Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun has always fascinated my travel as well as culinary senses. If you are someone like me who loves to eat and enjoys exploring food, culture, and culinary traditions then Japan should be at the top of your travel bucket list.
Thanks to having numerous Japanese clients over the years, I have tried some of the Japanese restaurants across Bangalore and have learnt a lot just interacting with them over the years.
What I love about this country is that food is a very important aspect of the Japanese culture and a lot of thought and care is taken to prepare and present any dish served. The traditional cuisine of Japan is rice based with miso soup being a part of the meal. Though many times rice is substituted with noodles more commonly the soba or udon type. As you would have heard, seafood is a major part of the meal in the form of sashimi or sushi though I have had it grilled on many occasions too.
Matsuri is a traditional Japanese restaurant located within the premises of The Chancery Hotel on Lavelle Road, Bangalore. Though the restaurant does not offer the traditional style seating it does have western table and chairs, private salons, tables with a partitioned area, a high stool seating to one side of the restaurant facing a wall. I knew walking in not to expect too much in terms of decor as the focus in this culture is always on comfort and the food served. Nevertheless the minimalistic and classic decor helps keep the patrons focus on the food.
The carefully crafted menu offers a range of traditional Japanese dishes ranging from the expected sushi to some amazing dishes which I had the opportunity to feast during the course of the night. We started our meal with a few mocktails and appetizers – Dashimaki tamago, Hourensou goma-ae and Nikujaga.
The Dashimaki tamago is one of the most simple appetizers to look at but the sweetened rolled omelette is soft and melts in the mouth. I love spinach and the Hourensou goma-ae, a spinach with sesame dressing would make anyone a fan of spinach. The Nikujaga turned out to be a beef and sweet potato stewed in sweetened soya broth which turned out to be a crowd favourite.
Moving onto to some pan fried appetizers we tried their Japanese fried chicken (Toti no karaage) , Fried Squid rings (Ika no karaage) and of course their Tempura prawns and vegetables ( Tempura no moriawase), all of which were perfectly done to the right amount of crispness. Among their fried dishes, the squid rings were surprisingly not oily yet crunchy and delicious and definitely one of my picks of the evening.
Though the individual servings are small as in all traditional Japanese meals there were several courses which I started to feel by the time we reached the main course. Our main course was a combination of Stir fried vegetables, Grilled Tofu, Beef Steak, Fried Chicken and Grilled Fish with sweetened soya sauce. Though one expects mostly seafood or meat dishes in such cuisine, their stir fried vegetables packed enough flavours to make the hard core non vegetarians to take a second helping.
Though I love Tofu I rarely find a well prepared Tofu dish in our city and normally stay away from ordering it. However the Grilled Tofu (Tofu no teriyaki) was grilled to perfection with the slightly sweetened soya sauce and one bite into the soft tofu had me hooked.
The Beef Steak (Gyu Steak ) was a surprise as the dish in itself looked very ordinary but the soft meat with the mild coating of soya sauce melts in the mouth and if I had not had so much to try initially I would definitely dug into this dish. In my opinion, one of the must order dishes here at Matsuri.
Being a Keralite, I believe I know quite a bit about fish and I always have a open mind about trying different preparations. One of the main courses, a Grilled Salmon (Yakizakana teriyaki) with sweetened soya sauce was an assault on my taste buds in every way possible. I would possibly sound repetitive but I cannot help say – this is also a must order dish here!
As expected our meal here would not be complete without trying their sushi, we got to try a mixed platter of sushi consisting of crab, salmon, tuna and cucumber. Though I am not much of a sushi lover, I do indulge once in a while when I know I can trust the quality of seafood and the preparation. My hubby is quite the picky eater but one serving of their seafood sushi with the right amount of soya and wasabi dip made him a fan for life.
This was followed by a delicious broth of seaweed and vegetables (Miso Soup) which I loved though I would say it would be more of an acquired taste for others.
At this point of time, I knew it was time for me to stop indulging and leave some room for dessert, but the curious foodie in me had to try their noodle preprarations – Teppan yaki udon and Yakisoba. The udon noodle preparation and the soba noodles were different yet packed with enough flavours.
Our meal ended with the Doriyaki, a sweet pancake with filling served with ice cream which is kid favourite in Japan. It sure did bring out the kid in me with the speed at which I packed it all in! No meal is complete without some Japanese tea and on this particular visit the Matcha tea did work wonders!
Matsuri offers an abundance of gastronomical delights with an unforgettable culinary experience. There is no doubt in my mind that I would recommend them if you are looking for an authentic experience.
Address: The Chancery Hotel,10/6, Lavelle Road, Shanthala Nagar, Sampangi Rama Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560001