Thursday, 6 December 2012

Teppan, Bangalore

‘Teppan’ happens to be the most recent offering from Oriental Cuisines Pvt. Ltd to Bangalore’s food scene. It is a Japanese restaurant specializing in serving food off the Teppanyaki grill. With just a couple of other Japanese restaurants in Bangalore, Teppan has been on my list of restaurants to visit since its launch in Bangalore which is not quite long ago. Who knew; my visit to this restaurant would be by invitation from Burrp who had organized a chef’s table dinner at ‘Teppan’. Having reached a little in advance (as intended), I was able to capture the beautiful table setting around the Teppanyaki grill which instantly succeeded in setting the mood for the rest of the evening. 

It was not long before the rest of the diners arrived and Teppan set the ball rolling with an introduction to the menu cards. Specifically made for this dinner were 2 leaflets rolled up, tied with ribbons and placed before us. Yellow ribbon was the vegetarian menu listing the 5 courses that would be served and red ribbon listed the 5 course meal designed for the non-vegetarians. We were 9 diners seated around the Teppanyaki counter and un/fortunately not one of us opted for a vegetarian meal. On second thoughts, it is hard to imagine vegetarian; rather only vegetarian food in Japanese cuisine. 

What we ate:
Our 5 course meal began with a welcome drink which was an orange and pineapple based mocktail. It was nice and quite refreshing. As we sipped through our drink and indulged in a conversation with each other; our first course arrived and Tori salad it was. This salad was made with finely shredded chicken, iceberg lettuce, Miso – Mayo dressing and a topping off crushed tempura batter. The salad got its creaminess and mild flavoring from the Miso-Mayo dressing and the freshness and crunchiness coming from both the lettuce and the tempura batter. Must say, we started off on a good note and only looked forward for more that was to come.

The next to arrive were starters, Yaki Tori – Grilled Chicken on skewers and soon followed by sushi. Yaki Tori coming off the grill was served hot, well cooked and flavorful with sweetness hitting the palate first followed by the mild flavoring from soy sauce and other seasonings. This dish had a wonderful glaze and was very easy on the palate.

The other starter was sushi - Tuna Buttera Maki – layers of sushi, sea weed and Tuna fish. This came along with soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger on the side. Before digging into the sushi; wasabi was further broken down into really small pieces and mixed with the soy sauce. Caution! Wasabi gives a very strong flavor. Use desired amounts that suit your palate. Now that I was all set; without wasting any time, I devoured the bite sized pieces by dipping it in the wasabi-soy sauce mixture. To a lot of people; eating sushi might seem like an adventure – an adventure of supposedly eating raw sea food. It is exactly how I felt when I tried Sushi for the first time and took a couple of attempts to be really adapted to the taste. 

In time for the main course, we were joined by Chef June who stood behind the teppanyaki grill and sharpened his knife as he introduced himself. “Hello everyone, you know the month that comes before July? Exactly, June – that’s my name.” Our main course included assorted grilled veggies in oriental sauce, sea bass fish, chicken teriyaki and chicken and egg fried rice. This was also the order in which Chef June prepared the dishes live and served it piping hot right off the teppanyaki grill.

As we were served grilled veggies in oriental sauce, Miso soup arrived. Yes, apparently the soup was served along with the main course. It for sure was not meant to be this way. Miso soup; had a strong flavor of soy beans and it personally did not appeal to me, I have never been able to build a taste soya beans in particular. Apparently, it did not appeal to anyone on our table.  Assorted grilled veggies in oriental sauce were just fine but didn’t excite my taste bud. 

I’d heard Japanese cooking methods are very different from most other cuisines in terms of marinating the meats. At this dinner, I got to see it for myself; thanks to Teppanyaki – Japanese style of live cooking. While in most other cuisines, the meat is marinated both before and/or while cooking. Here, the meat was almost cooked and then married with the sauces and seasoning before being allowed to cook a little further. 

That’s exactly how the sea bass and Chicken Teriyaki were prepared. Sea bass was pan fried in a mixture of soy sauce, mirin, cooking sake, lemon-butter-garlic sauce and seasoning while chicken Teriyaki involved the use of Soy sauce, mirin and sugar as some of the ingredients. Sea bass was too pungent in flavor due to an overdose of soy sauce. This not only made the dish pungent but also killed the flavor of the sea bass and made the dish taste too salty. If I had to describe this dish in the words of Chef June, it would be - ‘A Japanese Mistake’.

Chicken Teriyaki had a very mild sweet flavor. The dish had the right balance of flavors with a nice glaze of the sauce on the chicken. After serving this, Chef June got busy entertaining us with his cooking maneuvers in the process of getting the Chicken and egg fried rice ready for us. This was prepared with sticky rice and was downed to the last morsel in the company of chicken Teriyaki.

Green tea was served towards the end of our main course and soon followed by desserts. Desserts included fruit tart, vanilla ice cream and brownie. None of these were Japanese desserts. A Japanese touch could have been introduced by just serving a green tea or wasabi flavored ice cream instead of the vanilla flavor. In all, this final course was a disappointment for the lack of authenticity.

Chef’s cooking maneuvers were a treat to the eyes. Right from the fire flare to start with to the pumping heart beat made from chicken fried rice to finish. In between filled with juggling acts with eggs, cracking it in the air with a knife, drawing a heart on the Teppanyaki, painting it yellow with the egg yolks to connecting with the diners by writing the name of one of the diners with the egg.  The service was otherwise fine. Feedback on the food was warranted and well received by both the chef and the restaurant management. 

Japanese cuisine as a whole is very mild in its flavoring and this comes from the use of soy sauce, cooking sake or mirin. The food does not really involve the use of spices and can taste bland at most instances. Given this, I must say my dining experience was a mixed bag for; miso soup was personally something I did not like due to my non-preference for soya beans while the sea bass fish was a misbalance in flavoring due to excessive use of soy sauce. The desserts were just quite ordinary and lacked authenticity. Apart from this, the salad, yaki tori, chicken teriyaki and chicken and egg fried rice were quite nice but for me; it was sushi that stole the show. 

In all, in spite of its own hits and misses, I had a good time devouring the Japanese fare and I definitely recommend this Japanese restaurant. 

Quick Tips:
Do not get too experimental with Japanese food the very first time. I recommend you try out some standard fare like yaki tori, tempura prawns, chicken teriyaki, fried rice,  or noodles (udon) to name a few. 

Japanese cuisine as a whole is very mild in its flavoring and this comes from the use of soy sauce, cooking sake or mirin. Most of the times, one tends to gradually develop a taste for Japanese food. 

Sushi refers to a form of vinegar rice. Sushi is not all about raw fish. In fact, raw fish is an ingredient only in certain types of sushi.

Teppan serves both a la carte and set menus. A la carte can be enjoyed at regular tables while, set menus are usually served around the teppanyaki grill.

Go for: Authentic Japanese food, a teppanyaki experience, sushi and sashimi.

Address: 3rd Floor, 1/3, Ulsoor Road, Bangalore
Phone Number: 080 - 32569029


  1. Good review, didn't like the line before the Quick Tips section. Could have summarized the place better in one line. Good point on the Sushi not all about being raw fish -- probably could have made it part of the review as I am sure a lot of people have this misconception. Had tried veg sushi about 15 months ago and dipped it in either wasabi or a sauce or a combination of it and my brain's nerves got electrocuted individually but all at the same time! Craziest thing ever!!!

    1. Thanks buddy for the feedback... Point noted..

      LOL.. Electrocuted?? Possibly a lot of wasabi?