London is hardly short of good Japanese restaurants, but this branch of global teppanyaki chain Benihana brings something different to the table, with its food meets theatre approach. Found amid the touristy buzz of Piccadilly Circus, Benihana’s dining room is large and minimalist, decked out with wooden tables and chairs, while striking murals splashed across the walls add some colour.
Of course, the main spectacle your eyes are drawn to here is that of the cooking itself, with diners able to watch red-toqued chefs up close and personal as they slice, dice, sizzle, ignite and possibly even juggle their way through crowd-pleasing renditions of Japanese standards. Benihana Piccadilly opens daily for lunch from midday, with guests able to choose between quick and easy lunches of sushi and sashimi, or if they have a bit more time to spare, a longer traditional menu which encompasses the likes of chicken, salmon and prawns all cooked in front of you on the hibachi grill.
Come dinner time, it’s all about long and entertaining evenings with friends (Benihana’ set up makes it perfect for group dinners, while families are welcome too thanks to a dedicated children’s menu). You can kick start your meal with small plates such as chicken gyoza or spring rolls served with a sweet chilli sauce, before moving on to your choice of sushi rolls, with options to choose from including California rolls and prawn tempura rolls. After that, move on to the luxe likes of Wagyu beef and miso black cod, and pad out your meal with side orders of fresh spinach, spicy prawns or garlic chicken rice.
To finish up, tuck into Japanese desserts such as black sesame ice cream, banana tempura or gluten-free cheesecake. To wash it all down, take your pick of Benihana’s wines, beers or specialty cocktails.