Dinner out with the kids? The very thought is probably giving you palpitations. If, like me, you are blessed with two quite boisterous little rascals, one of whom only eats white or yellow food, going out to eat for a special occasion can feel a bit stressful…. but perhaps if you were to distract them with a bit of egg juggling, ultra fast chopping and a steam engine made out of onions?
A couple weeks ago I was invited to a ‘mummy blogger’ event at Benihana. To be honest, I thought it was going to be a bit cheesy, and that they would focus so much on throwing spatulas around that the food itself would be uninspiring. Boy was I wrong!
The show itself was absolutely superb – incredibly funny, filled with surprises, and all while he’s chopping, stir-frying and serving your food. It’s a great option even for the fussiest of kids… even my little boy would have a little taste of a magic egg that had been juggled and then cracked in mid air on the edge of a spatula.
Each large square table has seats along three sides and an uber talented juggling chef comedian (where do they hire these guys?) on the fourth side, so everyone has the perfect view of the ‘show’ but can still chat and laugh together… and yes, you will spend most of the time laughing. The food was goooooorgeous and incredibly fresh, and the black cod in particular was just divine and cooked to perfection. The portions are so generous that I ended up having to skip dessert.
It can be a bit pricey, but for a birthday or another special occasion it’s a no-brainer for my family as we know for sure everyone will have great food and a great time.
You’ll also find some great reviews and more details about Benihana on the websites and mummy blogs below – I’ve grabbed a few excerpts to whet your appetite.
Whether you’re coming for a birthday, a celebration, lunch or dinner – there is so much going on the kids will love it. In particular I know my boys will find it fun to sit at a “hot” table. Be entertained by the jokes, flames, and flying food/knives of our chef. Most importantly I think they’ll really enjoy the food – it’s simple yet delicious flavours will appeal to them and having 2 types of sauce to dip things in is always a plus. Even though they have a kids menu (which doubles as a hat!), as far as kids menu prices go, at £12-£18 it’s on the medium to high range. But in this case I think it’s worth it because I know my kids will eat it. The food is excellent and being a part of the creation process always seems to help with their appetite.
Seriously – I’ve found another new place to take the kids for a special treat, I know they will LOVE the spectacle of it – they will love the vegetables (well, I’ve never had tastier courgette) and the freshest, melt-in-the-mouth fish… oh, and the (grown up) blackberrycocktails were divine.
Our chef was charming, funny, talented and hugely entertaining. Watching his deft knife skills and he cracked jokes (and eggs) was brilliant and I think children would really enjoy the experience.
He was mesmerising and showed off some great tricks, like catching an egg in his hat, and making the steaming onion ‘train’.
The Benihana experience – born in New York in the 60′s – is more than just food: it is a show. The top-notch chefs cook your food in front of you on a Teppanyaki grill, so you can see how fresh it is. Not only that, they do it with flair…
Benihana is the epitome of dinner theatre — every table is treated to the spectacle of a chef who not only cooks fresh food from scratch before your eyes, but juggles instruments, cracks jokes and sets things on fire…. The kids would love the show, although I could also imagine having a giggle here with the Mister on one of our Dates with Dads.
Its a great place to bring kids as they will enjoy the ‘show’ and hopefully eat all of their food with no fuss.
It’s the perfect place for a birthday meal for a group of friends, but I’m also determined to take the kids along to try the children’s menu available for the under 10s. For between £12 and £18 you can get a children’s portion of prawn’s , steak or a combination with appetisers , rice and pudding included. And there are appropriately named cocktails – Shirley Temple or Snow White – non alcoholic obviously! Yes, it will cost more than the standard kids pizza meal. But it’s something different and fun and something they will definitely remember – as long as they also remember that being a Benihana chef is not something they should ever try at home!
I remember going to one of their relatively new restaurants when I was about 10 or 11 years old. It was fun and exciting. The Chef comes and cooks on a large hotplate at your table. Not only to they sizzle away at your chosen meal, but the chefs are also trained in the skill of spatula and knife juggling, balancing raw eggs and the odd cheeky squirt from the fake Japanese sauce bottle. You will be delighted by the food and awed by the large flames and giggle at the tricks (I was had at least twice). Now, unfortunately, when I was 10 or 11 years old is, ahem **quite some time ago** and yet our visit sticks out in my mind as a significant family meal out.
Parents of lively children love this kind of space: their kids won’t crack their head on a table if they try walking unaided through the restaurant and if they make a fuss, they don’t disturb the entire crowd of patrons. Jen from GoBaby App and Ann from Bloomsbury Babies where both thoroughly impressed with the staff, the food and the venue; Jen took particular note as to how baby-friendly and accessible it is.
Still reading? Go on and check out this lovely post about some of the most wonderful, inspirational and hard working digital mums out there:
Disclosure: Our visit to Benihana Chelsea was courtesy of the Benihana management team but the opinions expressed here are our own.