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SAKURA LAUNCHES ORIENTAL MENU

When I heard Sakura Master Chef Swapandeep Mukherjee had spearheaded the launch of this legendary Japanese restaurant's Pan Asian menu, I knew it would be a lucky throw of the dice for the property. Sakura, on the first floor of The Metropolitan Hotel And Spa, is an acclaimed Japanese restaurant that has been satisfying discerning diners since a decade. Predictably, it's renowned among expats, who find heaven in the scallop and hamachi, blast frozen and flown in from Japan. Having dined there before, I was excited to hear about the new menu and made a reservation for luncheon.

 

Walking in at 1:30, I was taken to the private dining room reserved for a friend and I, with a view of lush greenery. This, with soothing music and minimalist interiors, was deeply relaxing and I perused the new Oriental menu packed with salads, appetizers and entrees. Though some dishes were traditional fare, a few creative ones immediately caught my attention — and held it. I knew instinctively Chef had once again created a few culinary masterpieces!! Before sending out the starters, Chef sent us Jelly Fish in a small bowl. it was mild and refreshing and set the tone of the afternoon. Our meal began with 'Avocado Salsa Salad' served in a cocktail flute accompanied by bread crackers; if you're a vegetarian this mildly spiced salad with avocado, kaffir, chili and onion is a brilliant choice! Up next was the dish that had caught my eye on the menu — 'Prawn Sugarcane'. It was off-the-hook fresh minced prawn wrapped around sugarcane sticks, which I dipped in a flavourful sauce with mint, chilli and sugarcane juice. The manager advised me to chew on the sugarcane stick to release its flavor and that, with the spicy prawn, was a combustion of flavour and texture! Now I'm a hardcore sea-foodie but this is one of the best prawn dishes I have had and I'll be back for more of it soon! Then, we tried another appetizer Chef sent out — 'Lumpia'. The Indonesian deep fried chicken spring roll was crunchy and flavourful.

 

Time flew by with a lot of conversation, camaraderie and laughter and then the entree was served. It had been a tough decision since so many dishes on the menu had lured me. But we finally skipped 'Mongolian Lamb Balls', 'Steamed Pomfret', 'Oyster Lamb' and 'Tenderloin Bulgogi', to settle for 'Chilly Peppered Calamari' 'Geang Ped' and 'Foojing Rice'. The squid rings was fabulous, tossed with pepper and soya glaze. As was the Thai red curry with sliced fish and Oriental vegetables. Both dishes went well with the scallion fried rice. he luncheon ended on a sweet note with 'Lichi Toffee' on a stick served with a scoop of Vanilla ice-cream.

 

Reflecting back on this afternoon's luncheon… it's remarkable how well Sakura has retained its customer base despite stiff competition from Megu and Wasabi. As stated before, it's the diligent efforts and leadership of the culinary and management team that has kept it's food quality and service, consistently high. So, do visit Sakura when you have a yen for traditional Japanese or Oriental cuisine. Congratulations on the new menu, Chef Swapandeep Mukherjee.

— JASMEEN DUGAL

 
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Sakura, Metropolitian Hotel And Spa, New Delhi

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