An ordinary Thursday evening saw Pawan Soni and I seated at the Konomi Japanese restaurant at the Trident Hotel, Gurgaon, taking a sneak peak at Konomi’s set menu specially drawn up for the Restaurant week scheduled from the 1st to the 10th of April 2013. The event is promoted by Citibank to induce the uninitiated to try the flavours of various cuisines at high-end restaurants at a low-end price.
Konomi, ensconced to one side of the multi-cuisine Cilantro restaurant at Trident Hotel, Gurgaon shares its minimalist, linear décor with eastern red detailing. What the restaurant lacks in individuality, it makes up with its distinct food offerings. Sandeep Kalra, the Executive Chef and a veteran in the hospitality sector explained to us the concept behind the restaurant’s food in general, and the special, uncluttered set menu in particular. For Rs. 1000/- and Rs. 1200/- (excluding taxes) for lunch and dinner respectively, patrons shall get to taste the culinary expertise of the restaurant chef Ramon’s in a three course meal, with a choice of six main courses preceded by a choice of two soups and followed by a choice of two desserts.
The amuse bouche (Not part of the menu) of big-eyed tuna and asparagus topped with translucent orange flying fish roe was a delightful surprise. The dish, a delight both to the eye and the tastebuds, boasted of buttery, creamy tuna punctuated by the crunchy, diced green asparagus and the glowing roe, all bathed in the mildly sweet wasabi laced teriyaki sauce.
The first course of Miso soup and the Vegetable clear soup with kombu were a perfect palate teaser, the beige cloud of the pressed dry tuna swirling in the tasty broth flavoured with the fresh seaweed wakame of the Miso soup, while the clear purely vegetarian soup flavoured by the kombu sea leaf would warm the hearts of the vegetarians.
The main courses that we opted for were put together with a balance of flavours, textures, and colours- The Yakinuku, thinly sliced tenderloin and the Itame teppanyaki, sautéed vegetables with soy and garlic. The yakinuku, a labour of love for Chef Ramon, the apple-onion sauce cooked on slow fire for three hours, exuded masterful interplay of sweetness of the apple and sting of the onion accentuating the perfectly cooked tender meat slivers. The accompanying fresh salad was drizzled with a light and tasty sauce made up of oil, vinegar, ginger, carrot and onion.
The teppanyaki vegetables platter was zen-like, a balance of flavours, textures, colours comingling with the simple taste of garlic and soy. I never knew one could dish up a delicious vegetable dish with so little. All main courses were being served with Goha, the steamed Japanese sticky rice and pickles.
While the dessert for the set menu mentions Jasmine tea crème brulee, in the absence of which we were served a regular one along with a neatly arranged colourful plate of fresh fruits. Chef Kalra had earlier mentioned that while tenderloin is sourced from Europe and seafood from Japan, all local fruits and vegetables are sourced from the hotel’s own organic farm to ensure that the patrons get a wholesome and healthy experience in every way. Having tasted at home the fruits bought from the market, I could appreciate the different sweetness and freshness of the fruits unflavoured by chemicals and pesticides. The crème brulee was light and understated like all of the other food.
The set menu is a steal for the quality and choice of the food being offered. There was no sign of compromise on the quality of the ingredients, which was perceptible in the course of our meal. The serving size is adequate and the food stays true to the eastern philosophy of understated accent on the innate flavours of the ingredients. I would recommend a high “go for it” at Konomi during the restaurant week.
Ratings (Out of 5)
Food: 4.5/5 | Ambience: 2.5/5 | Service: 4/5 | Overall: 4.0/5
Restaurant week special price: Rs.1000/- (lunch) Rs.1200/- (dinner) excluding taxes and drinks.
Address: Konomi, Trident Hotel, 443, Udyog Vihar, Phase V, Gurgaon | Phone: 0124-2450606