Pretty in Pink: Cherry blossoms bloom in Mumbai with these special menus - Hindustan Times
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Pretty in Pink: Cherry blossoms bloom in Mumbai with these special menus

ByAbigail banerji
Apr 06, 2024 05:24 PM IST

From Kyma and Sesame by Hyatt Centric Juhu to Hakkasan, Japan's annual cherry blossom craze takes over the city

Last year in May, some 1.9 million people travelled from around the world to visit Japan to specifically see the Cherry Blossom trees in bloom, reported the Japan National Tourism Organisation. This annual festival is considered to be a must-visit and an at least once-in-a-lifetime trip by travel enthusiasts. Marking the beginning of Spring in the Asian country, the Sakura festival begins in March and is at its peak in April with the flowers in full bloom as streets and gardens are awash in hues of pink.

Cherry blossoms in bloom in Japan(Unsplash)
Cherry blossoms in bloom in Japan(Unsplash)

In Japan, during the cherry blossom season, it is common to find vendors selling foods and beverages that take inspiration from this festival. There are also several iconic dishes like Hanami Dango, cherry blossom raindrop cake, cookies, mochi and more, that are sold as people go to view these blossoms or Hanami (the act of sakura watching).

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Kyma's Japanese cherry blossom spread
Kyma's Japanese cherry blossom spread

Sakura fun comes to Mumbai

To experience this season in Mumbai, a few pan-Asian restaurants have introduced special Sakura-inspired menus. Kyma is taking its patrons on a culinary journey and offering their guests an opportunity to try some new dishes and sugar-free cocktails. From a refreshing Sake Lychee Martini, a crisp Shiragiku Highball or a celebratory Sparkling Sakura, these drinks complement the food that includes Futo Maki, a sushi filled with crispy vegetables or eels, Ebi Tempura (shrimp tempura) served with a dashi broth, or the Japanese savoury pancake Okonomiyaki. "Kyma's Sakura Festival is a celebration of the exquisite flavours and cultural richness of Japan," says Nikhil Rochlani, Managing Partner, adding, “It's an opportunity for our guests to experience the magic of cherry blossom season while savouring our culinary delights and artisanal cocktails.”

Sakura-inspired menu at Sesame by Hyatt Centric Juhu
Sakura-inspired menu at Sesame by Hyatt Centric Juhu

In Juhu, Sesame by Hyatt Centric Juhu is also celebrating this festival and have transported a magnificent sakura tree to their restaurant to serve as the focal point. Hand-painted cherry blossoms also adorn the space. Chef Rahul Shrivastava and his team have created a menu that includes Salmon Tataki with Shirae, a Scallop and Amaebi Ceviche and a Hanami Roll that will titillate your taste buds. "From the delicate flavours to the vibrant presentation, every element aims to capture the essence of Hanami and create an unforgettable experience that celebrates the fleeting magic of Spring," shares Chef Shrivastava.

Hakkasan's Chinese plum blossom menu
Hakkasan's Chinese plum blossom menu

Not going the traditional route, Hakkasan in Bandra has unveiled a special Plum Blossom menu for lunch. This five-course menu symbolises the first bloom of stone fruits of the year in China. Serving up traditional Chinese fare, the meal consists of a soup, followed by dishes like Har gau (Cantonese shrimp dumplings), crispy duck roll, carrot cake and more. Dishes with bold flavours like Sanpei chicken served in a clay pot with lots of dry red chillies, stir-fry lamb tenderloin, Szechuan mapo tofu and stir-fry lotus root are just some dishes on offer. They are also serving hand-pulled noodles, which can be called an artform in itself as it is a tough dish to master.

Desserts galore

Many years ago, the hard-to-recreate raindrop jelly cake was trending on social media, with several YouTubers showing how you can make it at home. Kyma is serving up this viral dish - a Raindrop Cake is a clear jelly adorned with strawberry and cherry blossom and served with fruits and red bean powder. Daifuku is a traditional Japanese dessert that is served during their age-old tea ceremony. At Kyma, they are serving a daifuku made up of mochi or a rice cake that is stuffed with red bean paste.

Cherry blossoms (Representational image) (Unsplash)
Cherry blossoms (Representational image) (Unsplash)

Mumbai, painted in pink!

Can’t plan an impromptu trip to Japan? Fret not! Mumbaikars can get a glimpse of these pretty pink flowers in the city itself. Grab some friends, family or your loved one, and head on over to Vikhroli. Along the Eastern Express Highway, in between the Vikhroli to Ghatkopar stretch, you will see hundreds of trees blossoming with these Japanese blooms.

While it is pretty common to see people walk along the footpath to soak in this surreal experience, it is important to remember that it is an expressway and one of the arterial roads that connects the city to several locations. Fast-moving vehicular traffic is common and it is best to stay within the footpath to avoid any untoward incidents.

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