Brunch is one of the best mealtimes in my opinion. In a resort city where people go to bed late and only surface after mid-morning, it makes sense to combine breakfast and the mid-day meal. This was how “brunch” was born.
The Benihana Japanese restaurant, on the second floor of the Royal Garden Plaza on the Beach Road side (by the way, that is the European numbering of floors – Ground, First, Second), is already a favorite for many diners with the cooking shows put on by the chefs just adding to the enjoyment of the meal. For those with children, it is one of the few restaurants that has the ability to keep the short attention spans enthralled.
The action which includes flying eggs.
Benihana is a very pleasantly appointed restaurant, with an overall Japanese theme. The cooking is done on a special Teppanyaki hot plate in front of the diners, with chefs specially trained to produce some culinary ‘theater’ (and look out for some flying eggs)! The very numerous staff are outfitted in black with the words “Brunch Squad” on the back.
The pricing of the Saturday Brunch is an all-in deal at B. 1,100 net for adults with children between four and twelve at half price and those under four are free. Free flow of wine/beer/cocktails and smoothies with a punch is B. 500 net. This certainly makes for an inexpensive Saturday brunch. (And a boozy one!)
Around the restaurant area are four private rooms each with its own Teppanyaki hot plate, and in between are some live stations including one making “Bloody Good Mary’s”, and others with Tempura items, seafood, meat grills, Japanese items, cheeses, desserts and freshly baked breads. Take your time to walk around and see exactly what is on offer (including oysters)!
After being seated, we were presented with the live cooking menu which includes fried eggs with vegetables and buffalo mozzarella, hibachi fried rice, Teppanyaki assorted vegetables, fois gras on grilled asparagus with Spanish tomato salsa, Australian sirloin beef rolled with green onion and enoki mushrooms and a venison tenderloin with garlic butter. These items are cooked in front of you by your own Benihana chef, and it is worthwhile going just to see the action which includes flying eggs, heart-beating fried rice and rubber chickens. (I am not going to explain further – you just have to go!)
We decided on the free flow option and the Accomplice vineyard white wine, an Australian Chardonnay, was eminently quaffable, though I did start off with one of Benihana’s “Bloody Good Mary’s” (and it was).
Bloody Good Mary’s.
For me, the dish of the lunchtime was the fois gras on grilled asparagus with Spanish tomato salsa, closely followed by the Australian sirloin beef rolled with green onion and enoki mushrooms. Wonderful!
We ate, we drank, we made many visits to the stations (after all, how do you turn down oysters and rock lobsters) and the lovely lady with “Brunch Squad” on her shirt kept refilling our glasses. It was difficult to call a halt to it all, the whole experience had been so enjoyable. But all good things must come to an end eventually (and that is 2.30 p.m.).
In fact, when I thought about the Beni Saturday Brunch afterwards (and after an hour’s sleep) I came to the conclusion that the attraction of this brunch was its total entertainment package. The live music trio was not too noisy as to be intrusive, and the singer certainly knows how to entertain. There are more expensive brunches in town, and some cheaper ones as well, but none of the others offer such a total entertainment value.
The food was excellent, with plenty of choices and having your own personal chef a great gimmick. It is a venue that is suitable for families and visiting guests, that will have them coming back for more. I can certainly give the Saturday Beni Brunch top marks. Highly recommended.
Benihana Restaurant, Royal Garden Plaza Second floor, Brunch Saturdays 11.30 a.m. until 2.30 p.m., telephone 038 412 120 (booking advised), fax 038 429 926, secure/free parking in the basement of the Royal Garden Plaza (but remember to get your docket stamped at the Information counter on the ground floor).