Okonomiyaki, Abeno & Abeno Too
It has been a bit quiet on the blog front, apologies, I’ve had a busy couple of weeks. I’ve eaten out a couple of times so there’s loads to write about but there’s just never enough time! How London is that? I’ve been cooking too, so will blog about those bits and pieces over the next short while.
To start, I’d like to chatter a bit about eating Monjayaki in Tokyo and Okonmiyaki in London. The food in Tokyo is wonderful and varied, I loved it from a culinary (and many other) perspective(s) and can’t wait to go back, I hope within the year for a holiday. I had a list of things to try, I think I’ve mentioned it here before! One of the things on that list was monjayaki, a tokyo version of okonomiyaki which I’ve never been able to try in London. Okonomiyaki is frequently described as a japanese pancake or pizza and is made from eggs, flour, water and cabbage with anything else thrown in. The literal translation according to Wikipedia is: Okonomi means “what you like” or “what you want”, and yaki means “grilled” or “cooked”. Monjayaki is a more specific specialty of the Kantō region, and is made with more liquid than okonomiyaki – quite alot of very flavoursome dashi is used. The cabbage is finely sliced and mixed with the eggs, dashi and flour. To this is added pretty much anything you want, we had one made with cod roe and it was absolutely divine.
A very kindly work colleague promised to take me to his favourite place for monjayaki in Tokyo. For the life of me, I can’t remember the name of it which is a shame as I’d love to pass it on, I’ll see if I can find out! We had three dishes there, all cooked on the teppan – monjayaki, omsoba & yakisoba. It was all incredibly delicious, the monjayaki was made with cod roe primarily and like a very fluid omelette, the yakisoba was composed of beef, noodles and octopus and the omsoba of mixed seafood and bacon wrapped in an extremely light egg pancake/omelette. It was all cooked on the teppan in front of us and once complete we were encouraged to dig in with our little spatulas. The fish was so fresh and delicate and the meat robust, a great mix of flavours. And I’ll continue to depress you by telling you how much it cost – approximately £5-7 a dish.
So, on my return to London I was keen to seek it out. I had been at Abeno previously so thought I’d try Abeno Too in Leicester Square. Such was my craving I went twice recently. The food is good but it just doesn’t compare with my experience in Japan. The portions are smaller and the food much pricier. Not everything is cooked on the teppan in front of you, only the okonomiyaki itself which is disappointing. The service is good, however, and I am sure I’ll go back as, to my knowledge it’s the only place you can get okonomiyaki in London and it is much better than places like Wagamamas for yakisoba.
So, what did we have? Sapporo mix okonomiyaki – salmon, squid, prawn & corn with egg and dough, spring onions, ginger and morsels of “tempura” batter; pork om-soba – pork noodles wrapped in a thin omelette & prawn yaki-soba – fried noodles with prawns.
Snaps of Abeno Too below. If anyone has any recommendations I would be very keen to hear them! :)
Abeno: 47 Museum Street, WC1A 1LY, London
Abeno Too: 17-18 Great Newport St, WC2H 7JE, London