Benihana – Feel the Flames

It’s not always easy making friends as an adult but I think I’m getting there. I met this young woman, Dami, at an event, sometime last year just after a monumental shift in my life and today we’re texting each other concert venues and movies to watch. So yay!

As part of our “catch-ups” we meet every now and then and we get to chat about all the good and bad stuff. Interestingly, I’ve noticed I leave our meetings feeling very refreshed and that is a very good thing.

We would be meeting at Benihana and I arrived a few minutes after her as I’d braved the tube from London Bridge to Bank. Boy let me tell ya’ll!! What. A. Trip. London eh.

I had the delightful pleasure to my horror of taking the tube since for the strangest reason I could not find bus stop 17. Was it the rain pouring down on me with no umbrella that obscured my vision? I have no idea but time was of the essence. And why did I not have an umbrella? Amidst the swirl of corona and the creative methods people now use to protect themselves, I wasn’t too keen on taking that route but I guess I did. Yes! I zombied my way out of that maze of a station and had to find the preferred exit 9 which was an easy feat but not a great one for people with an ounce of claustrophobia.

Menu ( both wine) 🤔

Anyways, I birthed my way out of the station to fresh air that was quickly followed by the fumes from cars and buses riding past. From one thing to the other but better the surface than that underground maze.

St Paul’s Cathedral

Walking past St Paul’s, a pang of nostalgia hit me. I’d been here before… well during the day, in the summer mostly so taking in this sight at night made me pause for a photo.

St Paul’s at night

I walked past that and found my way eventually. Benihana was right in front of me and I have to say, I’d been pretty excited about today. I’d looked them up and it said they had theatrical chefs so that was something to look forward to as well.

I met D and boy was I happy to see her. She looked well. We were seated by one of the staff at reception who seemed kind and was polite. We joined a couple who were already seated at the large table of 8 we would be eating from and waved at them. Another couple joined us and a single person followed suit subsequently. We were already in the heat of conversation talking much about everything.

While our orders were taken, somehow I was under the impression I’d be having a traditional Japanese meal. Setting and all. Wonder what gave me that idea. We had a theatrical meal that’s for sure.

Miso soup

We kicked things off with broths, I think according to our meal selections. I selected a sirloin steak and Dami had the shrimp dish. Both from the traditional side of the menu. Our broth had bits of mushroom and spring onions in there and it felt heartily warm. We were slurping away and taking turns bashing the work week we’d had. We appreciate what we do though – extremely.

Our waiter came around shortly, picked up our dishes and placed a salad with a ginger dressing in-front of us.

House salad

I can tell you D was not impressed. It actually tasted better than it looks.

Our chef pulled his trolley over, introduced himself, asked about allergies and proceeded to clean the slate he’d cook on. He beckoned us to get our cameras ready which I thought was pretty cool of him. Cameras ready in slow mo and I got the video below;

Recipe for charred brows

He pretty much cooked all our meals together. I tasted the famous wagyu or Kobe beef every one goes “ooh” and “ahh” over. One of the ladies was kind enough to ask us to try some as she had a lot on her plate. It was soft but I, personally, wasn’t that impressed. I thought it could’ve done with a bit more seasoning. Fast forward to my sirloin steak for which I painstakingly used my fingers and palm to determine how rare I wanted my meat.

It got cooked to the core. I watched the pink flesh disappear. Hah! Dami thought that was fine but could not understand my inclination to raw meat… since I mentioned I like a tartare every now an then. I think telling her that made her have a “I’m-not-sure-how-I-feel-about-you” look on her face. That was too funny. I won’t try to convert her though.

Overall we had a lovely evening that I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed. Having done that though, I’m keen to try something else with her and maybe – just maybe the next stop would be actual theatrics.

Here’s my tale of the heat and a budding friendship on a cold rainy day in London.

For the ‘gram

Thanks for stopping by.

Let me know if you’ve been to Benihana and what you thought of it.

Xoxo CC

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