The chef arrives at the stainless steel hot plate and greets you in Japanese, It is cooking time. He pours a clear liquid across the teppan and a flame bursts into the air, it is show time.
There are many Japanese restaurants in Bali that have one dedicated Teppanyaki area. Shima is, as far as I am aware, the only specialty Teppanyaki restaurant. They have one large double teppan where two chefs work and two smaller ones that can be booked for a private dinner catering for small parties of 6-11 diners.
The Teppanyaki menu is quite extensive from which you can order your own selection of dishes. If it is your first visit then it is a good idea to take advantage of one of the set menus.
Whilst the classic Miso Soup is a traditional starter for many Japanese meals Shima also has other soups available. Miso is the result of fermenting soy beans with salt and koji. It provides a protein fix for many Japanese every day and although it has a salty taste it is considered quite healthy unlike the use of table salt.
The House Salad is often ordered at the same time and is the only dish that is prepared in the kitchen rather than at the teppan. It is a standard salad with lettuce, white radish, beet and carrot, you choose from three different dressings.
Tofu is a much maligned product, often considered to be tasteless. At Shima, cooked on the teppan with soy oil, it is quite a revelation. A bowl of mixed vegetables cooked, sliced and chopped on the teppan and flavoured with soy and a touch of ginger is another recommended course.
The menu calls it by its Italian name, Calamari, but the Japanese call it ika. It is the perfect way to begin the seafood section of your Teppanyaki. This for me was probably the shock of the evening dining experience. So often when squid is ordered in Bali the result is similar to chewing leather, or worse still plastic. At Shima they use the tentacles and from large squid not the baby variety, it was so tender and tasty I was amazed.
Maguro is tuna and naturally it is what is referred to as sashimi-grade. Order the way you want it cooked but anything above 'just seared' is a travesty with tuna of this quality! As with most of the seafood dishes here it is just cooked with a dab of soft garlic butter and soy. Perfect is the only way to describe the result, much the same as with the dish that followed, Barramundi.
King Prawns are first flamed with vodka, then covered for a few minutes to enhance the flavour. Imported Scallops and local lobster are prepared the same way.
Whilst beef is the most common meat used with Teppanyaki at Shima they also offer Chicken or a Lamb Chop [given a western touch with accompanying mint and rosemary sauce served on the side].
Beef can be Rib-eye or Tenderloin from the Black Angus or Wagyu Tenderloin [level 5 which limits the amount of fat]. Once again just cooked medium rare is the way to go if you really appreciate your beef.
As with many Asian cuisines Fried Rice is served as a separate course at the completion of the seafood and meat dishes. Fried Rice prepared on the teppan is very different to that from a wok, it is totally grease-free.
Dessert is ice cream. Black sesame or a Green tea which produces a chorus of appreciative sighs from everyone.
There are 4 set menus for the Teppanyaki, ranging from a 9 course special to the ultimate of 11 courses. Unlike most Asian cuisines each course in a Teppanyaki meal is served separately, one at a time, so each can be enjoyed at its best.
Just inside the restaurant entrance, opposite the small Japanese garden, is the dedicated area for Shabu-Shabu.
The Shabu-Shabu is served at normal tables. You cook your own selection of ingredients in the broth of your choice [Miso, Kombu, Kimuchie or Sukiyaki]. The meat can be Sirloin or Wagyu, Seafood Scallops, Crab Cake, Squid, Prawn or Baby Octopus and Vegetables Enoki or Shiitake Mushrooms, Nappa Cabbage, Kale and Pokchoy. Add Tofu and Udon Noodles if you wish.
The chefs are Shima all have extensive Japanese experience, in fact entering Shima you will think that you are actually in Japan. The fit-out as with the food is completely traditional.
Dining at Shima is an experience. Not just the food, which is excellent, but the theatre of the evening is unique. It is yet another quality option for dining in Bali.