He steamed his own rice, smoked and grilled his own meat, and even brewed his own coffee.

What makes you want to go to a restaurant? There’s a whole host of reasons, from wanting to check out a cool two-dimensional cafe to pretending you’re part of an actual fantasy guild.

Plus, a restaurant experience is made even more attractive by how someone else takes care of the cooking process for you.

Why then, would you go to a restaurant to cook up your own dinner? We sent our own enigmatic Mr. Sato to grill Yakiniku Camp about its charms.

▼ The idea of Yakiniku Camp is, unsurprisingly, that it’s like cooking your food while camping.

When Mr. Sato arrived at the recently opened Takashima-daira branch in Tokyo, he was shown to a roomy individual booth equipped with a roasting grill set inside the table, customary for yakiniku restaurants, as well as an induction stove. The latter is used to boil water and toast up food just like you’re out in the wild.

▼ A common sight for barbeque restaurants.

▼ Please don’t toast your menu in the induction oven!

Speaking of familiar sights in restaurants, the booths are divided by an all too familiar lane. This is how your food is served to your table.

Mr. Sato decided it was high time for some food to start shooting down that chute to his table, so he followed the restaurant’s recommendation to order a round of “Camp de Outdoor Cooked Rice” for 690 yen (US$6.51) first. The rice takes 20 minutes to cook, so you’d do well to set it up well in advance.

After Mr. Sato keyed in his order on the tablet, he received a heaping batch of ready-to-cook rice, a ladle to serve it with, and a pair of thick, heavy-duty gloves so that he wouldn’t burn himself in the process.

▼ So he set the rice on the oven for nine minutes at high heat, then eleven to steam.

While the rice cooked, Mr. Sato could busy himself with grilling up a whole mass of meats. Cheaper options like sausage and bacon can be purchased for 290 yen plus tax, while other cuts at meat run the range from 390 yen to 1,490 yen plus tax. You can even choose some chateaubriand or skirt steak if the mood takes you.

Mr. Sato was planning to enjoy his meats atop a healthy serving of rice, so he chose more modern meats on this occasion.

▼ Fresh off the order line.

▼ Then cooked on the table grill.

Yakiniku Camp also offers smoking kits for 390 yen plus tax: smoke your own cheeses and meats in a small container atop cherry blossom wood-chips for three minutes and enjoy the subtle smoky flavor. Mr. Sato couldn’t resist trying it for himself.

▼ An hourglass is provided to measure the three minutes.

▼ Presto! Smoked goods!

But wait, let’s not get carried away. How’s the rice doing?

▼ Fluffy and cooked to perfection, I see!

All Mr. Sato needed to do at this juncture was top a bowl of this pearly-white rice with succulent chunks of barbecued meat, and his yakiniku rice bowl meal was complete. Itadakimasu!

The fun wasn’t over yet. Mr. Sato placed an order for some “Camp-brewed Coffee”, which cost 290 yen plus tax. Boil the water yourself and then gently drip it over the ground beans to steam them, then filter to enjoy your hand-brewed coffee. This releases a rich, compelling aroma that Mr. Sato imagined would only be better if he were in the actual outdoors.

When he looked up at the clock, Mr. Sato was stunned to see he’d spent well over an hour entranced by Yakiniku Camp’s unique brand of barbecue. While he conceded that doing some of the cooking yourself was laborious, it did involve him in the culinary process so much that it felt worth it.

And hey, you won’t have to clean up, and you get to go home and sleep in your comfy bed afterward! We’ll call that a win.

Restaurant Info
Yakiniku Camp Itabashi Takajima-taira Branch / 焼肉キャンプ 板橋高島平店
Address: Tokyo-to, Itabashi-ku, Takajima-taira 4-1-20
Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. (to 1:00 a.m. on weekends)

Images: ©SoraNews24
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