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Restaurant Review: Tsubaki

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Times Food
20th May, 2022 01:00 IST

Superb surprises ahead! To begin with, Tsubaki, Mumbai’s new Japanese restaurant’s location comes as a surprise! It’s located (of all places) near the Worli Village bus depot. It has its own hydroponic garden (and of course, the freshest of produce from the garden sits on our plates). The final surprise... more than 50 per cent of the menu is vegetarian/ vegan/ Jain. The former actress-turned-entrepreneur charming Samyukta Singh is not only vegetarian, but also determined to prove that vegetarian can be gourmet. Along with her Japanese partner Noritaka Ubukata and veteran restaurateur Kookie Singh, they tread a fine line. Does Tsubaki measure up? Is it worth visiting? Our review follows...

JAPANESE CULINARY EXPERTS

I’m a Japanese food buff! Have travelled the length and breadth of Japan (Michelin restaurants, Tsikiji Market, Izakayas et al). But getting the benefit of the palate opinion of the Japanese Consul General Dr Yasukata Fukahori is an added bonus. He is a discerning gourmet and even has a superb Japanese chef in his Mumbai home. Of course, his knowledge of Japanese food is exceptional. Interestingly, he loves Indian food (Cholley Bhatura of Cream Centre, Panipuri Dhokla at Haldirams). An alumni of the renowned Waseda University (Tokyo) where my other dapper dinner guest Mehool Bhuva also studied. Mehool, president of Indo Japanese
Association, runs several successful businesses, including a cross border company between Japan and India. Fluent in Japanese and a regular visitor to Japan, Mehool is a vegetarian and the perfect foodie to check out the vegetarian offerings of Tsubaki. His lovely wife Ranak and daughter Sanika are Japanese food buffs, too. With us is Shyam Ghia, a Japanese food addict who can live on sashimi, sushi and sukiyaki. Our verdict: Tsubaki is a must visit.

DÉCOR

A small three floored structure houses the restaurant. Enrobed in black, gleaming with red and golden embellishments wall art of geishas et al. Each floor is different. The ground floor has outdoor seating, kitchen and reception area. The 50 seater upscale fine dining room is on the first floor. On the top floor, the lounge and bar is all set to open. The bar license is on its way.

FOOD

The first in Mumbai to grow its own greens in the restaurant (using hydroponic technology), Tsubaki serves up pesticide-free and crackling fresh vegetables. Plenty of superb surprises for vegetarians. The explosion of freshness and flavour in the Tsubaki special salad, Samyukta’s favourite the flavour packed parcels, brilliant cheese chilli gyoza, the light as air, heady with truffle asparagus tempura are all equally superb. As is the fleshy avocado tartare.

Light as air, crunchy tempura (be it prawn, rock corn shrimp or vegetable) is a must try. Kissed with gentle sweetness, tender-firm black cod miso (ala Nobu) is perfection on a plate. Chef Ganesh Sonari (with decades of experience in Asian kitchens) ensures that Nigiri and Maki sushi fans delight in its freshness and delicate flavours. Robustly flavoured teriyaki chicken. They offer Japanese tea paired curated meals. Innovative cocktails/ mocktails, too.

MINUS POINTS

The license is still expected, so no sake or wine. Salmon carpaccio though perfectly cut, lacks freshness. Except for the Wasabi crème brulee (which is superb and bites back), the rest of the desserts do not pass muster.

MY POINT

Brand new. Three small, cozy floors of luxe. Worli Village’s Japanese entrant delights with its Japanese flavours (Dr Yasukata Fukahori, Japanese Consul General approves). Thanks to its owner, former actress Samyukta Singh, the vegetarian, vegan, Jain dishes delight. Our vegetarian gourmet, chief of the Indo Japanese Association, Mehool Bhuva gives his stamp of approval, too. The ever-smiling General Manager Joe Sequeira ensures a great experience. As a Japanese food buff, I enjoy the depth of flavour and perfect balance of texture and presentation in most of the dishes. A few dishes need fine tuning. We await the bar license, which is
expected soon. Kudos Tsubaki for the superior Japanese food with a delicious, much needed vegetarian focus!

Where: Tsubaki, Desai Oceanic, Worli, Next to Worli Village
Bus Depot, Mumbai 400 030.
Time: 12:30 to 4 pm & 6:30 pm to 1:30 pm
Call: 7304940815
Average meal for two: Rs 4,500

Rating:
Food: 4
Service: 4
Décor: 4




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