My brother is very enthusiastic about Japanese culture and food and insisted that I try this restaurant with him.
It is tucked up a road near Leicester Square, and is the smaller of two restaurants run by the same people (the other being called "Abeno") This smaller one will hold 25-30 people and on first appearances doesn't look anything special. The exterior is bland and you might walk past if you didn't know it was there. Inside again, the decor is stark - plain walls, plain wooden tables and bar. The only thing that immediately caught my interest was the fact that set into the middle of the tables and the bar were hotplates.
We opted for a bar seat over by the far wall and looked at the menu. They have a lunch menu which is pretty good value for money. For example, I had Lunch A, which is £13.95 and for that you get a bowl of miso soup, a side of the day and a huge okonomi-yaki. If you have never had okonomi-yaki, trust me you are missing out!
So, the waitress (Japanese of course) comes over and along with our food we order warm sake. It is served in a porcelain jug and put on the hotplate so it stays warm. Then you are given a box with lots of different sake glasses in it and asked to pick your own, which I thought was really nice. You are then told the etiquette of sake drinking/pouring and also my brother pointed out to me some chopstick etiquette I had never known before.
Miso soup and the side (which was green beans in a sesame sauce) are brought out then all the raw ingredients to make the okonomi-yaki. The waitress mixes all the ingredients in a bowl than puts in the the hotplate, with a dome over the top to steam it. It is flipped over after a few mixture and left again. When it is ready the waitress asks if you want all the traditional toppings or not and then leaves you to it.
All 3 things I ate tasted amazing and the sake was great too. There is not a single thing I didn't enjoy about this restaurant. Our waitress recognised my brother, spoke to him in Japanese for a while and encouraged me to have a go with the chopsticks, telling me it takes Japanese kids 3 years to learn so don't worry if I'm not too good.
Overall I would say you have to give this place ago. I have never had such a great lunch and I can't wait to go there again.