This post is dedicated to the ‘Poonawalahs’ or the travellers who often travel or are soon travelling to Pune. If oriental cuisine mesmerises you and sushi makes you feel weak in the knee then a trip to DoubleTree by Hilton Pune Chinchwad should be on your check-list right away! A city which is famous for Shrewsbury cookies and Vada Pav, finding authentic Japanese flavours might be quite a challenging. But you’ll be surprised to know that DoubleTree by Hilton Pune Chinchwad actually has dedicated ample square feet to give space to ‘MIYUKI JAPANESE RESTAURANT'; their authentic Japanese restaurant.
Now if you are wondering why Pune has an authentic Japanese restaurant, then I must remind you that the city is abode to many automobile companies from across the globe, of which, a major portion goes to the Asian partners visiting the city quite often. To give them the flavours of their hometown, DoubleTree by Hilton Pune Chinchwad proudly promotes MIYUKI as their standalone Japanese restaurant in Pune city.
It’s not just in the food, but the decor of the place, a private dining space with authentic Japanese cutlery being imported from the mainland and a dedicated Chef storming up some authentic Japanese flavours on the Teppan grill that makes the entire experience quite unique. If you are well aware of the Japanese cuisine and dining culture, then you’ll definitely find the setup quite authentic. But if you have never tried Japanese cuisine but would love to gain knowledge about the cuisine culture, then MIYUKI warmly welcomes guests with a detailed step-by-step guide on how to get started with the dining experience.
Chef Amarjeet and his fantastic staff doesn’t hesitate from providing their knowledge about the cutlery, the food that they have prepared to the ways of eating it with a detailed description. I will highly recommend a visit to MIYUKI, DoubleTree by Hilton Pune Chinchwad for authentic Japanese cuisine experience. Whether you have tried the cuisine earlier or not, take it as a new experience and visit the place with an eagerness to learn more about it and try out some of the most lipsmacking delicacies that the chef has to offer.
If you are a vegetarian and think Japanese cuisine will not welcome you at all, then you are absolutely wrong. In case their are certain things that you don’t eat, just like in my case I don’t eat lamb and pork, the chef happily offers a vegetarian or chicken & seafood replaced menu to please our taste buds to perfection!
You can either sip on some traditional SAKE while you’re devouring some soy sauce dipped sushi, or you can order signature cocktails and mocktails from 3 Spices to curb the alcohol needs. Just like we have ‘Chakhna’ in India to accompany alcohol, Japanese cuisine comprises of Edamame (枝豆) which is lightly blanched soya beans tossed with some salt for taste. While we munched on our drinks and Edamame, Chef prepared the first course of our meal.
Avocado Roll, Hosomaki 細巻
- Avocado Roll, Hosomaki 細巻
For vegetarians (Sahil, our photographer) the chef prepared Avocado Roll which is also known as Hosomaki 細巻 (thin rolls) which is a traditional style of cylindrical rolls with Nori on the outside, filled with sticky rice and a filling of avocado.
Prawn Tempura Rolls, Uramaki
For me, the chef prepared Prawn Tempura Rolls also known as ‘Uramaki‘ which is slightly different from the traditional style of Makimono, since in this case, the rice sticks out as the outermost layer with a filling (prawns in my case) and nori on the inside. I definitely loved relishing Uramaki much more than I usually do with other makimono sushi styles.
Next up, we had Sashimi 刺身! Sashimi is all about raw fishes like Tuna, Salmon, Red Sniper, Yellow Tail or even Scallops and Squid which is sliced finely and served just like that.
Vegetable Tempura 天ぷら
For something fried, we tried Vegetable Tempura 天ぷら which consisted of batter light fried vegetables served with soya flavoured deep sauce along with grated ginger and radish on the side.
Tori Karaage 唐揚げ
The non-vegetarian version of it is called ‘Tori Karaage 唐揚げ‘ which is again deep fried meat (chicken in my case) served with a slice of lemon, salt and white pepper for seasoning. Although traditionally, no sauce is complimented with this dish, but since in India we do need something gooey on the side, they serve Mayonnaise as an option on request.
Egg Fried Rice 海老チャーハン
For the main course, the chef prepared Japanese style Egg Fried Rice 海老チャーハン on the Teppan grill. To maintain the authenticity of their cuisine, MIYUKI uses Japanese short grain rice for the preparation rather than going for a cheaper Basmati of India!
Yasai Itame 野菜炒め
To compliment the Egg Fried Rice, Yasai Itame 野菜炒め was offered on the vegetarian side, which is basically stir fried vegetables in a Japanese style. A very mild and balanced blend of flavours, consuming the standalone flavours of each vegetable used, which compliments the nutty flavours of Egg Fried Rice perfectly!
Teriyaki Chicken チキン照り焼き
For the non-vegetarian portion, I was offered Teriyaki Chicken チキン照り焼き, which to my surprise, was much different than the style I have in India. Not so spicy, no runny gravy or oodles of spring onion for flooded flavours. Just a simple traditional Japanese style sauce made up of Sake 酒 (cooking rice wine), Mirin 味醂 (sweet sauce), Soya sauce and sugar. And to keep up with its traditional values, this dish requires minimum 4 hours of cooking just to make the sauce!
Now technically, re-making Japanese desserts is a tough call for MIYUKI at the moment, but they do serve Castella カステラ which is a popular Japanese sponge cake made up of sugar, flour, eggs and starch syrup. Surprisingly, this cake was brought to Japan by the Portuguese merchants in the 16th century and has been named after Portuguese Pão de Castela, which means “bread from Castile”. The cake is definitely spongy, but don’t expect too much of flavours and sweetness oozing out of it.
Ambience : 5/5
Food : 4.5/5
Service : 5/5
Value for Money : 4/5
Check it out!
DoubleTree By Hilton Hotel, C 32, MIDC, Tata Motors Road, Chinchwad, Pune
Photographs by Sahil Gupta for www.kalapalette.com