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Abeno

47 Museum Street, London, WC1A 1LY, United Kingdom

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This restaurant, just yards from The British Museum, opened in 1999. It specialises in okonomiyaki, the Japanese savoury pancake cooked on a large steel hot-plate. There are two main styles of this dish: Kansai and Hiroshima. The Kansai version (common in Osaka and nearby) is the version made here, whereby all the ingredients are mixed up together at the outset and cooked together. In the Hiroshima version the ingredients are introduced in layers on to a grilled pancake rather than mixed together. The restaurant now has an additional outlet near Leicester Square, called “Abeno Too”. 

The menu offers a wide range of toppings for the pancakes, and there are other dishes available too, though for example the noodles are bought-in rather than made in the kitchen. The okonomiyaki ranged in price, depending on the ingredients, mostly from £10.50 to £18.50, with a couple of pricier specials. At lunch a starter or rice, pickles and miso soup are offered for £13.95. You can drink Japanese beer and there is even a short wine list. 

Each table has a built-in central hotplate, and the pancake is made in front of you by your chef/waitress, which is quite fun to watch. When the cooking is complete a series of garnishes are added, in particular some mayonnaise and a savoury barbecue style sauce. The whole thing is very enjoyable to eat and the theatre of watching it made adds a little spectacle to the meal. Whilst I somewhat preferred the okonomiyaki I tried in Japan, this is certainly a respectable rendition.

Our waitress, half Japanese, spoke flawless English and was friendly and chatty. The bill, with water to drink, came to £16 before tip. If you had some alcohol then a more typical price might be £25 or more, but it can seen that this is not an expensive meal.

 

 

Further reviews: 17th Jun 2014

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