Kajiya Teppenyaki: An exciting, showstopping eating experience in Sheffield city centre you have to try - review

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About 10 minutes into my visit to Kajiya Teppenyaki, the Chef Kah Way Tan chopped an omelette into 10 pieces on the hot plate and asked if I was ready.

When we first arrived at the newly-opened restaurant on North Church Street, I was surprised to find the whole operation was just one hot plate and eight chairs around it.

But in charge of this intimate, flaming hot system is one very talented, very hard working chef who is out to make your evening.

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“Catch,” he said, and 3, 2, 1, the chef flicked a piece of omelette off the skillet into the air and right on target at my head.

Kajiya Teppenyaki uses a set menu and an intimate setting to make dinner an easy, showstopping time out.Kajiya Teppenyaki uses a set menu and an intimate setting to make dinner an easy, showstopping time out.
Kajiya Teppenyaki uses a set menu and an intimate setting to make dinner an easy, showstopping time out.

Was I proud of myself when I caught it. I was proud when I caught the next three sent rapid-fire as well. Nicely salted too. But while chewing, I realised my clumsy grabs had nothing to do with it, and it was all the work of our practiced, showstopping man at the hotplate.

The menu was fool proof. Pick from the set menu – they all looked good – and settle in. We both picked the Seafood Delight. My eyes popped soon after – first when he dimmed the lights and set the plate on fire for fun, second when two fresh scollops were sliced and set to sizzling right in front of me.

With just me and my mate in for a 6pm slot, conversation while watching our sides of salmon and garlic fry was as easy as sitting around a campfire. Every set menu comes with a miso soup and a small fresh salad to get things going, and talk was simple with the show in front of us to watch.

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Everything was whisked up in 10 minute intervals or less, just as you were ready for it. First up was two hot scallops with Japanese mayonnaise and salmon roe, all soft as butter. Two fillets of teriyaki salmon followed, draped in fried garlic (I’m of the opinion there is never too much garlic). The egg and veg rice bowl was the platonic ideal – sticky and fresh and salty, not cloying at all and packed into a handsized bowl, and I’ll probably compare every rice bowl I ever make at home to it from now on. Then a generous few handfuls of spicy, crunchy beansprouts. I felt spoiled already, only to then see two steaks slip onto the hotplate and cubed up in front of me. I saved that bowl until last.

Kajiya Teppenyaki, on North Church Street.Kajiya Teppenyaki, on North Church Street.
Kajiya Teppenyaki, on North Church Street.

Somewhere through watching Chef Tan fry up two pancakes, scoop them with ice cream and set them on fire with Cointreau I realised I’ve never had an eating experience like I did at Kajiya, and never expected the personal, hand-crafted care over the hour I was there.

As we ate, a man came off the street and ordered something involving a pile of fried udon noodles, beansprouts and steak. I wanted that too. I wanted what the couple who came in towards the end of our meal ordered as well. I think I saw lobster tail.

This is a rare and personal eating experience that we’re very lucky to have in Sheffield for less than £40 a set menu. I wish Chef Tan every success for all his hard work.

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