The mere mention of Japanese cuisine conjures up images of a sophisticated gastronomy. The palates of Mumbaikars have been responding gradually yet favorably to this refined culinary style that lays emphasis on being subtle in use of ingredients yet powerful in terms of creation. Kofuku, a notable restaurant in Bandra (West), Mumbai churning out some of the most remarkable sushi in the city has plans of taking this cuisine beyond the fine dining realm through it offerings. It intends to make this cuisine accessible and acceptable in a more casual and lively setting and by way of its sister concern the Kanpai Lounge & Bar.
Yes, Kanpai Lounge & Bar is a first of its kind Japanese cuisine centric lounge bar to grace the city. The menu boasts of some lip-smacking finger food created by Chef James Biaka and exciting thirst-quenchers. The dim amber lighting, spacious seating arrangement, walls adorned with comics by the Japanese artist Shohei Emura, theatrical motifs from the annual Nebuta festival in Japan and mellifluous Japanese music make Kanpai Lounge & Bar a chic destination for a memorable and classy evening.
Here is a look at my gluttony with a few of the amuse-bouche at Kanpai Lounge & Bar prepared by sous Chef Sanjay Rawat for a very special tasting soiree:
SALMON NIGIRI: A gorgeous, uniform cut of the Norwegian Salmon rested beautifully on a bed of pearly sushi rice in this quintessential sushi. Wasabi paste was sparingly interspersed between the rice and fish ensuring that the glory of the dish remained in its delicate flavor.
HAMACHI (YELLOW TAIL) CARPACCIO: In my opinion this was the best dish of the evening. Each element of this dish looked elegant on the plate and exposed the taste buds to different flavors and textures. The yellow tail especially sourced from Japan had a silky texture. Lacing it frugally with a sauce blend comprising of wasabi paste, yuzu juice and mirin went on to further elevate the flavor of the fish. The topping of a slice of jalapeno imparted a swift burst of spice with a bite into the dish.
CRISPY PRAWN CHEUNG FUN: This was an interesting style of dimsum where crispy chunks of tempura-style prawn were wrapped in a blanket of soft textured, starchy sheet. The dual textures in the dish gelled well together yet retained their individuality.
YAKI TORI CHICKEN: Yaki Tori is the Japanese style of skewering meat and grilling on charcoal fire. Leeks and just the right amount of Teriyaki sauce used in marination brought a beautiful sweetness while keeping the chicken succulent.
ROCK SHRIMP TEMPURA: This was my least favorite dish of the evening. The tempura batter coating on the shrimps was too thick and tough for my liking. Also, the shrimps seemed to have been overcooked leading to them gaining a chewy texture.
CRISPY AVOCADO CUCUMBER SUSHI: This was the only vegetarian dish I ended up eating during the evening and it comprised of a typical sushi rice roll with a center of veggies instead of fish. Pieces of nori, small cubes of cucumber and avocado especially sourced from New Zealand were mixed together and embedded in the rice. The sushi had lightly crunchy periphery and an unusual garnish of mayonnaise It was a refreshing dish perfect to be relished on a hot summer evening.
Although I do not consume alcohol, the cocktails at this lounge bar have such fascinating names that I was driven to find out more about their nomenclature and creation. Basis my interaction with the bar manager below is the information I could gather about a few of the cocktails.
Yuzu syrup especially sourced from Japan, gin and judicious amount of sugar were mixed together to arrive at this citrusy concoction.
This cocktail with a beautiful pink hue entailed a Japanese themed twist to the famous Cosmopolitan. Vodka was replaced with Japanese wine sake and mixed with cranberry juice and triple sec.
Wasabi paste, pickled ginger, tequila, lime juice and triple sec were brought together to create a robust cocktail with a powerful spicy flavor.
As for me I ended up consuming the standard lemon iced tea and fresh lime water to quench my thirst since I had to be at the wheel.
So do try out this place and let me know of your experience.
Till then, HAPPY EATING…
- Regional Indian Food & Travel enthusiast