Abeno, London

Minutes from the British Museum is a little Japanese restaurant called Abeno, which specializes in okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki is a savory pancake/omelette made with egg and flour, and can be mixed with a variety of ingredients including grated yam, cabbage, meat, seafood and dashi.

Abeno

Abeno

This is a really small, and busy restaurant. I arrived early and was able to beg my way in for a quick dinner, but reservations are highly recommended – many people were turned away while I ate my meal.

Each table has a built-in gas flat top grill on which the server cooks your okonomiyaki. My order would soon be busily cooking under that lid. The large spatulas were for cooking, and the mini one was for me to use to cut and serve my food.

Abeno table and grill

Abeno table and grill

I ordered a small Inaka Mix, which includes pork, konnyaku (a.k.a. konjac) and corn. My server mixed everything in a bowl at table-side. He added a dollop of oil onto the grill, then plopped the mixture onto the hot surface, and quickly formed it into a pancake shape.

cooking the okonomiyaki

cooking the okonomiyaki

He then put the lid on top of the whole thing to distribute the heat through the whole okonomiyaki. About half way thorough the cooking process he came back and flipped the whole thing over, and placed the lid back on for further grilling.

part way through the cooking process

part way through the cooking process

And then the whole thing was flipped over again so that the toppings could be added. Look at those pork strips! (No they weren’t streaky bacon, but actually thin slices of pork. Not sure if they were back bacon.)

Almost done!

Almost done!

I told my server that I wanted all the toppings – okonomiyaki sauce (close to a bbq sauce), Kewpie mayonnaise, aonori (seaweed) and bonito flakes. They leave you with bottles of the sauces as well as a bottle of hot sauce in case you want a little more to go with your meal.

Okonomiyaki - ready for eating!

Okonomiyaki - ready for eating!

Ok now the really neat part. (Be warned though, I am easily amused. I’m quite pathetic, really.) I had to take a video of this because it’s something that you have to really see to believe. Watch what happens in reaction to the high heat of the grill. It’s short, so you may have to watch it more than once.

To eat the okonomiyaki, I ended up cutting it up into slices like a pizza. Taste-wise, I have to say that okonomiyaki make a tasty and filling eggy/salty meal. The food, and the restaurant, are perfect for a casual dinner and conversation.

Okonomiyaki aren’t the only thing you can order here -  teppanyaki and a small selection of onigiri, sashimi, gyoza, etc. are also available.

Abeno has two locations – the original Abeno near the British Museum and Abeno Too, located in Leicester Square. The second location isn’t big either, but I find it has more windows and light, and as a result feels a little bigger and less crowded.

Abeno
47 Museum Street, London

Abeno Too
17-18 Great Newport Street, London

www.abeno.co.uk

Abeno on Urbanspoon

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6 thoughts on “Abeno, London

  1. What a find! I assume this was a well researched place that you didn’t just happen upon? I have never heard of many of the dishes you described, and was thrilled to learn about them. What a highlight of the trip this must have been. I was thinking of our morning at the British Museum, midweek, and this would have been a welcome reprieve from the rain for our noon meal, instead of whatever we munched at on the run from place to place that day. LOVE the video. (I am easily amused, too!)> :)
    Valerie

    • Didn’t I list this place in one of the e-mails I sent you? If not I’m sorry! I ate there the first time I was in London and loved it, and so I had to go back. I wish there was one of these places around here!

  2. i guess that makes three easily amused people ;-) i watched the video three times…yes, easily amused is right. i love bonito flakes, so yummy! never tried this at a Japanese restaurant but it looks tasty with all those toppings. we usually like all the sashimi stuff. thank you for sharing this experience with us.

    • As far as I know it’s not served at any Japanese restaurants in Alberta. I think there might be some in California… but I’m not even sure you can find it in Vancouver/Richmond!

  3. Muree says:

    I’ve had it in Vancouver at a place called the Eatery. Funky little Japanese place near the university area. Have never been able to find it anywhere else but if Anyone knows of a place in Edmonton that serves it PLEASE let me know.

    • I saw it at the Japanese pavilion at Heritage Days but it didn’t look so hot so I didn’t order any. That has been my one and only sighting of them here in the city!

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