Japanese restaurant

Wasabi Sabi Sheffield review: Tried the Japanese restaurant where my own ‘private chef’ cooked in front of me – Alex Grove

There aren’t many restaurants these days where the chef cooks your food in front of you.

But around the corner from one of Sheffield’s most cosmopolitan roads, a cute and authentic Japanese restaurant gives you the chance to sit down and do just that.

On a sunny Tuesday evening, a friend and I basically had our own private chef cooking in front of us. We had to put down a deposit of £10 each which they ask for no shows and we had to choose a 6pm or 9pm time slot.

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We opted for the latter which allowed an alcoholic drink in the sun beforehand. Considering it was a Tuesday night, I didn’t think our teppanyaki experience was going to be very busy – and I was right. We walked in and quickly realized it would be just us – but that wasn’t a problem and actually worked in our favour.

After opting for a bottle of pinot grigio, we looked at the menu from which we could choose from around six menus. It all looked incredibly tasty – although a bit pricey.

It’s like having your own personal chef for the evening!

We both opted for a dish full of meats and our chef, Darius, started by lighting a huge flame on his iron griddle and cooking our chicken and lamb entrees for us while we sipped our entree vegetable soup. and I was impressed to see him cook for us.

There was no real theatrics to the starters, but the meats were cooked to perfection and were quite filling considering we had more to come. They came with a side of salad and a pickled ginger palate cleanser to have between courses.

After a short break, Darius came back to cook our main courses – and this time he was ready to have a little fun. He cracked four eggs on the griddle and folded them cleverly enough to make a fried egg roll. Then he cut it into portions using a spatula before throwing them into our mouths. I actually managed to catch three in a row, but I’m ashamed to say that quite a few pieces ended up on the ground. It was hilarious to watch and something neither of us expected to do during a meal at a Japanese restaurant.

Soup starter was lovely

After throwing half of the eggs in our mouths, he used the rest to make egg fried rice before turning his attention to cooking our steaks. We both opted for the medium-rare and, on Darius’ advice, I filmed him lighting the oil in slow motion. It happened in a flash but was incredibly cool as huge flames exploded in front of our faces and lit up the griddle. Wow – not something you experience every day.

After a very unsatisfactory experience with a sirloin steak at another restaurant in Sheffield last week, I was hoping Darius would do this one justice. And he did.

It was very tender, easy to slice and just oozing a bit of blood. Perfect. The steak came with a bowl of egg fried rice and bean sprouts and it was lovely.

The steak was cooked exactly how I wanted it

It would have been nice to have had more vegetables as part of this – peppers and mushrooms, perhaps – but otherwise it was lovely and by the end I was very full.

However, there was still time for another treat as Darius made us pancakes with vanilla ice cream, melon and a slice of orange. It was so soft and flavorful and just light enough after a fairly heavy but tasty meal.

It was a shame the restaurant wasn’t busier but that was out of their control. I was told it gets busier on the weekends and I imagine it would be great fun for a group of people to come in and watch their food being cooked in front of them.

A simple but refreshing dessert – pancake, with vanilla ice cream, melon and a slice of orange

It really is a spectacle and that is the reason behind the somewhat inflated price, along with the experience and the food for this particular menu which cost £33.95 each. It’s not something you would do every week, probably not every month, but it’s definitely the right kind of treat for a special occasion.

I was also sad to read on the website that Wasabi Sabi will be closing next year, so take advantage of it before it’s gone. It is truly a unique dining experience where food and pleasure are perfectly combined.


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