Much Ado about Megu
The Japanese restaurant is an entirely immersive experience in the theatre of food.
Dramatic dining has held Delhi in its thrall for eons. We may never know Mughal decadence firsthand but there are a dozen restaurants that offer to replicate that culinary experience authentically, with their repertoire of hot spices and heavy curries. Japanese, though, is a subtle cuisine. Its flavour foundation relies on textures and aroma. How does it fare with folks accustomed to fanning a heat-flushed face before they can declare something delicious?
Megu switches the script and transports a spectacular stage, set to ease the transition. An 800 pound replica of the Todaiji temple bell in Nara crowns a crystal Buddha elevated in a pool of water in the central dining space. Tucked by the sushi bar is a private dining room panelled with glowing antique silk kimonos. Hand-tooled origami patterns form a mosaic entablature behind sliding Shoji screens to a more casual area.
The sheer height of each room is staggering. Outside, an oversized deck has the sunshades and low-slung couches that begot Sunday brunch. If all references to gilded samovars and marbled aangans haven't yet been dispelled, the food will definitively banish them.
The concept that a single meal should be an initiation to an entire culture can really get in the way of good food. Thankfully, Megu reserves its sermonising for Sake with a treatise on grades of polished rice but keeps the food menu clean and concise. Though Sake, specifically the piquant Rihaku junmai ginjo is a symphony that accompanies Megu's virtuouso performance.
Wagyu beef, tuna toro and Osetra caviar have starring roles, and foie gras puts in a cameo. By and large this is a lean, minimalist theatre to offset the outrageous opulence of the design. The baked unagi was an unlikely scene stealer, only brought to the table because a fellow diner couldn't have the curtain raiser of the Kanzuri chilli shrimp. 'Like popping joy into your mouth' was the consensus.
At Rs 3,000 the Wagyu carpaccio, sliced so thin it was a salve smeared on its custom-made salver, justified licking the plate clean. A cube of soy jelly dissolving in the heat of a smokeless white coal over a ceviche of salmon was a small, suspenseful moment.
The Wagyu flambeed in Hennessy had all the big ticket flair of a Kabuki opera. The music hit the only off-note that evening; insistently intrusive at a meal that otherwise had the critics raving.
BT MORE RECOMMENDS
Spicy Baked Unagi, Mentaiko & Avocado
Megu Crispy Asparagus, Rice Crackers
Meal for two Rs 8,000 (including taxes); for reservations call .. (011)-39331360
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