Thrown into a whole gamut of unknown flavours from Japan, the end result was sheer happiness

Over the years conditioned by notions and a proletariat mind I assumed that Japanese food was about raw fish, eaten raw and relished raw by the largely experimental. The concept disturbed and restricted me to sticking to the run of the mill Indian-Chinese and Continental restaurants.

With a pair of chopsticks and some ultra-fine sake “Edo” the latest offering by the ITC stabbed to death my ill-informed judgments. The traditional Japanese welcome at the entrance is where the experience kick-starts. Tastefully minimalistic, the restaurant is backed by the music of soothing flutes and light drums. I felt like the protagonist in a Murakami novel.

They welcome you with a mocktail, “ryogoku sumo”, a drink made from fresh plums and soy milk, which is an integral part of sumo wrestlers' diet, especially in the Ryogoku area of Japan.

The Japanese take their food very seriously, and at no point did the Chef Miyazaki even pretend to make small talk while I sat across him at the sushi bar. He went about wrapping bits of fish in sea weed and grating little mounds of wasabi, his face in a permanent scowl. But the result of all that diligence was the perfectly rounded, and uniformly speckled with sticky rice, “uramaki roll”, a spicy tuna roll.

Eating sashimi called for more courage, a sliver of yellow fin tuna on a bed of sticky rice. Clenched firmly between my chopsticks I popped it into my mouth and tried to swallow it whole without allowing my taste buds to come in contact with it. I was too late, and what transpired after was an influx of flavours so distinct and none of them were fish.

The “yaki suzuki” (Chilean seabass), “gindara” (black cod) and “tsukune” (minced chicken dumplings on sticks) are all offerings from the robatayaki or the Japanese grill. Light and feathery they are eaten with a teriyaki sauce that adds a soft tang to the lightly broiled meat. The “kani salad”, which is a crab meat salad with flying fish roe, is a fine combination marked by subtlety and the meat doesn't overpower everything else.

The Tentsuyu sauce which comes with the Tempura made with soya sauce, sake and mirin, has a distinct taste which is accentuated by the sake. The “mizugashi” or dessert tray that arrived was a complete revelation. “Yuzu cheesecake”, “green tea ra misu”, “sesame ice cream”, how does one pick a favourite? While the cheesecake was a lemon flavoured cloud of happiness, the green tea ra misu accompanied by green tea shortbread and the sesame ice cream were exquisite adventures.

Edo is located at the Windsor Gardenia. For reservations please call 22119898.

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