On entering the JMD Regent Arcade mall on MG Road, you feel as though you’re in an establishment in downtown Tokyo. Lots of Japanese are having a smoke outside, and then rushing in. Curious to say the least, I follow them. They lead me right into the recently opened Daikichi restaurant.
Daikichi means great joy in the Japanese language, and that is a good enough reason for me to have let the crowd direct me in here. But the reason that brings in the Nipponese crowd here is much more definite—it is the famous Japanese noodle soup ramen, that Chef Takashi Sato and his wife Juenko Sato dish out.
As I enter, I suddenly feel like a traveler in a strange land. I ask for the menu. And experience the discomfiture that any Indian journeying through a foreign land feels—the menu, though written in English, has only Japanese words. I decide on starting by ordering the only word I understand in the menu: sushi.
The ebi sushi (Rs 200) is made the nigirizushi way, where the chef presses the rice into a small oblong shape between the palms of his hands with a bit of wasabi, and a topping of prawn (the neta) draped over it. The sushi is a manifestation of the precision Japan is famous for. The rice is cooked just right, and the prawn is perfectly crunchy. The extra wasabi sauce that I request for on the side is freshly prepared and pure dynamite. The first taste of it creates an explosion near the top of my head, leaving behind a teary and yet strangely satisfying feeling.
Daikichi’s Indian manager Sunil Pasotra (a vegetarian who knows a little more about the menu) helps me decode the rest of the dishes. Since the chef does not approve of the quality of Indian fish, the menu is limited to veggies, rice and chicken and pork in various permutations.
My next order is tonkatsu (Rs 350), a breaded pork cutlet served cut into smaller strips, laid out on a bed of chopped cabbage, onions, tomatoes and broccoli and accompanied with mustard, mayo and a tonkatsu sauce. The crispness of the cutlet goes well with the crunchiness of the vegetables, the creaminess of the mayo and the tang of the sauce.
It is time for the chef d’oeuvre—the ramen (Rs 350). It has a broth that combines miso, wheat noodles and chicken stock to create a thick, nutty, slightly sweet and very comforting noodle soup. The soup is topped with chopped scallions, sea weed, a chunky slice of pork, sesame seeds, and half a hard boiled egg that seems to have been boiled in soy sauce infused water. This dish is a complete meal in itself, fulfilling without sitting heavy on the stomach. It is easy to understand why ramen is the favourite food-on-the-go all over Japan.
So, the next time you have the urge to experience something totally different from the mainstream, all you have to do is to go down to Daikichi and order any dish which sounds familiar (or not). Chances are that whatever you order will be good. And don’t forget to ask for their fresh wasabi on the side.
Ratings out of 5
Food: 4.0, Ambience: 3.5, Service: 3.0| Overall: 3.5
Cuisine: Japanese | Timings: 12 Noon to 3 PM, 6 PM to 10 PM| Meal for two: Rs 1200 | Credit Card: Yes | Alcohol: Yes
Address: Daikichi, UGF 02, JMD Regent Arcade, MG Road, Gurgaon | Phone: 0124 4072727