Restaurant Review: The ‘Quintessentially Japanese’ Menu,The Leela,Mumbai

When I think of good Japanese Restaurants in Mumbai,very few places come to mind. To sort out my great dilemma and now number one on my list of Japanese Restaurants in Mumbai is Citrus, The Leela, Mumbai.

Citrus is essentially the around the clock Coffee Shop of The Leela serving Modern Global Cuisine, its highlight being their elaborate and intricately thought of buffet. What makes this restaurant shine though, is their very special, Japanese Menu.

We all know Japanese Cuisine for its Sushi, Sashimi, Soya and Wasabi and for many of us the cuisine begins and ends with these dishes that are almost synonymous to Japan.

The Leela takes their Menu to the next level by integrating it with international flavours. They got my attention with their delectable fusion dishes and wide assortment of soups, salads, small eats and mains.

There is also some great news for all the vegetarians out there who may be worried about the menu being predominantly non vegetarian. Well, all of you have nothing to fear for there are some incredible, palette tingling vegetarian dishes in this menu as well. In fact, for people who feel like seaweed reminds them too much of the marine world, Citrus has a solution! They have certain special sushi options made without seaweed!

We started our meal with the Miso Soup, with the option of addition of seaweed this soup was light and flavourful.

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Followed by this we were served the Crispy Onion Salad and the Gyokairui Sarada. With a similar tasting soy-miso dressing and mixed crunchy leaves both of the salads were a good interpretation of a japanese salad. The vegetarian salad was served with onion rings crisped to perfection and the non vegetarian one was served with an assortment of cured raw fish.

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This was followed by some modern fusion dishes. We were served the salmon taco’s. The filling of  finely chopped salmon with wasabi mayonnaise was neatly filled into a mini taco shell and topped with salmon roe. The salmon filling was impeccably fresh, unfortunately the shell was a let down. It was a little thick in my opinion and also lacked the crispness it should have had.

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The Avocado Tartare on the other hand is my new favourite finger food.  The finely diced avocado tossed in spicy mayonnaise and served on a little bed of crisp rice is just the perfect combination of texture and flavour. Soft yet crisp and absolutely gorgeous! I definitely recommend this one.

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We were also served the Hamachi Carpaccio, which comprised of skillfully sliced thin slices of fish served with a light soy and ponzu sauce. In a carpaccio, freshness is of paramount importance and this was spot on. The sauce did not overpower the fish and worked well with it.

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The vegetarian dish of the night was undoubtedly the Shira Ae. Delicately spiced tofu and spinach served in a thick sesame sauce, this dish is a must have! The sauce is unique and like nothing I’ve had before. This is the kind of food other Japanese restaurants in Mumbai lack and the reason I would go back to The Leela.

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A very important part of Japanese cuisine is the Tempura and although we think of it as simple batter frying not many restaurants are able to achieve the desired crispness. Whether it was the tempura vegetables or the Prawns served with a Spicy Mayo every piece was crisp to perfection.

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Some of my favourite types of sushi are the ones with tempura fillings or toppings. To start with we tried the Crispy Soft Shell Crab Roll. With a filling of tempura crab, cucumber and tomato wrapped in seaweed the Sushi was quite nice.Unfortunately I lost the flavour of the soft shell crab in the tempura coating. I would have loved the flavour of the crab to have come through a little more.

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I particularly enjoyed the Dragon Roll, with a filling of eel, prawn and crab and a topping of tempura crisps this dish had great great texture and flavour.

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As a vegetarian option for people who aren’t favourably disposed towards seaweed they have the Spring Onion Tempura Roll. This sushi has a special spring onion wrapper instead of seaweed and a vegetable tempura filling. It has a slightly sweet flavour to it and together all the elements work well.

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The dish of the night for me was the Pan Seared Chilean Seabass served with a spicy creamy sauce. This dish will make every penny spent on it worth it. The buttery, soft texture of the fish cooked just for the perfect amount of time and topped with a spicy creamy sauce are all the components of this cracker dish.

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The Japanese served at Citrus is unbelievably fresh and of high quality. The service is great and the staff is extremely polite and hospitable. A special thank you to Mr. Lalit who paid so much attention to our comfort and satisfaction.

The restaurant has not only done true justice to the authentic japanese dishes they serve but have also reinvented many of them and all of them are one better than the other. The restaurant is open all days a week and the food is absolutely wonderful, so if you haven’t been there yet, I’d say its about time you do!

XOXO

Shivangi

Review Credit- Sanskaara Lalwani

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