Beef Teriyaki and Garlic Beef Pepper Rice, Anyone? (Pepper Lunch Review)
Pepper Lunch does not only serve peppers for lunch. They have Beef Teriyaki and Garlic Beef Pepper Rice. If you haven’t tried it and are curious of how a do-it-yourself "sizzling plate" meal would taste, read further!
Since April 2012, I have been a fan of Pepper Lunch, a “fast-steak” (or sizzling plate to some people) restaurant which originated from Japan, the concept of which they serve your food in a specially designed circulate metal plate and then you cook your food there by either mixing it up (in case of rice dishes) or by turning over the meat (in case of steaks). Don’t be scared of the moniker —- well, yeah the food contains pepper but it’s not spicy, defying humans’ relation of the word “pepper” to “spicy”. The first Pepper Lunch food I have tried is the Beef Pepper Rice (click this for the review).
Last September 19, 2012 my husband and I headed to Trinoma and have lunch at Pepper Lunch Express located at Trinoma. This trip is different from our previous Pepper Lunch encounters because we’re not going for Beef Pepper Rice again. Instead, we tried their Beef Teriyaki (for yours truly) and Garlic Beef Pepper Rice (for him).
The place somewhat improved. From the first time I have been there in April 2012, where you have to wait in line to get your food, thus giving you varicose veins in times when there’s a downpour of customers and the only guide for your waiting is the number on the upper portion of your receipt, this time you will be given a black circular gadget with little lights and which digitally contains your customer number; you can take the said gadget to your table. Instead of falling in line to get your food all you have to do is wait on your table. No, there aren’t fancy waiters to serve your food, since Pepper Lunch Express in Trinoma is an “Express” and you still have to get your food from the counter. Once your food is assembled, the circular gadget will blink, beep and vibrate. When the gadget blinked, beeped and vibrated, you have to bring the gadget to the counter and then they will hand over to you your order.
Teriyaki Beef Pepper Rice with Egg (Php188.00 / USD4.51, add Php45.00 / USD1.08 to Upsize)
The Beef Teriyaki comes with a small cup of teriyaki sauce. Same as to their other rice dishes, the pepper rice in Beef Teriyaki has their special sauce (other than the separate teriyaki sauce), special margarine, freshly-ground pepper, corn kernels, onions and onion chives. The beef which is on the side of the plate is thinly sliced and still pinkish. They also have a fresh egg.
DO NOT EAT IT AS IT IS WHEN YOU GET IT FROM THE COUNTER. IF YOU DO, YOU WILL LOOK LIKE AN IDIOT AND YOU WILL BE MISSING THE REAL TASTE OF THE FOOD. So how you eat it? You pour the teriyaki sauce over the rice, then mix the rice, meat and egg. Mix, mix, mix! The beef and the egg get cooked upon mixing with the rice, since the plate is extremely hot. And just like what Pepper Lunch always say, the more you mix it the more flavorful your food will be.
Once you are done mixing, it’s time to open your mouth and put a spoonful of this little baby in your mouth, chew and let your taste buds be delighted. Unlike other beef teriyaki dishes that I have tasted in other restaurants where either the dish is too sweet or too salty or something is overpowering the other, Pepper Lunch’s Beef Teriyaki tastes just right. It’s not too sweet. It’s not too “soy sauce”-y in flavor. There’s a balance in the taste. The rice complements well with the meat. Though you can’t even taste where the egg has gone after mixing, you will notice it because of the shiny texture of the rice (think of the egg in beef gyudon). Actually, the taste is perfect that you don’t need to add additional teriyaki sauce or any other sauces offered by the restaurant —- the honey brown sauce or Amakuchi and the garlic soy sauce or Karakuchi.
I love this dish. I actually like it better than Beef Pepper Rice now.
And oh, the plate and the food is still warm after 20 minutes!
Garlic Beef Pepper Rice (Php145.00 / USD3.47, add Php45.00 / USD1.08 to Upsize)
This dish is the same as the typical Beef Pepper Rice, only that the difference is, obviously, the garlic. Garlic Beef Pepper Rice contains beef as the meat, and in the rice their special sauce, special margarine, freshly-ground pepper corns, corn kernels, onion chives and tons of fried garlic chips.
The presence of garlic is very obvious that you can sense it by the scent of the food.
How you eat this? Same procedure, only this time you choose what sauce you want to put in your rice — Amakuchi or Karakuchi. Pour in the sauce on top of the rice, and then mix the rice and the meat. Mix, mix, mix! Mix until the meat is cooked. Mix until the sauce blended well with the rice. Mix until everything is incorporated with one another, then chow time!
Okay, I am NOT a fan of garlic. I do not like garlic because its taste, especially when fried. However, this dish is an exemption. I must say that the garlicky taste I despise does not exist in this dish. The garlic actually tasted sweet. You can feel and taste the pepper corn, but it’s not on the spicy side.
I recommend the Amakuchi sauce on Garlic Beef Pepper Rice, but do not overdo it. One small cup is enough — going overboard will “kill” the flavor of the rice.
And like their other dishes, the food stays warm beyond 20 minutes, thanks to the specialized plate.
Overall, the money you’ll be paying is worth it. The food is delicious — though other than that the thrilling part is you are the one who will cook your own food right on your own table, and even if you are not a pro in the kitchen you can still have good results in Pepper Lunch. The service is good, as even if you have to wait, you don’t have to wait for too long. Though of course, since we tried the “Express” one, don’t expect to have the convenience of a full restaurant as the stall is located in a food court where several food stalls share one place.
Also, for both dishes, do not be deceived by the looks of the rice. The rice may look “less” or “not enough”, but believe me once you mixed it and started eating it is really more than what it looks like.