In a city like Tokyo, it is not hard to find a good restaurant that serves mouthwatering Japanese wagyu beef. Couple of our favorites include Ukai-tei Omotesando and Shima. We recently added another spot to this list – Teppan Bambina. I’ve mentioned before that wagyu grilled on an iron griddle is my absolute favorite, so I’m always on a look-out and eager to try new teppanyaki restaurant. Usually, the biggest challenge is to find a place that won’t break your bank for a piece of marbled steak, and I think Teppan Bambina is a perfect place in that respect.
Tucked away in the vibrant backstreets of Azabu-Juban, it is a small restaurant with ten counter seats and a few more tables, including the big communal one in the middle of the room. Wood dominates the décor and creates a very warm ambiance. We opted for the counter seats, simply because theatrics of the meal preparation never fails to entertain us. As we glanced at the clientele we quickly understood it was a popular date night spot. I guess the cozy space, dim lights and moreish food does the trick.
There was very helpful and intuitive waitress who spoke English, and English menu was readily available for us as well. You can order a la carte, although we went the usual route and settled for one of the three set menus.
We started off with a simple cucumber and bittermelon salad, which was refreshing kick-off to the dinner. Although, I still don’t get a fascination with bittermelon as an ingredient (besides its nutritional values). It never works for me.
We greedily smudged the pate of the day over a toasted slice of bread. It was a delicious light appetizer, so flavorful and a beautiful introduction to the meat-y portion of the menu.
Next, we eagerly scarfed down the chopped and sautéed beef innards which were drenched in the butter sauce. It was one of the highlights on the menu and I’d reorder it without hesitation.
The following dish – beef carpaccio – fell a little short. It was on a chewier side and didn’t bring loads to the table flavor-wise.
However, mashed potato – generously sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and torched before serving – was a total revelation. It was decadently creamy and hearty and buttery. I greedily kept going back for seconds at the risk of burning my tongue.
At last we got to the most anticipated course of the dinner – teppan-grilled wagyu beef, which was served alongside onion sauce and salt. Our set course included a selection of three cuts of premium wagyu and the meat of the day was from Sendai region. Needless to say, tenderloin was an absolute winner. As buttery and melt-in-your mouth as you’d expect. Skirt was also quite good, while the round was our least favorite being a bit on a chewier side. Instead of the selection, I’d recommend you order tenderloin, that’s what I’ll do next time.
We also watched the chefs prepare their signature premium hamburgers which looked so mouthwatering we vouched to come back for it some time.
Next main course showcased wagyu booked cooked sukiyaki style in the iron skillet and it was a stunning dish. It came with a side of an egg dipping sauce and a tomato cooked ever so lightly. The thin yet fatty slices of meat were scrumptious, and were complimented beautiful with the sweetness of the tomato and onion, as well as extra luxurious layer of the dipping sauce.
Can you believe it, we had to tackled two more savory courses after this: soup of the day, which in our case was a savory egg soup; and a teppan garlic butter rice. If you are a fan of the fried rice like I am, you’ll love this. Rice is grilled in the garlic butter with tiny scraps and bits of wagyu and seasoned with herbs. We had a similar dish at Ishida Honten in Kobe and loved it. I was so happy to taste it again, simple yet unbelievably good.
We finished off with a light dessert. My coffee pudding was a winner. It had just enough sweetness to balance the savoriness of the prior courses.
I don’t think you could go wrong with Teppan Bambina, the atmosphere was pleasant, food was delicious and prices were pocket-friendly compared to other Tokyo restaurants. We definitely will be bringing some friends here when they visit.