Sunday, October 03, 2010

Cuisine Of The Shoguns At Edo

Edo at ITC Royal Gardenia BangaloreThe ITC Royal Gardenia in Bangalore opened a brand new restaurant last month. Edo, named after the period in Japanese history of the same name, puts a contemporary twist on ancient Japanese cuisine. The Edo era begun when the Shoguns ruled during the beginning of the 17th century and lasted for well over 200 years. ITC has now recruited Sensai Chef Miyazaki Yoshikatsu to oversee its first foray into Japanese fine dining. The restaurant itself has a minimalist, contemporary decor with light-colored wood coupled with polished and rough granite counters. In addition to the regular tables, there is bar-style seating on the sushi and robatayaki bars.

Edo brings to life the Shogun period and its exuberant tradition of Isakaya dining. Isakayas combined drinking with a more substantial food menu than the usual bar-food. A varity of sake and shochu is combined with an elaborate food menu that consists of sashimi, sushi, grilled robatayaki, tempuras and teriyaki preparations.

Edo at the ITC Royal GardeniaI perused the tastefully designed menu as I sipped on a cup of sake. The waiter took time to explain how sake is served and consumed. This part wasn't particularly new to me since I have travelled to Tokyo and am familiar with Japanese cuisine. However, throughout the meal, the waitstaff added to the fun element by giving me nuggets of information about the cuisine and the particular dish I was tasting. In general, this is a much better informed waitstaff than the usual variety found in Indian restaurants.

Sake at Edo in BangaloreI decided to go with the Chef's set menu, listed on the menu as Tokyo. I sat back and awaited what was going to be one of the most elaborate meals I have partaken in India.

Seaweed amuse at Edo, BangaloreThey began by giving me an oshibori, wet towel, and then bringing a small amuse of edible seaweed in soya.

Zensai at Edo BangaloreThen came the Zensai, three varieties of hors d'Ĺ“uvres. A preparation of delicate crabmeat strips in a white sauce, traditional fish lightly fried and raw seafood with exotic spices. Each of the starters were unique on the palate and made for an interesting start.

Sashimi at Edo in BangaloreThen came a substantial platter of sashimi. I must point out the quantity of each course is pretty imposing. It needs someone like me to polish off this elaborate set menu! I love sashimi and this was pretty good. The fish were of three distinctly different colors. One was snapper, not sure about the others: they were local Japanese varieties. The cut and quality were perfect.

Japanese horseradish graters in Edo BangaloreAt this time, my friendly server brought out a set of graters to show me how they chop horseradish. Three different ways for different food.

Unagi robatayagi at Edo in BangaloreThen came the robatayaki grill - two grilled fillets of unagi, Japanese fresh-water eel. The concept of Japanese robatayaki and eating eel were both new to me! Robatayakis are a special kind of Isakaya establishment where customers sit around a open grill where the chef grills seafood and meats and serves them directly with the help of a long wooden spatula. The eel can take a little getting used to, so be sure before ordering. The eel was served with a dip of soya sauce and a mix of seven spices that includes crushed peppers, seaweed and poppy seeds.

Nimono lamb stew at Edo BangaloreThe Nimono, stewed dish, was next. I had asked for lamb and the dish contained a broth made of lamb, carrots, okra and pumpkin cubes that was delicious. At this point, my frequent use of the camera prompted my server to enquire if I was from the hospitality industry! I had to tell him, no I wasn't running a competing restaurant. :)

Japanese mushroom and tofu soup at Edo BangaloreThey followed with a soupy dish made of enokitake, long Japanese mushrooms and cubes of tofu. This dish was amazing and like the ones that preceded it full of exotic ingredients.

Prawn tempura at Edo BangaloreNow was the turn for the crispy prawn tempura. Batter-coated and fried to perfection, the prawns were fresh and crunchy and great with the soya, horseradish dip. Sensai Chef Yoshikatsu came up to me to ask me how I was finding his food. He explained in a mix of Japanese and English what was to follow and hoped I would like what he had coming up for me. I was at this point quite simply overwhelmed. The food thus far had been just what the foodie in me loves: expertly prepared delights with a constant stream of contrasting tastes and textures on the palate.

Sushi platter at Edo BangaloreBy the time they brought me the platter of sushi I was quite full. I began with the sea-urchin, uni, that is a delicacy in Japan and a first for me.

Miso soup at Edo BangaloreAfter the mandatory miso soup which I usual love, but today couldn't finish, I moved to an elaborate dessert plate. They had a wedge of coconut cheesecake topped with cherries, a green-tea tiramisu and a peanut ice-cream - all completely delectible.

Matcha tea whisk at Edo BangaloreThey also demonstrated a matcha tea ritual by brewing me a pot of the green tea with my desserts. Matcha is a special variety of green tea in Japan; the tea is used in finely powdered form. At the table, the matcha powder is put in a cup and hot water poured on it. The tea is then stirred with a bamboo whisk called chasen.

Desserts at Edo Bangalore
Matcha tea at Edo BangaloreAs I waited for my check, they brought out a plate of petit fours. The yuzu lime chocolates were wonderful!

Petit Fours at Edo BangaloreThis was an amazing dinner experience and I strongly recommend foodies in Bangalore who are adventurous and hungry for something out of the ordinary. The chef, the manager and the waitstaff here are happy to give you details of the dishes you are eating, other nuggets of information, as well as ensuring the dining experience is to your liking. The prices are steep but given the large amount of exotic ingredients that go into making the dishes authentic, the experience is worth it.

Edo is located in the ITC Royal Gardenia, Bangalore. Ph: (80) 22119898.


Jen Kumar said...

This is fascinating, Thanks for sharing it.

May I ask what did the bill run you for this meal (fit for a family, it seems!).

BTW.. what's the outside of the restaurant look like?

sudarshan said...

This looks delicious. thanks for sharing it. certainly its place to dine when i visit Bangalore next time.

Me! In words said...

Looks brilliant... and Edo has been on my wishlist since I heard it was coming up. What was the price for the Chef's meal?

Shantanu said...

@Jennifer: The chef's special fixed menu will cost you Rs: 5K (without drinks). Re: outside of the restaurant, only a nicely designed signage. It is one of the speciality restaurants of the ITC Royal Gardenia hotel.

@sudarshan: Thanks.

@Bangalore: Rs:5K for the chef's meal.

Gautam said...
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Gautam said...
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Gautam said...

Thanks for this Shantanu. The food is indeed excellent and is worthy of Tokyo. That said, it is a little too pricey for me. The reason I say this is because it is one of two Japanese options available in Bangalore. Zen, at the Leela, is a disgrace and Harima is the only other one worth mentioning. While Harima isn't substantially cheaper the value proposition is a little better. Though it's a pity that we don't have any mid-market sushi/sashimi restaurants in Bangalore.

Surprisingly, Sakura at the Nikko in Delhi is so very much cheaper than Edo. And within 15% of the quality.

Shantanu said...

Gautam: Yes, it is pricey...very pricey! Sakura is an apt comparision since they specialize in authentic, multi-course Japanese cuisine too (but different - they serve classical Kaiseki). BTW, they now have a second restaurant in Gurgaon.

Not sure Zen is of the same class; also it is a Pan-Asian restaurant.

Other similar upscale Japanese dining options in India would be Wasabi by Morimoto at the Mumbai and New Delhi Taj Hotels.

Enterprise Mobility as a service said...

All the dishes i seen in picture is new to me.Great to see this..

Anonymous said...

Hey Shantanu - thanks for that. Must try it. Although 5k is over the top.

Shantanu said...

@harinair: Oh yes, the price is steep. I guess they have to fly in a lot of the ingrediends for this restaurant to work!

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Sanjeev said...

Edo is certainly the best Japanese restaurant in India and while you can spend a small fortune and order the Chef's menu at Rs. 5000 you can also eat very well by sticking to their main course either a udon noodle soup or an absolutely outstanding chanko-nabe, a hearty dish cooked and eaten by sumo wrestlers. It's a meal in itself and would cost you Rs 800.
The black and white sesame ice cream was sensational as well, but the best sashimi I have ever eaten is here. Choose a spot at the sushi bar if you are alone or a couple and chat with the very friendly sushi chef behind the counter who is from Nagaland. He plied us with a few freebies including the outstanding ice cream. My partner's meal was on the house as they mixed up their order.
I'ts definitely on the top of my list for a great meal in Bangalore especially since its walking distance from home.

Anonymous said...

@Karen: Sorry about that; I have been a little tardy. Will send you an email.

@Sanjeev: Thanks for sharing your experiences here.

Gautam said...

Shantanu - I have to agree. Absolutely brilliant food. A friend and I went and had a meal that made us want to cry. Pictures here:

Anonymous said...

@Gautam: Thanks for sharing. Excellent pictures!