The Oriental chow-wagon is here to tantalize your taste buds with a mouth-watering gourmet experience. Sakura, a restaurant specialising in Japanese cuisine is here to make the oriental fare a household name.
The first things you will notice about the restaurant is the authentic Japanese décor. As soon as you enter, you get a sense of being transported to a different land. The charismatic blend of red hues with wooden furnishing is a treat for the eyes. Spacious and hospitable environment makes Sakura a perfect place to dine with friends and family in style.
The staff, impeccably dressed in traditional Japanese attire, takes great pleasure in running you through the menu, explaining the otherwise 'alien' dishes and also at times gently correcting your enunciation.
If you too are handicapped with chopsticks like me then you need not worry. Even though the staff tried in vain to teach me how to use them, I ultimately resort to using a fork and fingers. Well what is important is what goes into the tummy.
The piquant aroma of wasabi sets the ball rolling for the lavish lunch that follows. Shake Nanban (Rs.250) is the perfect appetizer. Generous chunks of salmon marinated in vinegar and sichini (Japanese garam masala) garnished with shredded red chillies, cabbage and carrot is a riot of flavours. The fish is tenderized in vinegar and blends perfectly with the added spices.
Another delicious offering by Sakura is their Tempura moria wase. Priced at Rs. 650 plus taxes, the assorted tempura platter is a delectable treat for those who can afford it. One quick-whiff of the tempura sauce reveals the zing, which is zesty on the palette as well. The cattle fish tempura is definitely their high point. The buttery flavour of cattle married with sting of tempura sauce is 'purist' thing.
The Ginmitsu Saikyo Yaki (Rs.800 plus taxes) is their signature dish. Served with a portion of seaweed and a slice of lemon, this dish is no fuss and pure indulgence. The grilled codfish is nicely crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. A simple few lemon drops and a dash of seaweed, Ginmitsu Saikyo Yaki is a glutton's kryptonite!
The sushi platter is an interesting assortment of California Roll (Rs 450 plus taxes) and Kappa Maki (Rs 150 plus taxes) served with Miso Soup. Interestingly in Japanese cuisine, soup is served as a part of the main course unlike an appetizer in the western cuisines. The soup is sipped directly from the bowl as a tradition.
Hidden under the multiple layers of rice and avocado is a generous portion of crab meat. The roll is dipped in soya sauce mixed with some wasabi and eaten as a whole. The flavours are subtle and the sweetness of the crab meat blends very well with the piquant Soya sauce. Kappa maki which is rice, cucumber, sesame seeds, wasabi and thin slice of raw fish wrapped in seaweed is utterly forgettable.
The dessert area was another disappointment. The Maccha ice cream (Rs100 plus taxes) or the green tea ice cream does not sit well simply because the ice cream tastes like green tea! Refrain from steering away from the familiar in this section.
Sakura also offers a selection of drinks ranging from the usual scotch whiskey and wine to authentic Japanese drinks - Sochu and Sakae.
The restaurant is definitely worth a try. The sushi here is one of the best I've ever eaten. Each piece is artistically crafted to perfection. It is a tad expensive on the pocket but for the chow lovers, Sakura is a must try.
An average meal for two costs Rs 3000 plus taxes.