If you were invited on a night out and were guaranteed that knives would fly through the air and flames would burst into life right in front of you while running the risk of possibly getting egg on your face, my guess is that you would pass!
A visit to Hokkaido in Ayia Napa promises all of the above in addition to fine dining. Specialising in Japanese cuisine, namely teppenyaki and sushi, Hokkaido opened in 1999 and has been a very popular dining destination ever since. While most establishments in Ayia Napa open only for the summer season, Hokkaido’s popularity sees it stay open all year long.
The U-shaped tables double up as cooking stations and you get to watch your food prepared right in front of your eyes! We were given a friendly greeting by all staff, from the host that showed us to our table, to the waitress and all the chefs that gave us a smile and a polite nod as we walked past their stations. There was no hanging around, the menus were brought to us immediately.
The menu is extensive. I would find it hard to believe that anybody would ever struggle to find something to eat here. With the first few pages dedicated to a wide variety of sushi, the rest of the menu has various different meats and fish. I was tempted to try the chicken stuffed with banana in a light curry sauce and almost went for the duck breast in forest fruit sauce. I know that chicken is an everyday dish and when I go out I like to have something different but, in the end, I was swayed by the chicken stuffed with marinated duck, fresh plums, served with plum sauce. At least I managed to get in one of my five a day!
Friendly and funny chefs not only prepare an extremely tasty meal right in front of your eyes but they seem to also be part-time comedians. Their culinary skills are enough to wow the most serious of people and their playfulness enough to make anybody laugh. Using a spatula to play keepy-ups with an eggs before catching it in his hat and cutting up a long line of omelette at lighting speed sending it flying into a bowel propped up on a bed of rice were just a couple of the tricks we saw.
An added bonus to the evening was that someone at another table was celebrating a birthday and the staff all got together using empty pots turned upside down as drums and kitchen utensils to perform a unique version of a birthday song. It was entertaining and the whole restaurant turned to watch the spectacle.
The food was finally on a plate in front of me fresh off the Teppan (iron plate). I could feel the heat coming from my food as the oh so satisfying aroma made me want to just get stuck in. It was divine. The chicken breast was moist, the duck, very flavoursome and the plum was just sweet enough to balance it all out. I was very pleased with my choice.
We left with our stomachs full of good food and a smile on our faces. Not only am I definitely going back to Hokkaido, I’m already looking forward to it!
WHERE Hokkaido, Ayia Napa
WHEN Daily from 5pm
HOW MUCH mains from €15
CONTACT 23 721505