The Courtyard by Marriott Pune at Chakan has been having a lot of Japanese guests/expats and to keep up with the demand of theirs, they are introducing some Japanese dishes (and a Bento Box) in their menu. The breakfast shall have the buffet option and the lunch and dinner shall either have a set menu or a-la-carté option. Either way, Japanese food is here to stay.
Thanking Devendra Mali for the food preview and review invitation and let’s check out what was served to us..all thanks to Chef PB:
1. Mugicha Drink
2. SunoMuno Salad
3. Yasai Salad
4. Agedaashi Salad
5. Tori Salad
7. Yasai Tempura
8. Tori Karage
9. Ika Butteryaki
10. Ebi Tempura
11. Assorted Vegetarian Sushi
12. Assorted Non-Vegetarian Sushi
14. Yasai Ham Burger
15. Ebi Furai
16. Tori Teriyaki
18. Green Tea Pannacotta
Japanese food (and even cutlery) has a lot of influences from its neighbouring Asian countries. But the food is a gastronomical delight with an unlimited variety of regional and seasonal dishes. And please keep in mind that there is a major difference in the meaning of vegetarian and non-vegetarian ( the difference being the protein). For example, egg is vegetarian. I have noticed the same in Thailand and Malaysia too. Also, the Indian palette is really not accustomed to the Japanese flavours..so please research before you go! 🙂
Our review started with the Mughicha. It is a traditional Japanese tea made of barley and is usually served cold during the summer season a popular refreshment. With the toasty flavour & slight bitter undertones, I actually didn’t quite like it. With a small jhatka in the first sip, I chose to avoid this one.
The SunoMono Salad, Yasai Salad and Agedaashi Salad were all in the vegetarian zone. The SunoMono Salad literally translates to Cucumber Salad. But this one had the addition of a very known superfood – SeaWeed. Su means Vinegar in Japanese and this ingredient along with sugar, salt & ginger, both the cucumbers & seaweed were marinated making it a very different type of refreshing salad.
I also read the sourness from the vinegar in the salad helps whet your appetite and this is a good way to start your meal! The Yasai Salad was probably one of my favourite salads in the veg category. With a medley of salad flavours in each bite, the silkened tofu just elevated the entire dish which comprised of fresh cherry tomatoes and lettuce. The Agedaashi is classic Japanese appetizer & is literally crispy deep fried tofu served in flavorful tsuyu sauce which would actually taste like veg manchurian. Again, the tofu was the hero!
The Tori Salad was average. Tori means chicken. Just some bread crumbs, lettuce and Japanese mayo. It was definitely not my favorite!
From the starters, the Kakayaki & Yasai Tempura were the veg options. The Yasai Tempura were delicious & crispy. the vegetables (baby corn, onion, brinjal, carrot, capsicum) were encased in a crunchy, crispy yet light batter making it a perfect tempura dish. The Tori Karage was basically fried chicken but with the Japanese style served with a half lemon wedge and cabbage with cabbage playing no role literally. That could be done with. The Ika Butteryaki is a good option for those who love non-spicy seafood. It;s basically squid with butter and a little seasoning. Since am a spicy food lover, this one was way too bland for me but am sure my brother would love this since he prefers non-spicy food! The Ebi Tempura. Since Ebi means shrimp in Japanese, this shrimp dish was one of my favourites. Perfectly crisp and light batter & perfectly cooked shrimps..I would have an entire bucket of those! Just give me more! The tentsuyu sauce for dipping was a perfect accompaniment!
P.S. – Tempura is actually a classical Portuguese dish brought to and popularized by Japan!
Entering into the review of a dish that globally popular & probably defines Japan – Sushi. I did avoid the veg Sushi since I prefer seafood in my sushis and I actually had plate full here at Courtyard! We were served the prawn, crab & salmon sushi. My favourite was the prawn sushi! If you want a bit of a crunch, the salmon sushi is what you should order. And if you something apart from these, the crab sushi is your call. Although they did seem a bit sweet like 2%; that could just be ignored.
P.S. – Sushi was actually eaten by hands by the Japanese. The chopsticks were popularized by the Americans!
The mains were a mix of reactions. The Okonomiyaki consists of egg but still is listed under the vegetarian category. Be careful. So the Okonomiyaki is a Japanese pancake with chopped vegetables, eggs, brown sauce & Japanese mayonnaise…but it’s not something I would order again. I just did not understand the combination of all I guess. On the other hand, the Yasai Ham Burger is not what you think it is. The Ham is actually a vegetarian option and is called the Vegetarian Burger. With thick-sliced tomato, shredded lettuce, onions, a patty made of cauliflower & sweet potatoes and a generous serving of tangy Thousand Island-style sauce & sweet sauce, all sandwiched between two hamburger buns..the vegetarians could have a good time chomping it away!
Deep fried breaded prawn with lettuce and chopped tomatoes on the side was good! I think I was the only prawns lover on the table and ate this one just like a small kid would..without caring about anything! But the Tori Teriyaki was a bit on the sweeter side. Personally, it’s a big NO for me when you use a protein and sweeten it. I don’t like it and neither do my tastebuds. Although the chicken was cooked perfectly, this one was not my type.
On the noodles front, the Yakisoba was too good! The classic Japanese stir fry noodles dish just won everyone on the table. You can actually have it without any curry or any side accompaniment!
P.S. – This dish is actually Chinese influenced
The Green Tea Pannacotta was something I was actually looking forward too! With green tea being so popular currently and is being used in different types of dishes & cuisines, I really wanted to see how would this one be!?
On one hand the consistency of the green tea was more like a jelly and on the other hand, it tasted good! The key to getting the taste right is to have a bite of that pink-coloured white chocolate on top and then have a bite of the panna cotta. I think I was probably the only person who enjoyed it (I am not a fan of green tea in general) but do give it a shot!
Looking forward to the Japanese addition at Courtyard Chakan which starts from September 18th!