Thanis Lim

All Rounder Chef and Food Journalist

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Brunei Restaurants: Pepper Lunch

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I’ve seen the Pepper Lunch franchise many times when I was in my travels and I’ve never tried it because it’s always fully packed with customers waiting outside or queuing. When I heard news of Pepper Lunch opening in Brunei and they asked me to come over to try out the food ~ I was excited! Finally I can see why Pepper Lunch is so popular internationally! Fun Fact: Brunei is the 211th branch in the Asia Pacific Region for Pepper Lunch!

 

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So what is Pepper Lunch? Pepper Lunch is a DIY fast service concept, with more than 200 outlets in Japan and Asia. Pepper Lunch was created in 1994 by chef and inventor Kunio Ichinose, who invented a method using hot metal plates that are heated to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 Celsius) by an electromagnetic cooker.

 

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The raw meat with vegetables and/or rice are then placed on the plates, where they cook in front of the customer. The meat can be eaten rare or well done, depending on the customer's preference. The meal is then mixed with a choice of either the special honey brown sauce (Amakuchi) or garlic soy sauce (Karakuchi).

 

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The Hot Plate remains hot at approximately 80°C for more than 20 minutes. According to Pepper Lunch, meat that is grilled at this temperature range remains tender and juicy. The hot plate also keeps food warm for a longer time such that customers can enjoy the full flavour of the dish.

 

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Howard Hii, the Managing Director of Universal Food and Beverages that own the Pepper Lunch franchise in Brunei, told us that even these beautiful brick tiles are imported to Japan, to adhere to the standards of the franchise. Quality assurance is very important to Pepper Lunch.

 

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Now the main focus is of course – on what is on the menu ~~ the main agenda of every foodie ~~ here’s the signature dish of Pepper Lunch! The Beef Pepper Rice – which comes in normal or jumbo sizes. Tender beef slices – served with Japanese rice, crunchy corn and their freshly ground black pepper! You will start to feel hungry as soon as you hear the sizzling sound as it approaches your table!

 

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You let the beef slices cook on the hot plate – while you add your sauces – turn the beef slices around to your desired doneness and then mix with the pepper rice. Naturally I love my beef slightly medium rare!

 

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The hotplate keeps the food warm while you are enjoying your meal! Awesome! You gotta love the peppery kick of this dish!

 

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Be sure to add these sauces to make it even better!

 

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The special honey brown sauce (Amakuchi) or garlic soy sauce (Karakuchi) or more black pepper ~~

 

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Salmon Pepper Rice is another option if you’re not a beef person

 

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If you love your steaks – Pepper Lunch offers premium marbled steaks! Here’s the Rib Eye Steak ~~ ooooo would you look at that!

 

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To enjoy your steak ~~ you first spread the signature butter around the steak like this ~~ oooooo

 

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You then turn it around for it to cook further ~~ enhancing the flavour ~~

 

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You can toss the garlic in as well to further add some oompph to your steak ~~ at this stage you decide on how done your steaks are – from medium rare to well done ~ it’s up to your preference ~~ the hot plate will be cooking at around optimal temperature ~~ 80 degrees C.

 

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oh ~~ did I mention their mashed potatoes are DELISH!? Thumbs up to sides ~~ which I normally don’t like but I can’t stop enjoying these!

 

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You can put the steaks on your vegetables to stop the cooking ~ this achieves two things ~~ you stop the meat from cooking further ~~ while also letting the meat juices fall onto the vegetables ~~ yay! ~~ note that meat will continue to cook as it still has residual heat ~~ so I usually prefer to cook mine medium rare then take them off the hot plate ~~

 

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Now ~~ you have the option of adding an egg to your steaks for just an additional 60 cents

 

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Same technique ~~ spread the buttery goodness ~~~

 

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Turn turn turn ~~ oooo that looks gooood!

 

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Put the yummy meat and egg on top of the veggies to stop cooking ~~

 

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SAUCE IT UP! w0000 ~~

 

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Bon Appetit ~~ or ITADAKIMASUUU ~~~ Here’s some egg porn ~~~

 

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If you think Pepper Lunch only has premium steaks – you are mistaken – they have also good quality fish in their menu ~ you can have Salmon or Saba Mackerel ~~ or BOTH!? Obviously we went for both ~~ I must say – they are delicious! Because I am in control of the cooking ~~ I can cook them just to my liking ~~~ perfect! Fresh and good quality fish!

 

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Drizzle with the delicious soy sauce ~~ and turn to cook ~~ yum yum!

 

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For those who can’t make up their mind on what they want ~~ they also have a mix grill! Hee hee ~~ The Hamburg is Pepper Lunch specially made patties that’s yummy too! It doesn’t lose out to the steaks I tell ya!

 

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We also checked out the chicken and cheese ~~ melty cheesy goodness on chicken (or beef if you choose)

 

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Turn it around ~~~ sizzle sizzle ~~

 

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Then add the lovely gravy ~~~ watch as the gravy sizzles! What a sight! You can choose your gravy or curry sauce!

 

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Mix mix mix ~~~ ooooo yes ~~ cheesy gravy chicken rice!

 

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For those who love egg and cheese – their Cheesy Omelet range will wow you over! You can choose from Chicken, Beef or Hamburg for the meats – or Tomato, Brown Gravy or Curry for the sauces ~~

 

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The cheesy egg on top of your rice looks beautiful doesn’t it? Die die also must hashtag #foodporn

 

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Cook your beef ~~

 

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Add the brown gravy sauce ~~

 

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Enjoy with the cheesy omelet rice ~~~ OMG OMG OMG OMG!

 

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Apologies ~~ Gomenasai ~~ this blog is here to make you hungry ~~ with thanks from Pepper Lunch ~~ *drools*

 

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Twin Hamburg with Cheesy Omelet ~~ woo hoo ~~

 

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Spread spread the butter ~~~ dum dee dum ~~ I am a pro now ~~ haha

 

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Pour the curry sauce ~~

 

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Enjoy with your cheesy omelet rice ~~~

 

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Another friend ordered steak with curry sauce ~~ oooh watch as she tears open that cheesy omelet rice!

 

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Dilys showcases her skill in mixing up her Chicken Curry Cheesy Omelet Rice ~~~

 

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Wait there’s more ~~ Pepper Lunch also serves some good sizzling pasta! My Brunei Foodie friends were happy snapping away for their Instagram and Snapchat!

 

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The sizzling beef aglio olio spaghetti ~~ oooh yes ~~

 

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They even got a creamy salmon spaghetti ~~

 

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add your creamy sauce ~~~

 

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Then stir and mix well ~~~~ oooh yesshh!

 

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You can add $3 to make it into a meal combo ~ where you have a drink and one side dish!

 

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It’s a shame we didn’t get to try this ~~ but I’ll look forward to it next time!

 

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Overall ~~ I love the concept of Pepper Lunch and the quality of the food has been good so far. It has given me the answer on why it is always crowded when I saw Pepper Lunch overseas. I hope they can maintain the consistency in terms of food quality and Pepper Lunch will be a major force in the Brunei Food Industry.

 

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Pepper Lunch Brunei’s first branch is located at Setia Kenangan 2 – the new blocks behind Regent Square Kiulap. They are on the same row as Library CafĂ© (opposite the Escape Rooms blocks)

 

Pepper Lunch Brunei

C9/10, Ground Floor, Setia Kenangan II, Kiulap

Opens 10am – 10pm

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