In a nutshell:
Chinjabi / japjabi lovers, pls avoid this place. Too authentic to b appreciated by most Indians. Too good for people who love authentic Japanese food & food adventurers with a really wide palate.
Meal for 2: Rs. 2000 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 everyWe & thing & 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:
Someone had balls of steel & a vision beyond ordinary to open a super duper authentic Japanese restaurant in butter chicken obsessed Delhi NCR. Result – the restaurant is almost always packed with guests – we were the only Indians in the restaurant the whole evening!!!! Thronged by the Japanese guests this restaurant really stands out from the rest.
The restaurant is located in Dia Park Premier Hotel that caters to Japanese clientele. The hotel website talks about few interesting things apart from swimming pool, gym etc. They have a ‘Japan Concierge’, where they have Japanese-speaking staff members. They have a large Japanese-style communal bathroom (separate for men & women) for people to relax after a long journey. The website also mentioned a bodywork salon, in which Japanese bodywork therapists provide treatments for guests with problems including stiff shoulders, lower back pain, heavy-feeling legs, joint pain, coldness, swelling, and eyestrain. Treatments are provided as appropriate for the symptoms of individual guests.
Coming back to the restaurant, the interiors of the eatery r simple and have subtle elements of Japanese décor. Simple wooden furniture. The tables have a drawer so that people can keep the menu card there & keep referring to that one after the other.
Service is good, fast & efficient but not warm. I don’t know if the people r warm to the Japanese guests but they appeared to b quite mechanical & robotic to us.
Like in Japanese & other far Eastern restaurants, there was a bell in each table. Whenever one wanted to order anything, a ring of a bell ensured that someone wud appear to take orders.
There r two Menu cards with separate items listed. One with items described in Japanese language only in Japanese letters & dish names written in English letters but in Japanese language. Needless to say I cud not read it & handed it back. The other menu card had descriptions & dish name in both English & Japanese.
We were in adventure mode – so we chose food that had interesting ingredients, without fully understanding what exactly it was.
Detailed description – in case u hv the time to njoy reading:
We started our evening with Maguro Natto – Slices of raw tuna fish mixed with fermented soya beans served with wasabi, seaweed, mustard paste & soya sauce. The raw Tuna was like any other sashimi – as good as it cud get. The thinly sliced seaweed was too little for its taste and flavor.
The shock of the dish was the fermented soyabean. I have had soyabean in many forms but do not remember it this way. The beans were soft but retained their original shape. There was absolutely n salt in it. There was a bitter aftertaste. The whole chunk of soyabean was sticky – the feeling that u get from raw cut okra / ladysfinger!!! After two bites we had no clue as to what was happening. My co-diner poured a bit of Japanese soy sauce served with the dish & we also mixed the mustard. And yes, that did the magic – from an almost inedible thing it transformed into an interesting dish.
I wud not rate this dish as I hv no benchmark. Wud advice all non foodadventurers to stay away from this.
Next dish that we had was Buta Negima – Diced pork & leek in skewers, lightly salted and grilled. Sliced pork was had a layer of fat, it had minimal salt, was very soft, it was dripping with juice and was chewy. Very nice and very subtle. Loved it. Rate it 4.25/5
We moved on to Ama ebi sashimi – Sweet shrimp sashimi. This was of course fresh raw prawn cleaned ell and processed. The shrimps were buttery and very good. Njoyed these with seaweed,wasabi and soy sauce. Prawn being subtle and not as strong flavours as say salmon was slighty overpowered by soy in terms of flavor. I liked them just as it is without soy as well. Rate it 4.25/5
Next dish we ordered was Shake Ekura Don – Vinegared rice topped with salmon sashimi & salmon roe (Raw fish egg). Salmon roe was, I wud say ‘imported from heaven’. Every piece of raw roe (fish egg) wud burst into a juicy mouthful of taste and robust flavours. The salmon sashimi pieces were excellent as well. NJOYed them with soy sauce & wasabi.
The rice was so good and so addictive that we kept nibbling at it inspite of deciding not to do that any more. Super flavors & great to taste. Rate this dish overall at 4.75/5
Next came Sakana to ebi syuumai – Steamed fish & prawn dumpling. The Dumpling was just outstanding. Just fish and shrimps and authentic flavours of ingredients . No external interference. Super loved it. Better than most such dumplings I hv had in a while. Rate it 4.5/5
Gyu fillet tataki – Slices of rare done tenderloin with tataki sauce.
Google baba led me to the meaning of tataki – The word “tataki” means “pounded,” but it does not refer to the preparation of the meat or fish. Instead, it refers to the ginger condiment in the soy based sauce. The ginger was originally pulverized by pounding it with a mortar and pestle. In a modern kitchen, of course the ginger may also be pureed in a food processor or shredded to a pulp with a fine grater.
The slices of rare done tenderloin were excellent when dipped in tataki sauce. Soft, juicy and just very tasty. Rate it 4.5/5
We had high hopes from Gyu Nin Niku yaki – Grilled diced tenderloin cooked in garlic extract. ‘Garlic extract’ in the description attracted our attention. The meat was super soft, juicy & very good. Extract of garlic was not obvious but what gave a strong garlic flavor was deep fried garlic slices. Loved this as well. Rate it 4.25/5
Curry rice – Japanese style pork curry served with steamy sticky rice. I heard that Japanese guys at thre restaurant like this Japanese dish very much. I did not like it ‘very much’. I found it just ‘good’ & not worth wasting belly space on this. I guess Indians make much better meat curry. The curry was subtle, had very soft and good meat pieces but there was something gelatinous in the gravy. Rate it 3/5
All the while we loved sipping into fresh hot Japanese tea that they were serving on the house. Really good & refreshing – acted as a palate cleanser between meals.
Overall rating of food at Raifu Tei averages out to 4.2/5.
I wud surely go back many more tines to explore the other hardcore stuff. What’s up in ur mind?