I am a huge Japanese food aficionado. I crave sushi in the middle of a random day at work. I dream of beautiful bowls of ramen – each put together so intricately and painstakingly such that they resemble a piece of art. I swear I cried a little bit when I saw the Ivan Ramen episode of Chef’s Table. And Wasabi bhujia is my current obsession in life. You’ll get the drift.
My interest towards Japanese food started after I begun reading Haruki Murakami novels where the author interweaves food so seamlessly into the narrative. My love affair with Japanese food started during my trip to Singapore last year where I ensured I tried the best South East Asian cuisine this foodie paradise has to offer. Lots of sushi, sashimi, ramen bowls, and rice bowls that the locals call Donburi or ‘Don’ were devoured.
I’m always on the lookout for good (re: authentic) Japanese food in the city and there are very few places that serve the real deal. So when The Leela offered to host us for some Japanese food one evening, I cancelled all plans and made my way over to Andheri East. As a part of their recurrent Cherry Blossom Festival, the property is serving up a variety of Japanese delicacies all this month at Citrus – their global dining restaurant. Now while I couldn’t make it for the Cherry Blossom flowering festival in Japan this year, the food festival at The Leela would have to suffice.
If there is one mantra I strongly live by, it has got to be the one above. There is nothing like waking up late on a Sunday, fresh as a daisy without a heavy hungover head, and spending the rest of the day indulging in the best of food and drink. I dream of summery white dresses, mimosas and sangrias, a runny Eggs Benedict on a bed of ham, waffles that are crunchy from outside – airy within, and conversations that last the entire day. My long standing affair with Sunday brunches has been documented on this blog time and again. Last Sunday was no different – we visited Le Pain Quotidien at Bandra Kurla Complex for their Sunday brunch and sampled some of the new dishes on their specially curated summer menu.
The interiors of LPQ epitomise simplicity and class. Minimalist wooden furniture, interiors that are bright and beaming, with large glass panelled walls that allow plenty of sunlight to shine through during the day. Not to forget their large community tables, a concept which they pioneered in the city when LPQ started off years ago.
This is the era of fusion food where we’re seeing western classics being incorporated with desi flavours. And we’ve also witnessed Indian dishes getting modified to imbibe tastes and techniques of the west. The more we travel, the more we’re exposed to world cuisines and the more we enjoy this amalgamation of desi-videsi.
Attempting to do just that is the brand Tasty Treats with their innovative Firangi Bhujia series of snacks. This comfort food which we’ve all grown up on, gets a makeover in four different avatars after travelling all over the world. The flavours include a Wasabi variant representing Japan, Schezwan representing China, Peri Peri representing Africa, and Barbeque representing America.