Open kitchens are all the rage in Bangkok these days, but when it comes to the theatrics of interactive dining, the Japanese have long been ahead of the game with teppanyaki, a traditional Japanese iron griddle cooking akin to a theatrical performance, with skillful chefs slicing steaks, throwing eggs and flipping utensils in front of your eyes.
Benihana at Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort, a longstanding teppanyaki restaurant brand, has recently hopped on the the weekend brunch bandwagon to offer, for the first time in Bangkok, an all-you-can-eat teppanyaki weekend brunch that promises to delight diners of all ages.
Located amongst lush greenery of Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort alongside the Chao Phraya river, Benihana offers 15 counter-style seats set around the granite teppanyaki grill table. At the entrance, the iconic Japanese torii gate, Japanese amour and taiko drums set a Japanese mood. Step inside, you’ll find a sushi bar where guests can sit and enjoy handcrafted sushi rolls, sashimi and a wide array of Japanese delicacies. The interiors are primarily in a red and black colour scheme, with swanky copper overhead hood-style ventilating system lining up the dining area. The restaurant also houses a display cabinet fully stocked with all kinds of sakes, which can be ordered by the glass or bottle, or used as the base in the Japanese-inspired cocktails on offer.
The weekend brunch is divided into two main sections: the buffet and teppanyaki set. Before embarking on the teppanyaki journey, we started off with the sushi bar to set our palates in the mood with a selection of sashimi, nigiri and the signature sushi rolls. The choices of sushi were quite restrained, but what it lacked in variety, it made up for in quality ingredients. After filling our plates with raw fish, we made our way to the salad bar to explore a buffet spread of cold and hot dishes, including pan-fried vegetable gyoza and chawanmushi, Normandy oysters and cooked white prawn on ice.
The centrepiece of brunch here is, of course, the teppanyaki itself. After a tour of the buffet, we were led to one of the teppanyaki cooking stations to meet our teppanyaki chef, who greeted us by throwing an egg to one of the diners — which, to our relief, was a fake egg. Humour is one of the key ingredients of Benihana’s teppanyaki experience, with a dedicated chef at each table performing a fun-packed culinary show, stimulating your senses with hibachi-style acrobatics as he cooks on the grill. While this is essentially the charm of Benihana, those who’d prefer some space between pan and plate can rest assure that private dining rooms and tables away from the iron griddles are also available to accommodate all diners.
The teppanyaki set features a range of premium ingredients, and some of our favourites were the Kurobuta pork loin, a delectable marbling product of pasture raised and grain fed Berkshire pigs, and the Norwegian salmon, which was cooked to perfection with a a melt-in-your-mouth texture. The chicken breast and Australian tenderloin were equally sumptuous, which were sliced into cubes in between spatula flashing, tongs tossing and dramatic flames. Seafood lovers are in for a treat — the garlicky New Zealand green mussels, accompanied by crunchy grilled vegetables and the satisfying Japanese fried rice cooked with truffle butter. Everything listed on the teppanyaki brunch menu can be ordered unlimitedly, and those looking to indulge can opt for the lavish add-ons, including black tiger prawn, main lobster, foie gras, Australian black angus rib eye, Australian wagyu Tomahawk, and A5 Kyoto beef.
Stomachs bursting, laughter and applause filled the room as the teppanyaki came to an end, but we didn’t forget about the dessert — which we spotted earlier when touring around the buffet spread. The matcha caramel cremeux was especially delightful, and even those who are full would be tantalised at the sight of the irresistible Japanese dessert lineup, displaying pumpkin miso cake, raindrop cherry blossom cake and milk chocolate financier with fresh berries and green tea ice cream.
With the ever-growing slew of weekend brunch offerings in Bangkok, Benihana offers something unique by combining its already well-established teppanyaki concept. Considering the entertainment aspect of teppanyaki and high quality of the ingredients, Benihana is a standout alternative for regular brunch goers who’re bored of the usual staples of Eggs Benedict and avocado toast, as well as families looking for a kids-friendly brunch option to keep the little ones entertained.
Benihana, Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort, 257/1-3 Charoennakorn Road, Thonburi, Bangkok, +662 476 0022
Weekend Brunch Opening Hours: Sat–Sun, noon–3pm
Price: THB 1,500++ per person including Japanese tea, THB 1,900++ per person including free-flow Asahi draft beer and THB 600++ per child aged 6 -12 years.
Noise Level: Mild but unrestrained.