I’ve been to Tokyo many times, but never tried these authentic Osaka Okonomiyaki before. Like an extra thick omelette, the batter is mixed at your table, cooked on a teppan and topped with Japanese mayo, okonomiyaki sauce (a thicker teriyaki sauce) and some katsuobushi (dried fish flakes). Abeno has been serving authentic okonomiyaki for nearly 20 years with all kinds of fillings, pork and egg, natto or the pork and kimchi filling for a spicier flavour.
The original Abeno is at Holborn, right opposite the British museum. It’s a very narrow space like the hallway of a small house with tables pushed against the wall. The teppan is always grilling hot at each table making the air stuffed with an eggy smell. It’s a nice steam room in the summer too. This hasn’t stopped the all day long queue (booking is a must) to the extent Abeno opened a second branch called Abeno Too at Leicester square to cope with the high demand.
Okonomiyaki comes in two sizes, deluxe and super deluxe. The latter is ideal for two people to share.
Konnyaku Natto-yaki (natto pancake)
If you’ve never tried natto before, don’t order this pancake. Natto is fermented soy beans which many Japanese people eat instead of yogurt for the good bacteria content. This pancake was dominated with the bitter and cheese like stinkiness from the natto, which I loved!
We ordered a salad to balance the pancakes. The slippery yet crunchy seaweeds were drenched in Japanese sesame sauce, a good nibble while we stared our pancake batter on the teppan.
Okonomiyaki - Kobe Mix (organic beef fillet)
The key ingredients that made this pancake unique was the Japanese mayo and the okonomiyaki sauce. Compared to the English mayo, the Japanese one was sweeter like a milk candy, the sweet and salt combination between the two sauces gave an unique flavour to the perfectly cooked pancake, which was moist, rustic and very filling (I was stuffed for ages).
If you still have room for dessert, try this fruit bowl to remove the eggy smell. I picked the one with sweetened adzuki beans and small discs of glutinous rice.
Chocolate hot cake
My friend wanted to try this hot cake, which was on the new year’s special menu. It tasted and looked precisely like a Scotch pancake, only fluffier and cooked on the teppan.
Verdict - 4/5
Food (authentic) - The okonomiyaki pancakes were delicious, especially if you are sick of sushi and still want something interesting. Booking is a must!
Service (cute and friendly) - this is the place to pay service charge as the waitress will also be the chef. Turning each pancake on the teppan at the perfect time as well as explain each ingredient and its cooking steps in cute Japanese accents.
Cost (okish) - two of us spent £65 with the super deluxe okonomiyaki at £21. We did order too much food, both desserts should’ve been omitted. Most tables only ordered a deluxe pancake per person.