Chennai’s Rob Peck gives Bangalore a heads up about the Teppan Sushi Festival that had him hooked and reeled in right from the first bite.
For the Teppan Sushi Festival, which concluded recently in Chennai, Oriental Cuisines brought in international chefs Joseph Ruiz and Renato R. Bautiasta Jr. with the goal of delivering “the best sushi Chennai has ever relished.” They delivered…and then some. This month the food and celebration has moved to Bengaluru, where the festival is on at the Ulsoor Roadrestaurant until 21st October.
Teppan offers both a sushi bar and Japanese Grill in an upscale yet casual atmosphere. Some guests opt to sit at the sushi bar to watch expert hands prepare an assortment of vegetarian and non-vegetarian maki, sushi, and sashimi while most choose to sit at the grills where the chefs entertain guests with their culinary tricks and comic timing. While a visit to a Japanese grill anywhere in the world is fun, our chef pulled out all the stops for the Sushi Festival, including my old personal favorite, the “catch the egg in the chef’s hat” maneuver.
On the drive over to Teppan I wondered how Tamilians in general would adapt to sushi. My thought was that they would perhaps be put-off because the raw fish is startlingly different from the typical well-cooked curries found around town. Mr. Ashok, the GM, felt this concern is directly addressed by the well thought out menu.
For our visit we opted for the non-vegetarian festival menu. The attention to the order in which the food is served, based on how easy it is to digest and how it hits your palate almost reminds me of a great Onam Sadhya. We started off light with two types of sashimi, salmon and tuna, both of which were fresh and flavorful. Next came the mojacko maki, which consists of salmon, tuna, and cream cheese wrapped in tamago sheets. The quality of the fish used and the tangy sauce make this maki stand out amongst the competition.
This was followed up by traditional Japanese salad and miso soup, both of which delivered in the taste department and warmed up our stomachs for the next dishes. The dragon maki would have to be my favorite dish of the day – put simply, this roll includes everything right about Japanese food. The dragon maki is a flavorful mix of tuna, salmon roe, fried prawns, and vinegar rice topped off with the same spicy yet sweet sauce from the mojacko maki. It was like Teppan read our minds; just as I was mentioning to my colleague how much I enjoyed the prawns our server brought us a plate full of them served on skewers with a thick teriyaki sauce and sesame seeds on top.
Next we sampled some of the vegetarian offerings, which were fantastic as well. This included an assortment of both steamed and fried vegetables including baby corn, broccoli, onions, and a fantastic zucchini hollowed out and stuffed with cucumbers and carrots. For the apprehensive, there are fried rice options that can be used to ease sushi novices into the makis, then sushi, and eventually sashimi. Another example of catering to the local palate would be their use of a thin egg omelet to replace the seaweed wrapping in many of their signature rolls. Perhaps my concerns were unfounded, as it was my colleagues first experience with sushi and she wasn’t bothered in the least; keeping pace with me as I devoured dish after dish.
At this point the grill was fully heated and the show began. Our chef displayed amazing culinary showmanship as he tossed around his knife and spatula, showing great skill performing all of the tricks Japanese grills are known for. The resulting chicken fried rice and sea bass fried rice were both excellent. While the sea bass was fresh and tasty, on my next visit I would choose the chicken as he really knocked this one out of the park with exemplary taste, texture, and flavor.
Our bellies were now at capacity, but what would a visit to Teppan be without a trip to the purpose built dessert room? There we were greeted with two types of unique home made ice cream, green tea and wasabi. Both were quite good; I recommend trying each. Finally, I topped it off with a coffee brownie in an attempt to starve off the afternoon nap that a meal this complete and filling warrants.
Hats off to the sushi chefs and grill masters at Teppan for putting together such a fantastic meal.
Dishes on the sushi menu range in price from Rs. 500 to Rs. 800.