I knew of Abeno for a long time, a place that specialises in Okonomiyaki. I hadn't had it since New Year's Eve last year, so I was pretty excited when I had a girls dinner date there with M and S - I love when friends are adventurous eaters and are willing to try different things!
Okonomiyaki is a Japanese dish that is more commonly known as a semi-junk food. Made out of a basic batter of egg, cabbage and flour, it's kind of a savoury pancake - that you can stuff with whatever you like. Okonomi literally means "what you like", so you can really make it the way you want it.
At Abeno, they give you a wide selection of toppings, and they cook it right in front of you on the teppan. We chose to have a few pan-fried gyozas to share, and then followed up with the large sizes of the Osaka and Tokyo mix Okonomiyaki - one was with prawn, squid and pork, and the other with kimchi in place of the squid. The pork is cooked and then pan-friend on top of the pancake, all crispy and delicious.
They are topped with a special sauce, mayonnaise (Japanese mayonnaise - it's very different, far better in my opinion!), katsuobushi (fish flakes) and aonori (green seaweed flakes). They may look a little strange, but trust me, they are so good.
Abeno has two branches, one near Holborn with tables (the one we went to), and one by Leicester Square where you can dine on counter seats. If you are up for something a little different, Okonomiyaki is a crowd pleaser - I've never met anyone who doesn't like it, non-Japanese included! - and it's a fun experience, too.
And don't be shy on the sauce and mayo, it's "junk" food after all!
You can see the menu and more details on Zomato.