Bangalore restaurant reviews Japanese


Monday, March 07, 2011Me! In words

We love Japanese food - but honestly speaking, for us Japanese was limited to sushi, sashimi, tempuras, miso soup... and that's about it. The invitation to visit Edo was to experience the restaurant and we jumped at the chance of being able to expand our repertoire in Japanese indulgence. We arrived at Edo in time for our 8:30 reservation. As you walk through the door, the restaurant manager and almost everyone who crosses your way greets you with a traditional, but really-fast-to-catch Japanese greeting. 

We were seated close to the robatayaki grill and had good view of the entire restaurant and the very interesting sake and shochu cabinet. The restaurant is not in-your-face Japanese in terms of decor, but the subtlety is what brings together the experience - the bamboo dining mats held together with vine, the wooden chopsticks, the angular plates and of course the sushi and robatayaki counters that flank the dining area. Edo is designed on the lines of an izakaya - a Japanese casual dining styled restaurant. While the atmosphere may be casual, that by no means describes the attention to detail when it came to the menu.

We were given an oshibori - a wet towel to clean our hands as is customary in Japanese restaurants. This came on small bamboo stands and were brought a welcome drink that was orange juice based. We were asked our preference in sake... and being the honest novices placed ourselves in the capable hands of the staff. What arrived at the table was Sekiyo Ginjo (a beautiful deep blue bottle), a cold sake served in small red and white shot glasses. The sake bottle placed in a small box with ice cubes to keep it the right temperature throughout the meal. We were told that this was a sake that would go well with every course and they couldn't have been more right. 

The oshibori, the welcome drink and a look at the table setting

Sekiyo Ginjo (sake in the red and white glasses)

The menu is an extensive one and prepared under Sensai Chef Miyazaki Yoshikatsu's guidance. We finally decided to go with the set meal (which let me tell you is nothing like set meals of the Indian context we are familiar with). There is the Kyoto - 9 course non-vegetarian meal and the Tokyo which comes with a few more. At Edo, freshness of ingredients is a priority - the restaurant gets its produce on a bi-weekly basis from Japan. Considering this to be a low season in terms of fish, the Tokyo is not offered to guests at such times. And so we got set for the Kyoto. 

While we were waiting for the first course to arrive, I just couldn't take my eyes of the fresh ingredients laid out for the robatayaki - the variety of fish, prawns, lobsters, chorizo and some interesting combinations of all is enough to tempt the most saintly. What this spread also drove home was the Japanese food is not all about fish and meat and raw foods, there is plenty for the vegetarians as well - the selection of mushrooms, peppers and more stood testimony. Those ordering robatayaki a la carte would be hovering around this table for a while.  

The selection at the Robatayaki counter (above and below)

Before I actually launch into the Kyoto meal, you should know that Edo is named after the Shogun ruled era of the same name. This was more of a renaissance period in terms of dining for Japan, where the food was elevated to another level with the introduction of sake and shochu and extensive means of cooking like robatayaki, tempura, sashimi, sushi and teriyaki all combined to make a meal. Keeping that in mind, here is a  pictorial description of the Kyoto meal.

Zensai - trio of starters L to R Tamago, Jellyfish, Crab strips in Mayo

Course 1 - Zensai or the appetizers which the chef will put together for you. We were served a trio of starters - the tamago, a sweet egg omelet, pickled jellyfish (yes, I know they are supposed to be poisonous, but we wouldn't have been served the poisonous ones right!) and crab strips in mayo. Each starter was a mix of tastes and textures - from the soft and sweet tamago, the vinegary, slightly rubbery jellyfish and the smooth and rich crab. 

Another look at the jellyfish and crab

Course 2: Sashimi - beautifully sliced Otoro - fatty tuna belly and salmon with wakame, a kind of seaweed. with wasabi and a light soy sauce. Fresh and delicious. An interesting twist here is the staff bringing on a small tray with graters of two types - one made of shark skin for the meat eaters and the other a regular one for the vegetarians. This is to grate fresh horseradish root into your soy sauce and believe me, you have to taste it to believe it. Now that's something you don't get to see too often. 

Sashimi - Otoro and salmon with wakame (above)

The graters for the horseradish. The shark skin one on the left (below)

Course 3 - Yakimono: A mix of poultry and fish from the Robatayaki grill. A beautiful looking plate of Chicken Tsukune (minced chicken balls on skewers) and Gindara, black pot fish. This is the first time we were having Robatayaki and it is a very moist version of the grills we are normally used to. Along with this we were served accompaniments of Shichimi, the Japanese 7-spice powder (hemp seeds, red chillies, szechwan pepper corns, orange peel, nori, poppy seeds and white sesame seeds) and teriyaki sauce. The textures in your mouth once you have dipped in both are brilliant.

Shichimi and Teriyaki sauce in the background
Chicken Tsukune and Gindara

Course 4: Nimono - Unfortunately the photo I took here turned out blur... so a description is all I have. Nimono is a stewed dish - ours came with steamed vegetables and sea bass in a Dashi, broth of seaweed and tuna flakes. There is not much spice to speak of here, but the textures of the vegetables with the fish is really interesting. 

Course 5: Sushi -My favorite round - a mix of nigiri sushi and maki rolls. We had salmon nigiri sushi and a salmon maki rolls. There was also ika sushi or squid sushi all of which was served with gari (pickled ginger and wasabi. And we asked for the little graters to be brought for some freshly ground horseradish. 

Sushi - salmon and ika nigiri sushi and salmon rolls

Course 6: Agemono A round I can safely safe I am familiar with. Our tempura baskets came with prawns, pumpkin and aubergine. The tempura batter was fried to a crisp with the vegetables being soft on the inside. The small white mound you see in front of the basket is daikon and ginger paste. 

Agemono - Tempura with daikon and ginger

Course 7: Syokuji - This is the must-have miso soup served with either rice or noodles. We got one of each so that we could get the best of both tastes. We had the Teriyaki noodles with chicken as well as the fried rice with grilled chicken. This along with the miso soup was great but trust me by the time we reached this course, we had to sit back and take a break. The fried rice is nothing like what most oriental restaurants serve and was great, steaming hot and uniquely spiced. The noodles were soft, slightly on the sweeter side and great. 

Miso soup above and the fried rice and teriyaki 
noodles with chicken below

Course 8: Mizugashi - By the time we managed to get to the desserts, we were stuffed to the brim and perhaps a little more. We sat back and enjoyed a pleasant chat with Chef Ashish who told us of Sensai Chef Miyazaki Yoshikatsu vision for the restaurant and how menus can be customized for guests who know enough of Japanese cuisine to experiment with it.

I was really wondering how Japanese the desserts could be and I got my answer in the creamy smooth green tea tiramisu. There was also a Yuzu berry flavored cheesecake topped with sour cherries and a salt biscuit icecream... all of which were yummy and were literally the cherry on the cake as far as the meal went. Course 9 was of course the best way to end a Japanese meal and that was the tea ritual Matcha.

Mizugashi: Green tea tiramisu, yuzu berry cheesecake, salt biscuit icecream

As we sat back after this stupendous meal the Sensai Chef Miyazaki Yoshikatsu himself came out to talk to us. As we were, Chef Ashish brought out some house chocolates which besides the miso soup was only thing junior had. We had decided early on that we would feed her at home and bring her... it will be a while before she can appreciate such cuisines. 

Edo is an experience in itself and one that you would love to have. The staff are extremely knowledgeable about the menu which is a plus point for those trying to familiarize themselves with the cuisine. The entire meal is melange of tastes, textures and even temperatures with courses alternating between warm and cold. And the set meal is a great way to sample all styles of Japanese cooking that Edo has to offer. The price for a Kyoto meal is Rs 3200. The sake is not included in the price and varies with the kind you order. Would I want to go there again - absolutely, there is so much more I would like to try and Sunny if you are reading this... one of these days we will make a plan to go here again together. 

Address: #1, Residency Road, Bangalore - 560025
Phone: 22119898
Cards Accepted: Yes
Parking: Valet

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