on the hotplate, then the filling was delicately fried and added, then more batter on top and then painstakingly formed and turned to ensure even cooking. And

Fish flakes, Japanese mayonnaise and magical okonomiyaki sauce made for a surprisingly flavourful combination.

we were all were absolutely mesmerised by this man making this on the hotplate in front of us – especially as he tried to remember which utensils were for the veggie dishes. Sadly this hampered conversation somewhat – but was strangely relaxing, and just right for a Sunday night.
Unfortunately though for us incredibly starving people, the okonomiyaki-ing itself was a fairly time consuming process. And while these unusual pancakes were rather delicious and maybe it was just because we were a couple of worn out urban spree-ers out late on a Sunday night – but really, it seemed a bit of a palava for a fry up, albeit with a Japanese twist. Rock on number 119 – roller-skiing in Hyde Park. We’ll need it to work off all the calories…

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