Talking about Japanese cuisine – it used to be always “Sushi” in my mind – until I visited Matsuri recently. Matsuri is part of the Chancery Hotel, in the heart of the city. The moment you enter, the subtle décor of this Japanese restaurant brought a sense of celebration – which can be linked back to the name. An individual goes to a place for the food or the ambience, this place can boast of both. I would also like to mention that the chef here is from Japan, and he made it a point to visit us at the dinner table and even helped me as I struggled to get the chopsticks right. Later, in this happy pursuit, I realized I missed the actual sushi’s.
I also observed, there were very few (say almost nil) Indians dining at the restaurant, mostly expats were dining at that point of time. There were some in groups, some enjoying their meal alone at the sushi bars.
So, coming back to food – here’s the list of dishes we tried:
Okura no wasabi-ae – blanched diced ladies finger, wasabi flavoured, I did not know okra or ladies finger can be in this form too, it was very nice.
Hourensou goma-ae – Spinach with sesame dressing – again novel for me.
Dashimaki tamago – for an ardent egg-lover this fluffy, slightly sweetened rolled omelettes, cut into pieces were new and amazing. They were light.
Here comes what I loved with my heart and soul – Nikujaga : Stewed beef and potato in sweetened soya sauce. The chunks of beef, just added the perfect touch to this stew. In a little more quantity – this can be my dinner any day.
Along came Tori no karaage (Japanese fried chicken), Ika no karaage (Japanese fried squid rings).
Can Japanese food be complete without Tempura & Sushi – we had the Tempura no moriawase (batter fried prawns) & Sushi moriawase (special mixed sushi platter).
The platting of the tempura reminded of the sakura in bloom.
Firstly, commenting on the sushis – each one, in terms of portion, outdoes any sushi I have seen or tried so far. I had in a couple of other places recently too – however, these were much bigger than any of them. I loved the Salmon, the most. It might sound like an Oxymoron, however, they also served veg sushis for all those in India who would love to experience sushi too.
We also tried their Miso soup.
In the mains we tried:
Yasai itame (stir fried vegetables), Tofu no teriyaki (grilled tofu with sweetened soya sauce, I would say it was an average fare) & the Gyu Steak (the beef was just perfect for me). In noodles we tried the Teppan yaki udon (Fried udon noodles with pork and vegetables) & Ebi tempura udon (udon noodles soup served with batter fried prawns).
Though we were a pack of 6 diners – you can well estimate, we were too full to try desserts. However, as the Indian heart cannot end the meal without the sugar rush – we ordered for something mildly sweet and they recommended – Dorayaki pancake with ice-cream, the filling was of a bean jam, very unique in taste. I would say, there is a kinship to rajma if used in similar manner.
As they have lot of expats and business clients, they also have a translator around all the time. She has even picked up a few expressions in Hindi, from her tenure in Delhi. If I must take my office colleagues or clients out for dinner – I think this will be my first choice, if they ask for Japanese meal.
We ended our meal with some some green tea.
The sense of beauty in the Japanese is so deep – a visit to the lady’s washroom will tell you, they know how to put the obvious so barely open in front of the eyes, yet in an embellished manner.