Jeux Jeux

3 Belvedere Road, London, SE1 7PB, United Kingdom

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This okonomiyaki restaurant is the casual sister of Hannah, and is next door. Okonomiyaki is a savoury pancake dish cooked on a hot plate (a teppan). There are various styles of this dish but it is particularly popular in Hiroshima and Osaka. A buckwheat pancake is loaded up with cabbage, spring onion, beansprouts, yakisoba noodles, red ginger and a fried egg. There may additionally be prawns, pork, beef or chicken added. This is all topped with a barbecue style okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise. The history of the dish is somewhat lost in the mists of time, but the word okonomiyaki (“yaki” is grilled and okonomi is “as you like”) started to appear in the 1930s in Japan.

It is pretty much a meal in itself, though the restaurant also offers a few starters, such as a very enjoyable deep-fried chicken (£8), served simply with some salad (13/20). The Hiroshima original version of the okonomiyaki was priced at £20, this containing some pork, prawn and squid in addition to the core ingredients of cabbage, noodles and pancake. This was cooked in front of me on the teppan, and it was fun to see the chefs at work. Okonomiyaki is a hearty dish and a long way from fine dining, but the barbecue style sauce was tasty and the pancake well made, the ingredients cooked properly and there was even a nice presentation flourish. This was thoroughly enjoyable (13/20).

The chefs were happy to chat and explain things to the uninitiated, and the bill came to just £18 per person. If you had a starter, pancake and a dessert then a more typical bill might come to around £35 or so with perhaps a beer to drink (I had water today). There was a selection of sake available also. This was a fun lunch and quite a contrast from the much grander kaiseki style of dining at Hannah next door.

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