Not many will believe that as an avid foodie and a food writer, I have never been to Megu at Leela, Delhi. Infact even I was under the impression that I have been there only to be proved wrong when I recently visited. The occasion was the launch of the winter menu of this specialty Japanese restaurant where the dishes are primarily focused upon root vegetables, dry vegetables and cold water seafood. Before I begin, I must add that Japanese is one of my favourite cuisines and I fell in love with it even more when I visited Japan on the invitation of Japanese Government few years ago. Known for its freshness of food and cooking it without taking away the flavours of its star dishes, Japanese cuisine just grows on you.
Megu’s 72 seater with an equal number of seating available in its alfresco, features a signature Crystal Buddha elevated over a pool of water with a Japanese Bonsho bell suspended from the ceiling. The 800lb bell at MEGU invokes the classical Japanese handiwork in the Todaiji temple in Nara, Japan. Following the East-Asian colour theme of red and black, lacquered channels at MEGU showcase the aesthetics of a traditional Japanese restaurant.
I am here to taste the special chef curated menu which starts with 3 cold appetisers coming first. This platter had Tokyo Iri Hijiki, Hokkaido king crab with ikura and Nanohana. If you are also as clueless about these names, as I was till some time ago, then here is the explanation.
Tokyo Iri Hijiki are Simmered seaweed and assorted vegetables with roasted white sesame sauce which is a high dietary vegetable cultivated beneath the sea by fishermen is cooked in soy dashi broth, mixed with organic vegetables and is dressed with white roasted Japanese sesame sauce.
Hokkaido king crab with ikura is one of the most expensive fetch, the king crab is de shelled, blanched in salt water and is served with soya salmon roe.
Nanohana is the Japanese rapeseed plant that marked its presence since the Edo period; the baby plant is simmered in dashi, soy and wasabi and is served over soft bonito flakes.
The second platter was the selection of Sashimi and Sushi. It has variety of fishes and even though Delhi is nowhere close to the sea, these fishes most of which were seemingly flown from Japan, were as fresh as you can ever get. The Sea Bream had the buttery texture, Peony shrimp were relatively sweet compared to the other shrimps that I have tried, Scallop Tataki were nicely seared, but my favourite was the Blue Fin Tuna. This lightly blanched tuna has a bright red color and it was paired with Seruvga Caviar.
I had the Zoni soup for the first time. Just like the famous Miso soup, Zoni has a light bodied dashi broth flavored with yuzu, rice cakes and braised duck. I don;t know if it is the classic style but I found the rice cake piece to be bigger which when chewed does not let one enjoy other flavours. I wish they were done in smaller bites size pieces.
In the mains, we were served small pieces of the Arimayaki glazed Chilean Sea bass & Black Cod. While Chilean Sea Bass has a minor twist of sansho flavored sweet soy sauce, I have never had black cod in this form. Black Cod is a buttery and flaky fish known for its taste. This one is cooked with lotus root, tofu and wakami flavored dashi broth. The dish is unique but I somehow did not get the Black Cod flavors for which it is so well known.
The meal ended with a grand selection of Petit Fours. There is Wasabi Cheese cake, Sake Granita, Yuzu Lemon Tart Flambe, Ichimi truffles and Green mocha macaroon. My favourite here is the mildly sweet black sesame macaroon. Do give it a try.
I am happy that I visited Megu. For whatever little I tried, it certainly deserves couple of more visits.
Rating (Out of 5)
Food: 4.0 | Service: 4.5| Ambience: 4.5 | Overall: 4.5
Meal for Two: Rs10000 | Wheel Chair Friendly: Yes | Credit Card: Yes | Alcohol: Yes | Timings: 7p.m. to 11:45 p.m. | Child Policy: 12 years and above | Dress Code: Formals or Smart Casuals
Address: Megu, The Lobby Level at The Leela Palace, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi
Disclaimer: This review was done on an invitation from the restaurant. Due judgement and care has been applied by the author to remain objective and unbiased in the review, but readers need to consider this review keeping this fact in mind.