Flavor of the season? Japanese food. I’m just back from Singapore’s “Asias 50 best restaurants awards” where as jury chairperson of the Indian subcontinent we crowned Tokyo’s “Narisawa” as “Asia’s best restaurant”. I land back in Mumbai and head straight for the new, most popular Japanese arrival. At “The Times Food awards 2013” we gave Kofuku, the “Noteworthy newcomer” award. “Justifiably”, chorus my Japanese food buff guests, Giamming Toh, the chief of Singapore Airlines and Aruna Jehangir, who flew for Air India in it’s heyday and made sure she visited Japan regularly.
Ooof ! ho! The cluttered side entrance of Bandra’s KFC building, the messy lift upto the second floor are offputting.In place of “Firangipani”this new brightly lit restaurant has a raised platform of tables, a long bar and understated paper lanterns, blonde wood furniture, wood panels, ornate wall hangings complete the decor. Its comfy, casual and cheerful.
I love Japanese food for the purity of it’s ingredients,lilting clarity of their flavours and preparations and presentations that allow them such unfettered voice.What I love about Sukiyaki, Nabe and Ramen is the opposite.Layered, complex and sometimes almost translucent,these are my favourite broths.And Kofuku serves up these as well as the cold dishes (sushi, sashmi).The Sukiyaki served bubbling onto the table (see photo) is a perfect combination of beef and vegetables.
Rinchen Angchuk (primary business was importing Japanese ingredients) and James Biaka chef of the now shut Tetsuma have teamed together here. Outstanding sashimi platter Rs 1500 (Ham, achi, Maguro, Tai). Ditto for Nigiri, Maki, Temaki sushi (plenty for vegetarians).We are informed that while the hamachi, tuna and octopus come from a reliable source in Japan, the rest of the seafood is sourced from the coast of India.
Light, airy, crunchy veg and non-veg tempura, Japanese version of our bhajia’s.Silken agedashi tofu, Miso black cod served in four chunks, with a sweet whisper is brilliantly made though the portion is small.Mr Toh does the final check for authenticity and asks for green tea icecream and red bean. They serve it.
Swift and smiling service marks our meal. We discuss the difference between service and hospitality, at which point, from my bag, I take out a handstitched pyjama which Kavita the Malay airhostess had impromptu stitched for me from a blanket (you read that right) on my SQ flight from Singapore to Paris.Aruna agrees that service is a very important factor and ensures the finest service from therapists and doctors in her Meridian Ayurvedic centre in Goa. Great bar service too, we raise a toast for Aruna’s birthday with warm sake and on a last minute request they serve up a birthday cake too.
No Tuna toro or salmon belly served here. Some of the “fusion sushi” with it’s marscapone cream cheese doesn’t add upto much. From the smattering of Korean dishes, we ask for Bulgogi, it’s over cooked. The so called champagne icecream is anything but. Limp edamame too. It can get noisy and make conversation difficult.
Casual Izakaya dining (sushi, sashmi, Sukiyaki, Ramen and more) at this cheerful, brightly lit, jampacked second-floored Bandra restaurant. Moderately priced for high-quality Japanese fare (average meal per head Rs 1000). Packed with Korean, Japanese, Chinese diners.It surely lives up to it’s name “Kofuku” which means “happiness” Here’s what my Singaporean Japanese food buff guest Mr Toh has to say “Ive eaten in all the Japanese restaurants in the city. ”In Mumbai Kofuku is as good as it gets. I’ ll be back.” Me too.”
Second Floor, Kenilworth Shopping Arcade, off Linking Road, Bandra West,
Ph 6710 1101
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