(This feature was published in GMA News Online last July 3, 2014)
I have eaten in restaurants with open kitchens where I saw chefs cook through a glass window, but I have never experienced sitting in a counter across an iron griddle and having a front row seat to the culinary art of teppanyaki. Though not a new concept, it was my first time to go through this kind of dining experience where not only the food matters, but its preparation as well.
Teppanyaki used to be exclusive to luxury hotels and hole-in-the-wall Japanese establishments, but it has now gone mainstream, as diners can simply go to the malls to see how this personal dining experience could turn into an art form. One Japanese restaurant that specializes in such is Akira, which has a number of branches around the metro.
The one in Shangri-La Plaza Mall had a minimalist and postmodern design with its interesting lighting fixtures and wooden furnishings that were accented with touches of Japanese culture through prominent Japanese icons and prints. The dining area had a pretty decent size but I highly suggest you get a space in one of the counters where you can get a nice view of the chef showcasing his mastery of the flame in his teppan or iron griddle.
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