In a nutshell:
Good Ambience, warm, efficient staff, great authentic Japanese food in Gurgaon – as good as it gets I guess. The huge Japanese population dining here everyday is perhaps a testimony to this.
Address & other details: Sakura
Meal for 2: Rs. 3000 onwards
Cuisine type : Vegetarian & Nonvegetarian
Disclaimer: All restaurants / eateries reviewed by YUMMRAJ were visited by YUMMRAJ himself & he has paid for the full Bill & tips also. http://www.yummraj.com does not have even one featured / sponsored reviews. YUMMRAJ believes in going to a restaurant in anonymity, as a normal guest, experience everything & give a honest account of the same to you.
I rate all the food items & then give a final overall rating which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster.
Short Description – in case u r in a hurry:
We had always heard great things about this place from our super foodie friend Aalok till we visited the Delhi sakura once for breakfast & for lunch on another occasion. Our expectations got exceeded in those two visits. So this time around we decided to visit the Gurgaon restaurant & check it out. We also made sure we try different things than what we tried at the Delhi outlet.
The restaurant is located in an Office building which is totally deserted in the evenings & full during the days (like any other Office building). So if u visit during the day u must do reservations. If u visit during evenings, even a bus load of people might b less to fill this restaurant up.
Like most Japanese restaurants, this restaurant has private Dining rooms – something that the Japanese guests prefer. Then there is also option to sit in the main dining room in tables of 2 & 4. There r planks on the sidewall with high stools for people who want to eat in a bar kind of setting. As we entered the restaurant we saw a large bar on the left & there were seats around that as well.
The décor was good but nothing extraordinary.
The staff members serving us were knowledgeable enough & cud explain all the dishes. They cud also handle all questions on food & ingredients. The staff was attentive & efficient as well.
Food was super good & authentic. Most of the dishes were as good as what I have had during my visits to Japanese Restaurants in China & Far East Asian Countries. Must say that u might not love everything first time in case not used to Japanese cuisine. It grows on u.
I have heard people say this place is expensive. I think this is as expensive as any other Japanese restaurant in Delhi NCR. It is not more, not less. It is however more expensive than the ubiquitous butter chicken & gobhi mancurian joints.
Detailed Description – Read it only when not in a hurry:
We started our dinner with Chawanmushi. This one came in a closed porcelain look-alike container, the size of a coffee mug. On opening the lid what cud b seen inside was visually (texture-wise) close to a Parsi Lagan nu custard.
Unlike the custard, Chawanmushi was completely white though. It was essentially egg white and assorted seafood and mushrooms baked together. Super loved this one again. So real and so good. The salt was perfect and the taste great. Rate this dish 4.5/5.
Post this we ordered Kanimiso – crab brain paste mix with miso. When this was served in a super tiny bowl, we thought it to b some dip, like in Indian restaurants chutney is served. What was in the bowl was a tiny scoop covered with a thin slice of lemon, the whole thing sitting on a bed of lettuce. When we came to know this was the dish, we looked at each other in amazement.
As the food landed on the taste buds, we realized the magic. Wow. Intense paste with crab brain flavor overflowing from all over. Taste was a hint of miso and a lot of crab brain. Super loved it and rate it 4.75/5. Try this in case if u r a food adventurer / hardcore crab lover. Else u can give it a pass. It is surely one of those things which u can either love or hate but cannot ignore.
The next item we ordered was Hourensou bata bacon itame – sliced pork and boiled spinach sautéed with butter and soy sauce. As soon as this landed on the table, I got a sense that this is not only authentic but also good. A journey of the food to the mouth confirmed my thoughts . This was exactly what I have eaten in Japanese Restaurants Far East Asian countries in the company of my Japanese friend.
It was a soupy liquid that had soaked on the best of fresh spinach and sliced pork (including melted fat). Sesame seeds strewn from the top. Wah wah. Felt like bowing to the creator in Japanese style. Super loved it and rate it 4.75/5.
Post this we ordered Yose nabe – It was five kinds of fish, oyster, chicken, assorted vegetables and tofu cooked in soy sauce flavored broth. This was served on a burner & as it arrived on the table, I remembered my previous experiences of Japanese food in other Asian countries outside India. Exactly same looks, exactly same taste & feel. Loved every bit of it. Zero Indianization. Loved it & rate it 4.5/5.
As we were on a culinary high, we ordered our last dish for the evening – Cubed tenderloin carrots and onions cooked in thick Japanese curry served with rice miso soup, salad, pickles and fruits. This one turned out to be very good as well but not as awesome as the rest. Melt in mouth chunks of tenderloin in a curry served with rice. The rice was sticky & truly Japanese. I rate this dish 4/5.
We ended our meal with the fruit served in the rice platter. The melons were fresh & juicy.
Rating of food at Sakura averages out to 4.5/5.
On the way out, we met a group of Japanese people who had just dined at Sakura. I asked the group ‘Hello, Does anyone speak English’? One said ‘yes’. I asked ‘How do u find this food as compared to a restaurant in Tokyo?’. He said food is almost similar to / as good as what u get in Tokyo. Prices r high by Indian standards. Less/OK by Tokyo standards’.
Needless to say I will surely revisit but will not really take anyone who is yet to develop the taste for Japanese food unless the person is a food adventurer. This food is just too authentic & non-Indianized for the rest.
In short, u can love it or hate it but cannot ignore it. It makes its own statement.