Restaurants, Japanese St James'
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Teppanyaki, the Japanese iron griddle cooking technique, is a bit like Marmite: you either love it or hate it. If you’re under the age of 12, or enjoy pyrotechnics with your dinner, then Matsuri is definitely the place for you. The attractive underground dining room hosts a nightly influx of tourists and businessmen – mostly Japanese – who come to watch fish, vegetables and meat grilled by their own chef in front of their table.

On our visit, the mixed seafood grill featured a decent range of fish (salmon, squid, scallops), but the fish and vegetables were extremely plain, and not tasty enough in their nude states to satisfy.

Eating here isn’t cheap, with the three-course set dinner costing £35, yet most diners opt to throw in an extra £5 for the mango and ice-cream dessert, for which your faithful chef is trotted out again, armed with a bottle of oil to create sky-high flames on the grill around your melting ice-cream, which is balanced precariously on the fruit.

Previous visits to Matsuri have yielded impressive results from the small sushi counter, separate from the teppanyaki room. This is where we would spend our money.


Venue name: Matsuri
Address: 15 Bury Street
Opening hours: Lunch served noon-2.30pm Mon-Sat; noon-3pm Sun. Dinner served 6-10.30pm Mon-Sat; 6-10pm Sun
Transport: Tube: Green Park tube
Price: Dishes £23-£110. Main courses £6.50-£55. Set lunch £25, £35 bento box; £39, £55. Set meal £35-£165
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