Mumbai Food: Gastropub in Worli does justice to Japanese cuisine
First in mid-day: The dishes at an Izakaya-style gastropub make for a soulful Japanese meal
Since the age of 14, Lakhan Jethani was obsessed with Japan — from mangas to animes, he devoured it all. Later, he spent a month in Tokyo Cook, a cooking school in Roppongi, Japan and followed it up with hands-on training at the two-Michelin-starred Katsugyo Sugo.
After a stint under Thomas Zacharias at The Bombay Canteen, he has now joined hands with friend Vedant Malik to open Mizu, an izakaya-style gastropub that will launch this Saturday.
Sumessh Menon has designed the space, which has interesting elements like koi fish embossed on the white-marble bar, red and black touches on the wrought-iron facade of the kitchen front, and the painting of a Japanese lady printed on flex on the ceiling.
We love the purchasable knick-knacks on the walls that include ceramic tea pots and crockery made by Artichol, an art resort in Madhya Pradesh. Our heart is set on a tea pot with a chameleon -shaped handle.
Chicken oysters with crispy skin and yukari
Service picks up with chicken karaage open bao (Rs 495), which has a fine coating of Japanese seven-spice Togarashi and sesame on a bouncy bao that holds fried shisho leaves, chicken karage and a yuzu and kasundi mayonnaise.
The pork gyoza (Rs 495), marinated with naga chillies and mixed with fermented cabbage, has a crisp bottom, shiny coating and a soft bounce that comes from a mix of wheat flour, potato starch and Swiss bake flour. The cold ramen salad (Rs 385) is hand-pulled and has a creamy sesame miso dressing, with edible flowers adding colour and breaking any monotony.
Portobello mushroom yakitori. Pics/Oradeep Dhivar
From the vegetarian options, we try the smoked pumpkin and tempura aubergine bao (Rs 385) oozing with aioli and wasabi sauce. Cubes of tarty beetroot balance the sharpness of flavours.
The portobello mushroom yakitori is drenched in a blanket of cheddar and mozzarella cheese and wrapped cosily in zucchini skin (Rs 405). Who says yakitori involves only chicken?
Hakata chicken nabemono
But a classic round of dishes then commences with oysters with crispy skin and yukari (R445) and chicken thighs (Rs 445) that are skewered alternately with charred leeks. The sprinkle of finely chopped green garlic adds a local touch to the dish.
For the mains, we try the Hakata chicken nabemono (Rs 2,000) that is cooked for eight minutes at the table. The dashi broth with kombu seaweed and shaved bonito is umami at its best. Enoki mushrooms, chicken, spinach leaves and carrots float in an earthy, pungent pool.
Dessert involves another meal altogether and features items by food scientist and patisserie chef Nikhil Menon, such as kabocha (Rs 650), which looks like a parfait of yuzu fruit on a disc of milk chocolate spiced with toasted pecan. Our heart melts and freezes for autumn lantern (Rs 650), which actually arrives in the form of a lit candle that has an edible sugar case. Lift it and there's a caramel parfait on mint olive oil cake with a spurt of sake jelly.
Jethani's enthusiasm for doing justice to the cuisine and his excitement to show us elements from the kitchen — from dried bonito body to kombu — make for a crash course in Japanese cuisine.
Lakhan Jethani and Vedant Malik
On 12 pm to 1 am (dinner only till January 20)
At Ground level, Mizu, Atria — The Millennium Mall, Dr Annie Besant Road, Worli.
Talk like a Japanese
- Izakaya are informal neighbourhood bars.
- Donburi is the term used for rice bowl dishes.
- Togarashi is a spice mix containing mandarin orange peel, sesame seed, poppy seed, hemp seed, nori or aonori, and ground sansho.
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