The first shop Kanpai Izakaya opened in 1999. I went to the original Yakiniku shop in Taipei Zhongxiao East in 2002/3 by word of mouth recommendations from Taiwanese friends. Since then, it has expanded into several concepts, including Kanpai Classic.
Kanpai Classic is the high end brand for Kanpai group. It is still yakiniku, but the decor and quality of meat are all the tops. I tried the ones in Taipei, didn’t really like them as I still had fond memories of the original – free beef tongue if you kissed your partner (doesn’t matter man or woman), a free beer toast at 10pm, etc. Kanpai Classic opened their first shop in Xinyi district, and then expanded to Shanghai in 2015, and by 2016 got their first Michelin star.
Recently they opened in Shenzhen. Upon conversing with the staff there, it is a franchise, so the things you can get in Shanghai and Taipei may not necessary be available here. Half the time, they could not tell you what cut of the beef or what the taste profile (marbling, aging, etc).
We ordered Truffled Edamame as a starter, it was too salty and oily because of the truffle oil. First disappointment. I asked the staff about lettuce for wrapping the beef, they said it was not the way they eat the beef and so if I wanted some, it would be chargeable. Second disappointment.
I like short ribs as they have right marbling and when cut right, will bring out the best flavour profile for wagyu
The beef they used was Australian wagyu. And the present moment, China has not allowed Japanese wagyu to be imported freely, so the chance you are getting fake Japanese wagyu is almost certain. This particular cut was not as marbled as the short rib, but in order to enjoy the taste of beef, you need a good cut like sirloin.
The service was quite bad for a Kanpai brand. The staff was not well-trained about beef, and they pretty much murdered the good piece of meat. I would have done it myself if not that I was having a business dinner.
I was quite disappointed by this Kanpai. The food was OK for the price, and in Shenzhen this is what you get for fine dining.