When I think of “teppanyaki”, I imagine a food experience, where you not only get to eat but also get to play with your food, whilst being entertained by the chef. Tem Ichi Teppanyaki at Parramatta definitely did deliver a food experience, but not quite the one I expected.
What first drew me to this restaurant was the prospect of enjoying a cheap meal – Groupon offered a great deal of $15 pp. Having previously used group buying sites before, even for some of the delicious reviews here (Cafe Ish and Kobe Jones), I thought I’d give it a shot. Groupon has never let me down before but everyone makes an error now and then, and I think I’ll research my restaurants twice before being attracted to cheap pricing. Let’s just say that Tem Ichi is a teppanyaki restaurant where the show of watching your food being flung at you and your friends overshadows any culinary experience your tastebuds may be expecting. The food looks tasty enough as you watch it being prepared with some showmanship from the chefs, but the flavours and textures leave a lot to be desired.
Our dinner was booked for 8:30pm, but the chef didn’t start cooking on our side of the table until 9pm. This would have been fine had we been served the green tea, salads and miso soup included in our voucher to keep us going at the beginning. I do forgive them for being understaffed, with the chefs doubling up as wait staff, but it is disappointing to approach the same wait staff three times and then be only served salad and 2x miso soups for our group of six.
Eventually, our first course of spring rolls is served from the back kitchen as a starter and they are rather small and taste unremarkable, like any other spring rolls you can get at a Chinese takeaway.
Fresh Fish and Prawns
Next up came our fish and prawns. These were cooked well but the flavour was disappointing…they just tasted like butter and were fairly dry.
Chicken and Beef
Our meats came out next including some chicken and beef. The beef was covered in a slightly strange tasting bean sauce which was supposed to be a “misoyaki” from memory. The chicken was a bit better in teriyaki sauce but it was overcooked and not tender.
Some assorted fried vegetables came out next and this was soy and miso flavoured, or meant to be. It tasted watered down and quite bland.
The last savoury dish for the night was fried rice, and I thought surely this classic Asian dish could not go wrong, but the rice was somehow deprived of any oil and sauce and was subsequently very tasteless and dry. Our set menu also included some Ice Cream but rather wait around to be (hopefully) served some dessert, we decided to head to our beloved Yogurberry newly opened just around the corner.
All in all, our experience at Tem Ichi was certainly not a feast for our tastebuds, although it was an experience in watching the chefs interact with the diners through games (like throwing eggs and fried rice to be caught in bowls) when preparing our food. As they encourage everyone to get involved in the games they play however, don’t bother wearing anything too fancy to the restaurant because it is very likely to get dirty some way or another. Nevertheless, the food was highly disappointing and I won’t be ever returning here.
Tem Ichi Restaurant
51 Phillip St Parramatta NSW 2150
Ph: (02) 9893 9594