Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Megu is the only restaurant in India that serves Dobinmushi

MEGU Delhi is well known for its stellar quality of Japanese food, impeccable service and luxe ambience that includes a signature Crystal Buddha elevated over a pool of rose-petal water with a beautiful 800-pound Japanese Bonsho bell suspended from the ceiling. We’re told that pouring water over the Buddha statue is a calming ritual that is also symbolic of cleansing our own minds. In this serene setting we’re introduced to Chef Masahiro Kinoshita, the new Masterchef at the helm of MEGU’s modern Japanese kitchen.

Top: Edamame with Sea salt; Lamb Chops and Chilean Seabass; Scallop.
Bottom: Sushi and sashimi platter with Sake.

Chef Masahiro Kinoshita brings with him more than three decades of experience that started in Japan, traversed through Korea and Dubai, back to Tokyo and now India. For Delhi particularly, he has created dishes that are ideal for the summer as well as a range of vegetarian fare to cater to the ever-increasing popularity of Japanese food in the Capital.

For starters the Creamy Wasabi Tofu is a wonderful new addition that will appeal to non-vegetarians equally. Similar to the traditional shira ae, which is also on the menu, the silken texture of the creamed tofu is enhanced with heritage tomatoes, kinzanji miso, and MEGU dressing that has flavours of fermented barley and wasabi. Sweet Corn Miso Soup, is light and perfect for Delhi’s soaring temperature. Potato noodles add a bite to the flavouful broth while a subtle crunch as well as colour comes from beetroot tanuki. But we’d say that the Dobinmushi is the real star! Introduced for the first time in India, this delicious seafood broth is served in a ‘dobin’ tea-pot with chunks of seabream, chicken, shrimp, eringi and ginkgo. I agree with my companion who states that ‘the soup is addictive’, in that the flavour is so beautiful that one compulsively goes for the next bite. But stop one must because there are many wonderful dishes that need to be savoured equally. Chef Masahiro’s signatures - Crispy Rice with hand chopped tuna in wasabi mayonnaise, topped with tobiko and Crispy Unagi with shrimp tempura, eryngi mushroom, tobiko, crab meat and sambal sauce – have an inimitable crunch as well as a mélange of flavours even in their bite-sized portions.

Clockwise from Top Left: Crispy Rice with Hand-chopped Tuna;
 Creamy Wasabi Tofu; Dobinmushi; Sweetcorn Miso Soup.

While he has experimented with modern techniques, Chef Masahiro’s roots clearly lie in traditional Japanese cooking. Born in Kumamoto, Japan, he learnt the ropes from the basic, traditional Japanese cooking techniques to the more advanced where he mastered the fine art of cutting live fish for sashimi. Amalgamating his experience and the modern Japanese cuisine of MEGU led him to create some radical dishes as well. Baked Tomato and Avocado Tobanyaki is one such example. Topped with parmesan and cheddar cheese one would mistake it to be of Italain/Mexican origin. But with the addition of white miso and some special herbs that are flown in from Japan (along with all the fresh seafood that is procured from Japan's historic Tsukiji Fish Market), this comforting dish becomes inherently Japanese.

Top: Salted Caramel Chocolate Fondant.
Bottom: Creme Brûlée with Tahiti Vanilla.

Amongst the mains we recommend the BBQ New Zealand Lamb Chops from the Binchotan grill that are served with a rich garlic soy sauce and a creamy avocado mash and the Grilled Chilean Sea Bass with barley miso and soy glaze. Do try these whenever you go, but please save some appetite for dessert. Creme brulee with Tahiti vanilla is brilliant and the salted caramel chocolate fondant with maple miso icecream is heaven on a platter!

The Crystal Buddha.

And before leaving, do remember to pour some water on the beautiful Buddha to carry a bit of the serenity with you.

MEGU, The Leela Palace New Delhi, Diplomatic Enclave, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110023, India.
Timings: 12.30pm to 2.45; 7pm to 11:45pm.
Phone: +91-11 3933 1234.

A version of this article first appeared on BlackBook.net.in on May 24, 2018. 

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