Monday, August 15, 2011

Edo

After Harima, I've been wanting to have sushi and sashimi for the longest time. With ITC Gardenia opening in the city, and with it an authentic Japanese restaurant Edo, it was high on my 'to-do' list, and eventually I got to go there. The image to the right is quintessentially Japanese, representing the most well-known dishes.

Edo is about as authentic as it gets when it comes to Japaense cuisine (at least in India). The restaurant, one among 6 at Gardenia, is quite truly spectacular. Soft, mellow (and yellow) lighting, along with a display of some of the seafood, well spaced-out tables, a spic-n-span appearance, and comfortable ambiance makes Edo a wonderful location for a celebratory meal of sorts. Or if you've got the money and enjoy Japanese food, you could just go there to enjoy some good Japanese food. I was there to celebrate the birthday of an extremely close friend, and we were quite excited about the evenings meal. We had opted for the Kyoto fixed meal (the other two being the Tokyo meal and the Nara meal).

While the Nara meal was a vegetarian meal, the Kyoto and Tokyo fixed meals were non vegetarian. The fixed meals consist of 7 courses, so it's quite elaborate and you'd do well to go to Edo to spend some time there and get pampered. The Kyoto meal costs Rs 3200 + taxes, Tokyo Rs 5000 + taxes, and the Nara (vegetarian) will set you back by Rs 2500 + by taxes.

The 7 course meal can be broken down into the following categories: zensai (appetisers), sashimi, yakimono (grilled items), nimono (steamed), agemono (deep fried tempura), sushi, shokuji (staples - rice or noodles), and mizugashi (desserts, numbering 3). The zensai served to us consisted of crab, fish, and egg.


While the fish and egg were pretty decent - the fish nice and soft and the egg, almost like a cake, thick yet fluffy.

Sea bass

Egg

The crab seemed to be the 'just like crab' meat available at Spar and other supermarkets. It tasted good, but no different from what's available frozen.

Crab, or just-like-crab meat?

The second course, sashimi, consisted of salmon and tuna, was quite simply fabulous. The fish were fresh, plump, and fleshy, and the staff also come up to your table and grate fresh wasabi (horse radish) at the table. Also, the wasabi is grated using a paddle that has shark skin - apparently the authentic tool for grating wasabi for sushi and sashimi.

Salmon (orange), and tuna with seaweed and wasabi

Shark skin paddle to grate wasabi, with wasabi root

The third course, yakimono, had grilled chicken and sea bass, and was quite tender and wonderfully flavoured in a teriyaki sauce and was served with a spice mixture of 7 spices that went wonderfully well with soy sauce.


Full view

Ginger, in the form of a fish tail

The next course, nimono, which was a steamed dish, again, had sea bass along with the broth of 4 other steamed vegetables, separately steamed to maintain their individual properties in taste and flavour. Carrot, lady's finger (okra), pumpkin, and brinjal (egg plant/aubergine). The reason for steaming the vegetables separately and then adding everything together is so that the flavours are retained intact. The sea bass itself was quite fabulous - thick, juicy, fresh. I'm guessing so many dishes consisted of sea bass 'coz they must've bought sea bass fresh that morning, which is an excellent plan of action - using the best fish you've got for the meals for the day.

Sea bass

The fifth course was the tempura, and it was perhaps the only disappointment - not because it was bad, but compared to the rest of the food, it was extraordinarily insipid.


The sixth course was a dish that has become synonymous with Japanese cuisine - sushi. Little maki rolls with salmon roe, and then of course, there was salmon itself, along with red snapper. The quality of the fish, in all the dishes thus far, was quite simply superb. And they weren't miserly with the portions that they served either...well, they'd better not have been. After all, we were paying a small fortune for them.


The seventh course (and at this point I realised that desserts would make it an 8 course meal) was shokuji, or the staples. You can select either rice or noodles mixed with chicken. This comes with a bowl of miso soup. Boy, do I love a miso or what! Thin, light, packed with flavour, what more can you ask for in a soup. Needless to say, it's comforting. Check out the steam coming out from the bowl in the snap to the left. There are some scallions that are chopped and sprinkled on the top. Normally, I'm not a big fan of too much of green flotilla in my soups, but in this case, since the greens were very easy to chew and send into the labyrinth that was my stomach, I was OK.

We ordered noodles as we were both fans of noodles. The noodles were glazed in a teriyaki-like sauce and the chicken in it actually had falvour, as opposed to the chicken pieces one normally finds in fried rice or noodles, which are usually flavourless and dry. I was busy picking the chicken pieces with my chop sticks.



Finally, the dessert, or mizugashi, that consisted of three things: sesame flavoured ice cream, a Japanese yuzu lime cheesecake (thanks to Gautam John [@gkjohn] for helping me with the name), and green tea tiramisu.


Sesame ice cream

Japanese yuzu lime cheesecake

Green tea tiramisu

While the ice cream most certainly had an acquired taste to it (in my opinion, it was way too strong), the cheesecake was more subdued (or subtle) in flavour, and actually felt quite light as opposed to ones with heavy cream cheese in them. The tiramisu, we felt, should have been sweeter, or at least, we'd have liked it sweeter because among the trio, there wasn't a single dessert that was 'sweet'... I mean, desserts, come on! There needs to be something a little sweet, especially when you're having three. Playing with various levels of sweetness among the three would have made the perfect end to the meal. Overall, an excellent meal, one worthy to be eaten on special occasions.

Food: Excellent.
$$$: Expensive; 5 star rates. The Kyoto meal is Rs 3200 + taxes, Tokyo meal is Rs 5000 + taxes, and the Nara (veg) meal is Rs 2500 + taxes.
Service: Very good, and they explain the dishes really well.
Verdict: Must visit if you like Japanese food.

Edo, ITC Gardenia, #1 Residency Road (Field Marshall Cariappa Road), Bangalore. Phone: 22119898

2 comments:

UPN said...

Nice review Karthik!..congrats...its good to have a review of this elite restaurant from you, although i felt the article needed more perspective ,and not just mere description..too quick an end to the article- i hope you're arent irritated by what I say. its just that i crib because i expect more from you ,..one gets tired of the prosaic output of food bloggers and i hope you'll be different...pls check out Frank Bruni's Masa review on nyt.com...anyway best wishes again, more power to you, n keep up the good work!..take care

Karthik Shetty said...

Thank you. I most certainly will try henceforth to give a proper different perspective. I guess being busy with work as well as having to write a long review made me a little slack. And no, I'm not irritated - on the contrary, it's good to get feedback. Thanks again.