Travel Magazine

Matsuri at The Chancery: Japanese Food at Its Authentic Best

By Rashmi Gopal Rao

Did you know that Japanese never make their guests sit with their backs facing the door? I too did not, until I visited Matsuri, at The Chancery.  It is here that I learnt, that, it is apparently considered disrespectful as it indicates you are showing your guests the door.

My experience with Japanese food has been fairly limited and hence was delighted when I was invited for a tasting session organized by Yuji Okano, Executive Chef at Matsuri.  It was an interactive afternoon where three other bloggers and me literally had a taste of ‘Japan’ at one of the finest Japanese restaurants in the city.  The insights shared by the team about Japaneses customs, culture and traditions in addition to the cuisine were truly interesting.

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Ambience:

The decor at the award winning Matsuri is simple, contemporary yet elegant.  The restaurant that has 52 covers has decor that is representative of Japanese traditions which includes the beige color scheme, extensive use of wood and typical Japanese artefacts and wall paper.

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There are four private dining rooms (PDRs) apart from normal seating and a section that has a common bench and high stools.  The latter, I was given to understand is preferred commonly by Japanese as this kind of seating is a great way to sit with strangers and bond over the food.

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‘Community table’ type seating

Again many of them prefer privacy and hence the PDRs are designed such that the guest(s) can really enjoy their solitude with even the staff entering only on the call of a buzzer.  With soft instrumental Japanese music in the background, a meal at Matsuri is sure to transport you to the land of the rising Sun!

Food

Matsuri in Japanese translates as festival and true to its name, the food here celebrates the inherent spirit of Japan.  Carefully curated by chef Yuji Okano, the food is authentic and reflects native taste and ingredients.

Chef Yuji Okano
Chef Yuji Okano

While I was under the impression that options for vegetarians like me would be limited in Japanese cuisine, I was pleasantly surprised.  The vegetarian fare was wholesome, healthy and filling.  While most cuisines serve soups and appetizers separately which is then followed by the main course, Japanese cuisine serves most of these together as a ‘set meal’ so that you can ‘mix and match’ the components.

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The vegetarian plate had  ‘tempura‘ which is essentially butter fried vegetables with white radish and tempura sauce, Japanese style pickles, deep fried tofu and vegetable dumplings served with boiled vegetables.  The Mizure and Teriyaki sauce that was served were bursting with unique flavors.  My favorite was the butter fried vegetables due to the crunch and mild taste.

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The miso pasted soup full of veggies was delectable.

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This was followed by the Sushi platter after which came the Udon noodles that was served with a soya based soup.  The spread was filling and most of us had a hard time finishing the portions!

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Fruit creme Mitsumame served for dessert was awesome to say the least.  Not so sweet in taste, the combinations of fruits, ice cream and seaweed agar gelatin is unbeatable.  With the components blending beautifully yet reflecting the individual flavors in a way that is no one element is overpowering speaks volume of Yuji Okano’s expertise.

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Details

Matsuri is open for lunch (12.00 – 15.00 hours) and dinner (18.00 – 23.00 hours) and is located at The Chancery on Lavelle Road.  Do visit this link for more details.

Click here and here for my other restaurant reviews .


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