May 22, 2008

Thanks to a dinner party hosted by our friends Chris and Miwako, we discovered this top ‘new’ (it’s been around for 400 years apparently) food in Sydney. It’s Japanese of course and means something like ‘whatever you like’. Whatever you like is mixed with eggs and cabbage and various other things and then cooked, sort of like a big thick pancake, on a hotplate and decorated in the cutest way with saucy spirals (somehow I doubt that mayonnaise is a 400 year old Japanese staple but what do I know?) and bonito flakes that wave at you and look like they’re still alive. And now we have found our new regular restaurant in London – Abeno.

It’s not primarily for the food that we loved Abeno, although it was very good – it’s the theatre of the whole thing. You are at a table with your very own hotplate, you order from a menu with many, many choices on it, then the (very cute) waiter/chef/cleaner-upperer brings all the ingredients to the table, mixes them, cooks them on the hotplate and serves them to you. It’s all very top fun to watch and induced us to leave an extra big tip because the cuties were working so hard..

Kiso mix – mushroom, lotus root and cheese (!), and spicy naniwa – kimchee mostly. One side cooked…

Flip, lid on…

decorated and ready to eat

Surprisingly, the kiso mix was the better of the two (we really only ordered it for novelty) – in some strange alchemical way the mushrooms, cheese and lotus turned into a tangy, crunchy yumminess.

And the best thing of all – we drank sake from a box! The box was filled way past overflowing -like a sake waterfall – to indicate the host’s generosity apparently. The funnest drink experience ever. It took me ages to screw up the courage to actually drink from said box in case there was some special Japanese way of doing it, but after consultation with Jamesy we decided that there was really only one thing to do…


We had so much fun Jamesy even came up with a haiku:

London sake spring

okonomiyaki here

but first we must drink



  1. I once had a dish at Rise in Kings X that was a tomato stuffed with foie gras (it tasted better than it sounds) and sprinkled with bonito shreds. The whole thing is brought piping hot to the table and disturbingly the bonito shreds writhe around like little maggots on the top of the tomato.

    MOST disconcerting. But yummy.

    I’m going to start serving sake from a box from now on. But I only have shoeboxes. Overkill, do you think?

  2. babies steal my sleep
    i read blogs through bleary eyes
    dream of sake spring

  3. Poetry all round! Wow! Interesting blog.

  4. Ooh Rev the shoeboxes will go very well with those giant sake bottles!

    Twins are super cute
    I wish I could see photos
    Update your blog soon?

    And then I’ll let you sleep!

    Silly sporadic about-nothing-in-particular blog…

  5. A wooden vessel
    with sake sea. God bless her
    and all who sail her.

  6. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Unsurpassable

  7. Why thank you Unsurpassable!

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