It's new and totally you at Bandra's Aoi
Aoi, the five-month-old Japanese restaurant near Mount Mary Steps in Bandra, has added several mouth watering dishes in their seasonal new menu. And this includes a special YOU menu comprising winning recipes suggested by regular patrons in an online contest,finds Dhiman Chattopadhyay
All the eight or nine tables at the restaurant are taken when we walk into Aoi on a Monday night. “Yes I paid them all to come so that it doesn’t look empty,” jokes Mitesh Rangras the owner and head chef at this Japanese joint.
We have starved for five hours to build up an appetite for this meal, so we waste no time in getting down to business. Aoi has just introduced an entirely new menu with a page dedicated to loyal patrons who are passionate about food.
The YOU menu is a unique concept. Aoi held an online contest sometime ago where foodies from around the world sent in their favourite Japanese recipes to the restaurant. The six winning entries have found place in the special menu, which also mentions the names and email ids of the winners.
“Japanese food is all about freshness and technique. So we tried out all the recipes suggested by guests before finally settling for these five,” says Rangras.
So we pick the Pokchoy wrapped white fish, charcoal grilled (Rs 300) -- a winning recipe by Megha Ghosh. Wherever she found this recipe, God bless her! For it’s divine.
We are in for a treat anyway. Next up is the Beef Yaki (Rs 450). The meat is marinated with tobanjan paste and light soy sauce and then char grilled. It’s over even before the chef explains the contents of this item to us. It’s a great start.
But we are here to review the new menu and we are determined to make a thorough job out of it. So the food keeps coming. The Salmon Nigiri is good as is the Mushroom Yakitori. We are told that many confirmed carnivour too love this dish. We want to avoid too much of vegetarian stuff but the Rock Corn tempura (Rs 325) bowls us over completely. Tangy and mildly spicy, these crispy dumplings tossed in Japanese hot mustard is just perfect for a rainy evening. The Genmaicha (Rs 150) (A Japanese roasted green tea with a slight nutty flavour) goes well with it.
Next up is the Gunkan sushi with smoked salmon and cream cheese and the Tuna Tataki sushi (Rs 500). I love the former with its smoked after taste but the Tuna Tataki leaves me a tad disappointed. Maybe I don’t like the Yuzu butter.
But the Tempura prawn temaki (Rs 350) with shibazuke pickles and cream cheese mayo more than makes up. It’s not just yummy but just looks so stylish you almost want to keep it on your mantle piece.
We finish off with an unique Chocolate sushi. Chocolate in sushi? Fear not it only looks like a Sushi but is actually crispy chocolate with caramel and coconut cream glaze. It’s a meal worth getting wet in the rain on a Monday night. We suggest you try it out.
We cannot rate the experience as it was a preview
At: 1, Gloria, St John Baptist Road, Bandra (west)
Call: 98 20387694