I may have mentioned this before; I absolutely love set menus, tasting menus in particular. I enjoy being able to comfortably sink into a chair in a pair of pants that’s kind to my belly, feet freed from the clutches of shoes while little portions of delicately plated food float my way. This, is my idea of luxury.
The promise of such luxury lead me to Aoi. Gourmet it up offers an interesting selection of culinary experiences at some of Mumbai’s finest restaurants. I was drawn to this one right away; for years now I’ve been tangled in a love affair with sea weed, udon noodles, sticky rice and other offerings from the mysterious island of Japan. I must say, my every fancy was indulged during this exquisite 10 course meal. It was the best meal I’ve had in a long long time.
Describing each course to you would be like giving you an unwrapped gift or revealing the end of a suspense novel before you’ve read it. I will not deny you this joy. I will however hint at what you should expect, which will hopefully leave you wanting more. The soup is built of a perfectly balanced broth, which brings together all the beautiful bits that float within it. The salad is a surprising mix of flavours and textures, that brightens the palette and wakes you up! I can say without a doubt that their tempura was the best I’ve ever had in the city. The soba noodles are uplifted by beautiful bits of candied ginger. The sushi is impeccably crafted. The viscous sweet curry lavishly coats the sticky rice, which along with crisp bits of vegetable and tender chicken come together to make a perfect bite. The tempura banana dessert is just the right amount of sweet, just the right amount of crunchy and just the right amount of mushy. In a word, perfect.
Every course was memorable by itself. Each was dish special and not a single one seemed like it had just been thrown in as an afterthought. It is reassuring to know that such impeccably planned and flawlessly executive food can be found in a sea of mediocrity that is often glorified in our city.
All this from an unassuming little eatery, on a cramped Bandra street corner. I didn’t mind that the place was small; I felt like I was sitting inside a bento box! I’ve already planned a second visit. I highly recommend this 10 course Japanese tasting menu. It’s extremely well priced at an affordable Rs.890 per head. Here’s a link to the details on the Gourmet It Up website.
*I must also mention I sampled both the vegetarian and non vegetarian menus. Unlike what is the norm, the non vegetarian meal does not outshine the vegetarian one. Both are equally good.