Brand new location, Wakai, ushers Tokyo’s bustling restaurant and bar scene within the confines of an old mansion in bustling Mumbai Fort. Wakai means ‘young,’ and the welcoming facade with pink neon lights, Japanese umbrellas, and murals are the forerunners of the ambience and food to follow.
The lower level is home to a restaurant with background jazz music and murals depicting a black cat and Japanese anime characters. Flanked by a live sushi bar and liquor bar, the mezzanine sets the mood with house and techno music for party lovers. Alongside its founders, Shardul Singh Bayas and Sameer Tirani, chef Parvez Khan, who runs the kitchen, is also a partner.
Wakai Kitchen serves grilled robata, a variety of sushi and tempura delicacies. The presentation of a contemporary cold starter of wasabi cornettos in a corn wafer cone, spicy avocado topped with mayonnaise intrigued us and also delighted us with its delicious smoothness. Yasai tempura, made with fried seasonal vegetables made with eggplant, mushrooms and peppers, turned out to be another good choice.
Crispy tofu kuwayaki is like cottage cheese fritters with a drizzle of sauce topped with microgreens. Shatbhi Basu, India’s first female mixologist, exhibits her magic with cocktails. The cherry gin-tonic and citrus wasabi gin-tonic captured our fancy and did not disappoint – one deliciously pink and refreshing and the other a bold sparkle accented with fiery wasabi.
A visit to a Japanese restaurant without trying their sushi would be unacceptable. We ordered an asparagus, romanesco, shiitake and nasu (eggplant) veg moriawase. The vinegar rice imparted a tangy zest, while the fresh vegetables were crunchy and after being dipped in a sweet soy sauce, the fifth sense of Japanese cuisine, umami, gently tickled our taste buds.
The starter took off with the Toban Yaki Udon, a dish of stir-fried Japanese noodles accompanied by a wok of vegetables sautéed in a spicy sambal sauce. The udon noodles were thicker, mixed in a slightly spicy sauce with onion and peppers, and served in a shallow ceramic bowl. Baked sesame cheesecake, coconut cake, passion fruit mousse, brownie and Nama chocolate, we chose the latter. A plate of Sao thome chocolate ganache, chocolate earth, chocolate marten and seasonal berries delighted our sweet tooth.
For a gastronomic getaway in its unexplored hinterland, rest assured, Wakai pays a tribute to the Land of the Rising Sun!
(To receive our electronic paper daily on WhatsApp, please click here. We allow sharing of the PDF document on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)
Posted on: Sunday November 21, 2021 07:51 AM IST