Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Sora Jima Japanese Fusion Food Festival

A fellow foodie pinged me to inform about a bloggers meet at a Japanese restaurant and I agreed to give it a try despite being apprehensive about it. The hesitation was largely because of my lack of exposure to quality Japanese food and an inherent discomfort with sushi's. That said, after having tried and loved several new cuisines over the last couple of years - I really wanted to get my palate accustomed to the globally loved and enjoyed - Japanese cuisine.

About the Festival 
This festival is in celebration of the Japanese summer and showcases some of their delicacies with a desi (Indian) twist. This made it perfect for a person like me to make a gradual progress and to enjoy and appreciate this cuisine. 

For authentic Japanese food lovers, sticking to their regular menu might be ideal. 

Despite the fact that they are the only dedicated Japanese restaurant (or so I believe) in a five star property in Chennai, they are styled in a mini restaurant model with a small and limited dining area. What was impressive though was how the restaurant was structured to accommodate large groups. 

With minor additions to set the theme, the private dining enclosure was one of the attractive aspects from an ambience perspective.  

The staff did a good job in ensuring we were comfortable and in guiding us through the orders. Mr. Sourav who attended our table was an enthusiastic chap and seemed reasonably informed about the dishes. 

The food however is served with a minor lag, which is relatively common among luxury diners. 

The promo menu was fairly priced for a five star hotel. However, if one was to benchmark to regular dining joints (I believe that may not be a fair practice though) it could be considered expensive. 

Soup - Chicken clear soup
A clear soup with made of chicken chunks and generous portion of seaweed. The seaweed usage resulted in giving a seafood aroma and taste to the soup and that did not work for me. Considering they had a dedicated seafood soup, I could have might as well tried that if that was the taste I desired. 

With Indianised stuffing like paneer tikka and tandoori chicken, these sushi were quite good. At least finding a familiar taste with a bite made it easier for me to accustom to the cuisine.

We tried the following:
1. Prawn tempura - batter fried prawns served with a good dip. 
2. Teriyaki Chicken - grilled chicken cooked with teriyaki sauce
3. Masala okonomiyaki - a pancake made of vegetables, chicken and fish and topped with mayonnaise. 
4. Rock shrimp tempura - a sauce mixed batter fried dish

The okonomiyaki and rock shrimp tempura were; the former tasted fresh and the mayonnaise adulteration was a welcome one. 

Main Course
Japanese Chicken Biriyani - A hardcore biriyani lover like can not accept anything which is merely titled biryani but fails to have the necessary flavors. This dish ended up being a fried rice made out of sticky rice.

Seer fish with Aleppey dashi - the grilled seer fish with a bitter coconut curry was such a saviour and made the biryani manageable. We went for refills of the curry and this was among the better dishes served to us. 

I had considered skipping desserts when I noticed all of them had a green tea base (not much of a green tea lover); and, to make it worse the options were: creme brulee and panacotta. These are two desserts I have appreciated on very limited occasions. 

1. Panacotta - Served with a dose of strawberry syrup and infused with fine coconut chunks, it felt like this dessert was custom made to suit my preference. Loved the slightly unusual creamy taste and how all of the aforementioned elements blended in perfectly. WOW! 

2. Creme Brulee - The ladies ordered for a refill and kept gorging on this one. I found it decent and torched top was especially well made.

3. Green tea Ice Cream - By this point I had gotten tired of green tea. A typical green tea lover might appreciate this ice cream, however the inconsistency in mixing and adding of green tea powder put me off a bit.

On a summary note, this place is to be tried if you are a Japanese food lover or one aspiring to try this cuisine.

 Sora Jima - The Accord Metropolitan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato