What’s more Japanese than a Honda? – Miyuki @ DoubleTree by Hilton, Chinchwad #FTW

For all its stunning panoramas and rich culture, the land of the rising sun is known also for its awe inspiring food. The Japanese are sticklers for presentation and detail and it shows, especially when you visit an authentic japanese restaurant that draws Japanese regulars from across Pune by the half-dozens. Why ‘half-dozens’, you ask? ‘Coz Miyuki only seats 7. That’s why. And yes, Miyuki is about as authentically Japanese as it gets.

Cooking Sake and Miso
Cooking Sake, Miso and other traditional Japanese Ingredients

Chef Amarjeet, who has been cooking up Japanese food-storms for some eight-odd years now, hosts the exclusive kitchen that serves all of 7 guests per sitting, in a cozy corner of the DoubleTree by Hilton (Chinchwad). On offer is everything ranging from Sushis to Sashimis to Tempuras to SAKE !!! #AwwYeah

I’ll get to the what’s what but for now, let me re-emphasize that Miyuki is all about an unadulterated Japanese experience, that’s to be shared with only a handful other adventurous gastronauts at a time, and is not for the faint-hearted (I’m talking raw fish, here).

seating arrangement
So the restaurant is a snug little place that’s comprised of but one L-shaped serving table surrounding the Teppan, or the iron girdle. This serving style is called Teppanyaki, where the food is cooked on the gas-powered flat iron girdle and is often served to guests, piping hot, right off the cooktop. Not all the food was cooked in front of us but a lot of it was, and the dexterity with which Chef Amar did his thing was a sight to behold.

Sake
So our evening began with a chilled sake – it was dry, a tad acidic, and there was a faint aroma that almost lingered for a second or two…kinda like wine. Maybe because it is wine; rice wine, that is.

Italian rose
We also had an Italian Pinot Noir – Rosé, – a delicately fragrant, mildly floral and very smooth wine. What was even more appetizing was the color of the wine – a gorgeous pink !

Mojito
One of us even had a good ‘ol Mojito – an absolute classic ! The barman sure knew his Mojitos !

CUCUMBER WRAP SUSHI
Next came the cucumber wrap sushi – typically served during celebrations, this sushi can be prepared in a number of ways. Ours came packed with saku tuna and Philadelphia cheese; a rather interesting medley of tangy-creamy and a clean, smooth flavor of the tuna. What was I celebrating? The end of world hunger – starting with me.

NASU DENGAKU
What was served after that was probably my favorite, that evening, the Nasu Dengaku – a miso glazed eggplant preparation that’s served during summers. Why? Why do they serve ‘aamras’ in Summers? ….exactly ! The preparation had a lovely mushy texture and the sweet-tangy miso married with the baked cheese really well. This is something you’ve got to try !
Oh, and miso is basically fermented soybean paste. A rich, dense, flavorful paste that forms the base for a lot of Japanese preparations.

maguro tataki
The Maguro Tataki followed, which was basically a Sashimi (very fresh, raw/near-raw meat) of tuna that was seared on an open fire and served with a refreshingly citric Ponzu (Japanese lemon+soy) sauce. Kinda reminded me of West Bengal’s ‘Gondhoraj Lebu’ because it was so beautifully aromatic !

veg tempuraseafood tempura
We also called for Tempuras : Vegetable and Seafood –
Deeeeep fried crispy, crunchy veggies, prawns and fish served with green tea salt and tempura sauce. This is how you spend a Saturday night, if you ask me !! What was interesting to note was the deep-fried soba noodles held together with seaweed, garnished alongside the tempura platter…that cute little broom was edible !!

cheese balls
For our vegetarian friend, there were cheeseballs that had nothing to do with Japan, but they were served nonetheless and were just as awesome as the rest of the food on the table.

So all of the preparations so far had come from the kitchen. The rest of it was made in front of us, on the teppan, in this order –

grilled seabass
Grilled Seabass – a teppanyaki-style cooked seabass in lemon butter garlic sauce that went very well with the meat and the pak choi as well.

tofu steak
Tofu Steak – Grilled Japanese Kinu Tofu blocks that were surprisingly soft despite the tempura flour coating. The sweet soy sauce glazing rendered it a nice zing, too !

YAKI MESI WITH MISO SOUP
Yaki Mesi with Miso soup –
Fried rice made on the teppan. Not as awesome as the other teppanyaki preparations, but more elaborate and elegant. The miso soup, though, was delish !

cut fruits and mango ice cream
We ended the meal with a beautifully creamy Mango ice-cream and fresh, cut fruits. They did have other dessert options but given that we’d been dabbling in the exotic all evening, we thought something simple would be nice !

All in all a great experience – the exquisiteness of it all was what really won it, for me ! Definitely a great place for a change of palate for when you’re bored of the conventional.

Food – 45/5
Service – 5/5
Ambience – 4/5
Value for money – N/A (invited)

Miyuki - DoubleTree By Hilton Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Kickass Alternative Cuisine At Shizusan, Viman Nagar

What do Naomi Uemura, Hyōichi Kōno, Yoshiharu Sekino, Norio Suzuki and Shizusan have in common? They all love to travel. Except Shizusan is cooler. Like way cooler. And he can pack a mean sushi.

shizusan chillin.jpg
Shizusan be chillin

See, traditionally, Washoku is based on rice, stock, seasonal ingredients and side dishes but Shizusan wanted something different. So he set on a year-long journey across Asia to get inspired and bring home some of the cooking styles he learned on the streets of China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia and add a dash of awesome to them. He invited us to sample some of his finest, and the below is an excerpt from our gabfest with him.

Shizusan (S): Yōkoso, Akshay-san !
Akshay (A): Konbanwa, Shizusan !

S: I know I know, my home may not be as big-o and bright-o as that 212 across the courtyard . . . yes, same land-lord but different Philosophy.

A: Yeah, love the easygoing ambience…its…real cozy?! Anyway, so let’s get started, then?
S: Ganbarimasu !

S: Kokodesu – Vegetable Chui Chow Dumpling
A: Mmm….tofu, mushrooms, peanuts in a paper thin pouch…earthy, nutty…and lovely touch with the chili oil !
S: Arigatō!
veg dimsums.jpg

S: Kokodesu – Prawn and Chive Dumpling, from my time spent in Malaysia
A: Love the green color. There’s a distinct crunch from the prawns and an almost onion-ey taste from the chives.
S: Hai
prawns open dumpling.jpg

S: Kokodesu – My Signature Chicken Soup Dumplings. You break-o with the chopstick and drink-o the soup first. Then you eat the dump-o-ling.
A: Hot damn, Shizusan ! This is sheer genius ! *breaks fourth wall* You guys have GOT to try this. The chicken broth is nice and earthy and the minced chicken in the dumpling just disappears in the mouth !
S: Arigatōgozaimashita !
soup chicken dumpling.jpg

S: Kokodesu – My signature 17 ingredient slaw
A: I can see the red onions, the dressing is lovely, too. And what were the secret ingredients again?
S: Chinmokuhakin’nari
A: Say what?
S: It simply means Silence is Golden, its an old Japanese Proverb. And the recipe’s a trade secret, Baka !

S: Kokodesu – Vietnamese Watermelon Salad
A: This is kinda like 212’s watermelon and feta salad, only that additionally, there’s fresh radish, mint, cilantro, there’s a lovely crunch from the toasted almonds and the garlic soy dressing is … what’s that word … ‘Sugoi’ !
A: Arigatōgozaimashita !
watermelon salad.jpg

S: Kokodesu – Pepper Garlic Mushrooms
A: Must…stop…popping…mushroom…after…mushroom….these are unbelievable ! Did you say these were tossed in Thai basil and wine? Must be the wine. Has to be the wine.
S: . . . *poker face*
mushroom starter.jpg

S: Kokodesu – Chilli Celery Cottage Cheese
A: Paneer !
S: No, cottage cheese
A: *poker face*..anyway, love how hot it is from the sichuan peppers and the dried red chillies ! Now where did I keep my glass of Watermelon Lemonade, again?
paneer starter.jpg
watermelon lemonade.jpg

S: Kokodesu – Malay Style Chicken Satay
A: Sooo tender ! The freshness from the lemongrass is evident but the punch from the bird’s eye chili, not so much…
S: Hai, noted, Akshay-san !
satay chicken.jpg

S: I will start with the sushi now
A: Bring it on !
S: Kokodesu – Asparagus Tempura
A: Tempura-fried asparagus core covered in nori….and that’s a black sesame crust…Interesting ! The rice is really well packed, and the piquant flavors of the dressing are really coming out ! *breaks fourth wall again* Guys, you have GOT to try this one, too !
asparagus tempura.jpg

S: Kokodesu – Quinoa Maki
A: The grainy texture of the quinoa is a fresh change from the sticky rice…the pickled veggies are a nice touch, too !
S: Arigatō!
kinoa maki.jpg

S: Kokodesu – Dynamite Shrimp
A: Shrimp tempura and mayo – you know what always works? Fried shrimp. This one’s a winner, Shizusan !
S: Arigatōgozaimashita !
prawns sushi.jpg

S: Kokodesu – Rainbow Maki
A: Wait… wait, let me get photos of this beauty….
S: . . .
A: okay, so it’s supposed to have tuna, salmon, crab stick, cucumber…love the tobiko garnish.. good stuff, Shizusan !
S: Arigatōgozaimashita !
rainbow maki.jpg
rainbow sushi.jpg

S: Kokodesu – Stir Fried Oriental Greens
A: its….fresh…and a little too light, maybe? The garlic-soy can come out more, no?
S: Hai, I will make note of this. Arigato, Akshay-san !

lamb chops.jpg
Pattani Lamb Chops (which I didn’t have) with the Stir Fried Oriental Greens in the backdrop

S: Kokodesu – Minced Chicken Kaprow from my time spent in Thailand
A: Flavor burst in every bite ! Love the texture, too !
DPP07E0030C0E3640.jpg

S: Kokodesu – Hot Stone Rice. I’ll mix the Thai red curry with the white rice in front of you, now !
A: The curry is amazing – spicy, tangy-sweet. More savory than sweet, of course. Still, scope for the flavors to come on more strongly, Shizusan !
S: Hai, I will make note of this. Arigato, Akshay-san !
rice mains.jpg

 

S: Kokodesu – Phad Thai Noodles
A: Now this is well seasoned ! sweet-spicy flat noodles done to perfection !
S: Arigatōgozaimashita !
phad thai.jpg

S: I will bring-o the desserts-o now
A: Aw yeah ! The good stuff !
S: Kokodesu – Lychee and Date Wontons
A: Yeah, the flavors are subtle..maybe too subtle…still, the combination of this with the ice cream is really good.
S: Arigatō!
darsaan.jpg

S: Kokodesu – Tiramisu Asia
A: Wait, green tea sponge?! Whoa ! the coconut-ey texture with the creamy mascarpone is to die for, Shizusan !
S: Arigatō, Arigatōgozaimashita !
tiramisu.jpg

S: Kokodesu – Peanut Butter Pie
A: And I thought Snickers was as good as peanut-butter could get. This stuff is SICK !
S: it make you sick?
A: No, no…sick as in kickass
S: you kick-o my ass? I’m a Jujutsu expert, Akshay-san.. you don’t want……
A: awesome….It’s awesome…there…that sound better?
S: oh…I thought you high, Akshay-san…and without alcohol..ha ha !
A: *epic poker face*

A: My turn to say Arigatōgozaimashita !!! *bows*

====And that’s the end of that story====

So, all in all –
Food – 4/5
Service – 4.5/5
Ambience – 4/5
Value for money – N/A (invited)

In summary, a great place to catch a kickass alternative cuisine with a twist when you’re not feeling like ‘the usual’ ! Cheers !

Sorry for the long post, here’s some more photos of stuff I didn’t have –

fish mains.jpg
Steamed Thai Fish
mutton dimsum.jpg
Lamb Suimai
porkribs.jpg
Baby Back Ribs – they said this was divine. Disclaimer – They said.

 

Shizusan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato