Japanese pleasure parade in New Gurgaon’s newest restaurant – Shin’Ya

Japanese pleasure parade in New Gurgaon’s newest restaurant – Shin’Ya

New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) A highway can sometimes transform the dining scene of a city. Two expressways definitely can.

In the case of New Gurgaon, the once-sleepy outpost of the Millennium City on NH-48, the Dwarka-Gurugram and Delhi-Mumbai expressways are bringing it closer than ever to both Delhi and Manesar’s Japanese-dominated industrial townships.

These expressways, and the residential condominium complexes coming up around them, are dramatically transforming the area’s landscape and presenting new opportunities to its solitary five-star hotel, Hyatt Regency Gurugram, which opened in 2013 and was last in the news when the Ministry of Home Affairs selected it as the venue for the G20 Conference on Crime & Security.

To celebrate New Gurgaon’s increasingly international profile and re-establish its first-mover advantage, the hotel opened an izakaya-style Japanese casual dining restaurant-cum-bar named Shin’Ya this past week on May 23.

The 40-seater restaurant with minimalist decor and Japanese cafeteria-style seating, and music that gets pumped up as the evening progresses, does not need a lot of decorative embellishments because it is the food that does the talking here.

And in the hands of its presiding chef, Adi Melaz, an Indonesian master of Japanese cuisine previously with The Oberoi New Delhi, the classics are served just the way they’re meant to be. So, if you’re Japanese, it will bring tears of nostalgia to your eyes, and if you’re a local in search of authentic — and not Californicated — fare, Shin’Ya, which means ‘midnight’, by the way, has to be your next pit stop.

From the gyoza (seared prawn dumplings) with a drizzle of a sweet and tangy sauce (tangy, because of the yuzu juice in it), to the addictive sweet miso-glazed melt-in-the-mouth black cod served with ‘hajikami’ (pickled ginger) sticks and ‘umeboshi’ (sour pickled plum) to balance the sweetness of miso, Shin’Ya doesn’t let you down.

In between, you can progress from the classical miso soup, just the pick-me-up you need after a long drive from Delhi to New Gurgaon, with the vegetarians having the option of digging into a creamy soup of roasted kabocha pumpkin and leeks.

Your next step should be the prawn tempura (vegetarian option: seasonal vegetables) dusted with shichimi salt; the accompanying light and warm ‘tentsuyu’ sauce will add zing to your experience.

Next on the menu were the sushi, and the chef, being a sushi master, decided to surprise us (pleasantly!) with the Black Dragon, which combines the crunch of soft shell crab tempura with the oiliness of slivers of unagi (eel).

Combined with cucumber, tobiko (flying fish roe) and mayonnaise, it’s an unusual sensory experience that you bite into.

Incidentally, the alternative for vegetarians, spicy avocado rolls, may not be as exciting, but even they score high in the taste test.

The chef’s selection of sashimi — ‘maguro’ (tuna), ‘hamachi’ (yellowtail), ‘sake’ (salmon) and ‘hotate’ (scallop) — presented artistically on ice shavings, will make you fall in love with raw fish. Dipped into soy sauce charged up with wasabi (horseradish paste), the sashimi are indeed quite a treat.

For vegetarians, the alternative is asparagus and sesame ‘wafu’ dressing, which are not quite the same as sashimi!

From sashimi, progressing to the miso-glazed black cod (king mushrooms for vegetarians) is just what you’d want to do to go back home with a pleasant high (even if you have not had a couple of cups of sake!), but the chef had another plan for us

Japanese meals do not end on a memorably sweet note, but the culmination of our meal was sesame pudding with azuki beans and a generous topping of ‘kuromitsu’ brown sugar syrup (similar to but thinner than molasses).

As you’d expect after a good Japanese meal, you feel satiated yet light, and go back home with a supreme sense of satisfaction.

Shin’Ya is a welcome addition to Delhi-NCR’s rather limited number of Japanese restaurants. Its minimal look disguise a languid dining experience loaded with gustatory pleasures.

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