Mumbai to Japan via Thailand
Bandra's A-rate Thai restaurant goes live with its first Izakaya promotion. We tried pocket-friendly oknomiyaki and loved it
Asian cuisine is enjoying its moment in the Mumbai sun. Armed with a greater awareness of international food through travel, social media, and most importantly, because of the exposure to varied cuisines, right here in the city, diners are now open to looking beyond tried-and-tested dishes. It corroborates with the slew of Asian openings and zany pop-ups being hosted at different eateries.
"People want to try Japanese fare that goes beyond sushi, tapenyaki and ramen," Karan Bane tells us as he launches a month-long Japanese promotion at his restaurant, Seefah. The chef, who trained for four years in the Asian cuisine during his stint at a five-star, says the inspiration came from his travels to the country in March last year for the sakura (cherry blossom) season.
"We had been thinking about doing this for a while, but at The Blue [his eatery shut down last year], there wasn't enough space to execute some of these dishes," he explains, adding, "Last month, Seefah [Ketachaiyo, Bane's wife and partner at the restaurant] and I visited Thailand, from where we picked up ingredients for this menu because most of them are not available in India."
The spread features lesser-known eats like geso age soy (Rs 425), which is fried squid tentacles, although this variant is a little too oily and chukawakame seaweed (Rs 375), a Japanese seaweed seasoned with sugar, vinegar, sesame oil and sake.
The delicacy has a slimy texture and a pungent smell, so steer clear if that's not your style. The okonomiyaki (Rs 400) — a kind of Japanese savoury pancake — made with veggies, seafood, tonkatsu sauce and bonito flakes is robust, but could taste better with less mayonnaise. And the true hero of the menu is a roasted tenderloin salad (R550) where the cold marinated meat served along with rocket leaves and an onion dressing explodes into a riot of flavours elevated primarily by the mirin and rice vinegar. The tuna poke bowl (Rs 990), too, is a holistic dish featuring tuna with wasabi, ponzu and sriracha mayo.
The spread is delightful, if not at par with the fare at newly opened Japanese eateries in the city, but what sets it apart are the prices, which makes it possible for even those without deep pockets to steal a taste of Japan.
At Seefah, Hill Road, Bandra West.
Till July 21, 12 pm to 3.15 pm; 7 pm to 11.15 pm (closed on Mondays)
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