Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Pepper Lunch, Sydney

I was freeee as a bird today, so decided to drop by the newly-opened Japanese franchise restaurant 'Pepper Lunch'.
The thing about pepper lunch is, the name doesn't make much sense. But we're talking about Japan here, nothing should make sense when it comes to their 'Engrish'.

For those Pepper Lunch virgins out there, the unique thing about this restaurant is that instead of serving the food cooked, the food is served raw in front of the customer. However, the food (steaks etc) is placed on electromagnetically-heated plates and the customer can cook the food themselves. By the time the heat subsides, the meat will already be cooked. This way, the customer can cook the food to their desired degree of done-ness. There's also some sauces to accompany the food or to be used when cooking (available on each table). In Sydney, there's only 2 types of sauces available: "amakuchi" (sweet) and "karakuchi" (hot). I like the "amakuchi" best.

I first encounter Pepper Lunch in Singapore, and has since taken quite a liking to it. There's much hype among the Japanese comunity in Sydney when pepper lunch is about to open in Sydney, but the hype subsided very quickly within a few weeks after the restaurant actually opened. The food's not as good as in Japan, perhaps?

Pepper lunch also opened in Jakarta's Plaza Senayan recently.

Combo 'Hitokuchi' Steak and Grilled Chicken

The only downside to the Sydney branch is the food presentation. The tau-gay (whoops, pardon my sudden burst of Singlish...I mean 'beansprouts') is a bit soggy and they didn't shape it into a neat mound (like the menu suggests). This is so un-Japanese. Japanese demands perfection in food presentation! (The Singapore branch is much, much better in doing this)

You would think that "Pepper Lunch" is a weird choice of a restaurant name. Wait 'till you see their Indonesian translation, "Makan siang lada" (circled on photo).
I guess they know that most Indonesians in Sydney are J-food freaks so they tried to appeal to Indonesian customers by doing this silly translation. Frankly, "Makan siang lada" is so laughable and doesn't make sense in Indonesian (it's like they only serve pepper in their restaurant, not to mention that you can only have them for LUNCH, not dinner).

The thing is, In Japan, they don't care if they name the restaurant "pepper lunch", or even "salt lunch". Anything in English sounds cool to most Japanese; and most of them don't know or won't really bother to find out what "Pepper Lunch" means. I guess you need to be a Japanophile (like us in this blog) to fully understand the topsy-turvy world of Japanese psyche.


cla said...

I tried pepper lunch for the first time in ages again yesterday (the first time i tried it was like when they just opened in sg)...

still not impressed... (although i quite like the sauce)

then again, i just hate restaurant that make you "cook" your own food...

and.... why on earth do they have to put the reserved sign everywhere??? like anyone would actually reserve a table in pepper lunch.... o.O

Fat Owl said...

Well, honestly, I eat here every now and then just because it's Japanese ^_^!...the same reason why I frequent Yoshinoya in Sydney even though it sucks...

Anonymous said...

I like the food but i find it pricey for the small portion!!