Maki Zushi Festival at Teppan
I am officially going to claim citizenship in Japan!! That is the amount of Japanese food I've been eating in the last few weeks! I mean, like crazy. When Teppan invited me to take a look at their festival, I almost went, GROAN!!!! But I love Teppan. Though the knife skills are no way near some fabulous ones I've had the privilege of witnessing, the food is fabulous. For a hard core foodie, that's all that matters! I was dreaming up their Tempura Prawns, which for me is one of the best tempura prawns I've had around the world. Its super light, super crispy and I don't need the sauce they serve it with.
Teppan also has some nice sushi, but how does a place like this with quite a decent sushi menu come up with a festival? I mean, how much more can you invent in sushi? "It was difficult, but we did it," claimed their manager, Ashok, whose knowledge of Japanese cuisine was quite a surprise.
So their festival menu is split into three sections, GUNKAN MAKI, TEMAKI and MAKI. We started with the Gunkan Maki and took the Tempura fried crab stick rolled with rice and topped off with salmon. There were two pieces of each! Loved it! Simply loved it. My friend wanted to try a chicken sushi and I played along and ended up with one! Hated it. Just didn't cut it. While the chicken itself was nice, it spoiled the sushi for me. It was two contrasting flavours that refused to marry and settle down! Apparently they were invented to introduce people to sushi who are mortified by the thought of 'raw fish.' For me, that's a bad way to introduce someone to sushi, but that is just my opinion. I remember a Japanese chef once told me that sushi is NOT raw fish. "You have a way of cooking fish, Italians have a way of cooking fish, and we have a different way of cooking fish," he said. "Sushi 'cooks' in the acid of..........well, some other time.
And then came the TEMAKI. I've never seen this before so I was quite taken aback. It was a cone sushi, to put it simply. We had one with blanched prawns and one with salmon and both were very mild. This would be a good way to introduce people to sushi. Because of the amount of rice and other stuff inside, the prawns and the fish were both quite mild but retaining the flavours that sushi gives you without hitting you with it. Quite liked both. Invite or not, a meal at Teppan is not complete without their signature Tempura prawns so we had a portion of them!
And finally the MAKIs arrived. We had a tuna with cream cheese and a tempura fried sea bass. Tempura fried, yes, that is another way to get introduced to sushi. Both of these were excellent. I had a wonderful WASABI AVALANCHE to wash all of this down. And then we kept the festival menu aside and saw a nice display of knife skills with their resident chef who made a really nice Japanese fried rice with some chicken and prawns for us and finished off with my favourite dessert in Teppan, the wasabi ice cream!!!!
The festival is on till the 29th of March, but Teppan is all about the experience. I love their set menus, just take it, sit back and enjoy the chef making all of it right in front of you and you get served straight off the grill. With a meal for two costing about Rs. 2500, I really wish more Hibachi style Teppanyaki restaurants open in Chennai!!!! While this is not a vegetarian friendly cuisine, Teppan has whipped up a veggie and even a Jain version of sushi, so besides having something for the non-raw-fish-eaters, there is something for everybody!