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Teppanyaki lunch @ Defune, Marylebone, London

limster Aug 19, 2010 02:27 PM

Two pieces of unagi/eel tempura, a nicemoisture and softness to the eel, fairly delicate batter, with a very faint shadow of oil. Wakame, another more frilly seaweed, and a citrusy jelly (yuzu?) go well together with good lumpy crab meat. Tender dark reddish pieces of goose, lightly smoky, juicy, earthy.

Dobin mushi, a light seafood broth served in a teapot, is zested up by a squeeze of lime. Fairly good prawn, (what I thought were) honshimeji mushrooms, a small shiitake, a tasty ginko nut and a delicious slice of bouncy fishcake with more than the usual intensity of fish flavour.

The crab salad with avocado was ok, the crab fairly good, thick fibres, nice and moist, but the avocado seemed rather bland; a piquant and creamy wasabi sauce gave it all that it needed to perk up. Pretty presentation as a flower, with petals of avocado around a core of salmon eggs.

Solid sashimi,well cut, without any tough sinews, but flavourwise, I've had better. A delicate white fish (hirame?), fairly flavourful and firmly textured salmon, and a decent tuna/maguro that was soft but not mushy.

Fairly careful teppanyaki cooking without the theatrics. Half rings of onions were first browned on the edges, then cut in half, and softened on the hot metal surface. Courgette slices nicely burnished, almost gushy with a bite. Both sprinkled with sesame seeds, and some sort of savoury nutty shichimi (I think) powder.

Then nice hunks of sea bass, sea bream (very crispy skin) and salmon, enlivened by a squeeze of lemon. The sauces served with it while nothing out of this world, were pleasant and made for some variation in flavour: a clear light sauce that was sour, sweet and spicy (perhaps citrusy?), a ketchup looking sauce that had a faint resemblance to a light Korean gochujang, and lastly what seemed to be a creamy tartar sauce enhanced with wasabi.

Half a lobster, the thickish threads of lobster fibres well articulated, breaking nicely on the teeth, moist, and glossed with butter. The claw was a little softer, slightly pasty, without the springy texture of the tail. Knuckles were not bad, closer to the tail in texture. Nicely cut up and placed back in the half lobster shell for presentation.

Finally an orange sliced and served in a cup of its peel.

While not the best food of its kind, the teppanyaki component was very good and overall a very good value at £36 for all of this.

  1. Noodle fanatic Aug 20, 2010 06:46 PM

    Thanks for the report limster. Are they a real Japanese restaurant? (i.e. "real" to me means lots of native Japanese folks frequent the establishment and the food is not too different from the way it's served in Japan). E.g. Koya is undoubtedly real. How would you compare Defune to other Japanese restaurants of its kind you enjoy?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Noodle fanatic
      limster Aug 21, 2010 08:40 AM

      Well, it's real in the sense that it isn't dumbed down, although there were slight concessions to more local ingredients such as the goose (which isn't bad) and perhaps the avocado. I have had better Japanese food elsewhere, especially the sashimi. But I think it's a pretty good value and there were a few touches that were encouraging, such as the grated wasabi.

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