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Japan comes to Delhi

An increase in the number of Japanese MNCs has triggered the sushi boom in Delhi, writes Girija Duggal.

india Updated: Jan 04, 2008 16:28 IST
Girija Duggal

There are three kinds of people those who develop a liking for Japanese cuisine; those who like Japanese cuisine; and those who pretend to like Japanese cuisine," announces Aubrey Muller worth, general manager, The Metropolitan Hotel.

Delhi's population can increasingly boast of all three kinds. And such is the popularity of the cuisine that this year, the city is slated to have eight to 12 more Japanese restaurants and sushi joints.

Foodie's paradise
According to figures provided by a source at the Japanese embassy, the number of Japanese MNCs in India has risen exponentially in the last two years from 320 in 2005 to 480 currently.

The Japanese expat community in the city also promises to be a major target segment in the coming months. Konomi counts professionals from Suzuki and Honda among its regular clients while 19 Oriental Avenue regularly play host to Nissan, Yamaha, Denso and Honda employees.

"There was a considerable representation of Japanese companies in India and our research indicated that this would continue to be a growth segment in the next five to 10 years," says Mullerworth.

Yet, it is dilliwallas who is proving to be the major patron. As things stand at Sushiya, for example, 90 per cent of the clientele is local and only 10 per cent Japanese expats.

"The percentage has certainly grown over the years with the weightage towards the non Japanese diners increasing," adds Mullerworth.

What's ahead...
But as they say all good things come at a price, a Japanese meal for two at a high end restaurant costs Rs 2,000 while sushi takeaway have tried to keep the prices low: at Rs 250 for a box of 10 sushi pieces.

Concurs Manish Gupta, F&B Manager Taj Mahal, "Already you can see the signs (of popularity) - lots of sushi counters and teppanyaki grills which are doing well."

Those who are health conscious are game too, as it is for this non-oily and nutritious food, according to Rohit Bajpai, assistant F & B manager of 19 Oriental Avenue.

The ever-increasing numbers Delhi got its first flavour of authentic Japanese food few years back, thanks to The Ashok's venture, Tokyo.

Tokyo has shut, but others have moved in to fn the vacuum. Today, one can count more than 15 restaurants serving Japanese cuisine in the city Enoki Yakitori at The Grand, TK's Oriental Grill at the Hyatt Regency, Konomi at the Trident-Hilton and 19 Oriental Avenue at Shangri-La are among the few Joints to be opened in 2008.