Sep 15 2006 By Helen Parker, The Chronicle
Siam Thai and Teppan-yaki
If I'm ever asked, 'What's your favourite food?' I say 'Japanese', which is strange, because as husband, P, reminds me, I've only ever been to an authentic Japanese restaurant once in my life, a long time ago.
'Well it was fabulous,' I say defensively. 'You were violently ill afterwards,' he replies. 'I was jetlagged,' I counter, dialling the number for the Siam Thai and Teppan-yaki Restaurant in City Road, Chester.
I wonder what it was I loved so much? It wasn't the saki that was for sure. Perhaps it was the teppanyaki steak cooked in front of us by Japanese chefs; or the silent, enigmatic kimono-clad waitresses gliding by on zori - those lacquered platform flips-flops - or was it the sticky rice and sushi?
I remember feeling so sophisticated as I sat on the tatami mat flooring at the low dining table, watching the chef perform his masterly flourishes - as full of meaning as a Japanese tea ceremony.
'I know what it was,' he said suddenly, breaking the dream. 'We hadn't seen each other for three months and I booked it as a romantic gesture.'
We lapsed into silence as we walked along the canal.
No pressure tonight then. The Siam Thai and Teppan-yaki Restaurant is in the old antiques emporium building, above Hark-ers pub, so we popped in for a drink on the way.
The pub was packed to the trendy rafters and we were lucky to squeeze in at the corner of another couple's table. It soon became apparent that even if we weren't intending to have a romantic night out, they certainly were. They left arm in arm a few minutes before us.
And then, there they were again. Our Thai waitress sat us alongside one another at the teppan grill.
Looking at the menu and wondering where on earth to start, we realised that yes, this is a Japanese restaurant as far as the food is concerned, but the décor is a fusion of east and west, with cream painted walls, stripped wood floors, large Thai objet's d'art dotted about and of course, the Japanese cooking plate - or teppan - right there in front of us.