I’m not sure when Japanese food became famous, but somewhere between my obsession with pasta and paneer makhni, it did. And since then there’s been an influx of restaurants offering Japanese food and making sushi the in thing.
Now I know what you’re thinking…
Japanese food? Isn’t that for non vegetarians only?
Apparently and delightfully not!
I recently went to Tatami in Bandra. I had heard really good things about it and had also been to the Japanese restaurant formerly at that venue, Kofuku. (Kofuku still exists by the way, it has now shifted to the same building as Bandra Shoppers Stop.)
When I walked into Tatami located in the KFC building on Linking Road (above Bar Stock Exchange) I was a little perplexed as it looked exactly like its former establishment Kofuku. I thought my mind was playing games on me, but then I asked my friends who were with me and they confirmed my thoughts. So while the ambience is pleasing – in an oriental sort of way, it’s not way out of the ordinary. They welcome you with a loud gong as you walk through the doors which can be a little alarming and amusing at the same time.
We proceeded to an empty table. At 8pm, most of the restaurant was empty so we could choose whichever one we pleased. But in an hour the restaurant was buzzing and the vibe picked up.
I have only tried veg sushi a couple of times in my life, and was excited to explore more. Luckily this time we were in good company, and the friends we were with had sampled a lot of Japanese food before and therefore made some great recommendations.
For drinks I went in for a white wine Sangria and the boy settled for a Bira (his new love). My friend ordered a saké and I was excited to try it because somehow I had never before. I learnt that you could even opt for a warm saké, but thankfully she went in for a normal one. Imagine having warm alcohol…well actually we do have flaming shots…clearly, I digress.
For starters we tried two different vegetarian sushis (wait, what’s the plural of sushi? Is it sushii?)
And the non vegetarians amongst us went in for crab meat sushi and some chicken on skewers – if I’m not wrong it was called Yaki tori.
The food and drinks came within no time and I must admit – they looked gooooood.
The Tatami Vegetarian Roll was a burst of flavours in my mouth and is the number one thing I’d recommend to anyone going to this restaurant. Oh, and I was totally brave and loaded it with Wasabi too – because as the old saying goes; ‘when in Japan…test the strength of your nostrils.’
The Kyuri Wrapped Roll was also nice but was heavy on the cucumber taste, so avoid if that’s not your thing. It had a cream cheese filling which was light and lovely.
The soft shell crab roll was crunchy and full of flavours and the non vegetarians couldn’t stop raving about it. Their grilled chicken skewers (Yaki Tori) were spicy and gone in 2 minutes, which I will take as a good sign.
I had no clue saké comes in a little cup like that. It’s almost like a shot glass – it’s a shot cup. But you can’t have it like a shot. You have to have it slowly, like sip on it. It reminded me of being in Nepal and we had this drink called Raksi along with our meal which was pretty damn potent. This one, I’m not so sure since I only had a sip. I liked the taste though – maybe I’ll be daring enough to order one for myself next time.
By the way, the staff at Tatami is super helpful so in case you’re confused about what to order or what will go with which dish, just ask them. We were asking them lots of questions and they were patient and responsive.
The sangria was average so I’d skip that if I were you.
Honestly, I was already pretty full at this point but how could I pass the chance to have authentic Japanese mains?
The vegetarians at the table ordered a Katsu Curry with sticky rice. (Btw, the menu doesn’t show Katsu curry as a veg option at all – we just asked them if it was available and they obliged to make a veg version.) Now the first flavour that hits you when you try Katsu curry is Maggi. It’s like the Maggi gravy but a little smoked with veggies inside. I know this sounds like it wouldn’t be all that great – but it was! It was like soul food. The kind you need if you failed an exam, or got dumped, or are missing home. You have to try it – get the non veg variants if you like.
Veg tempura (Japanese bhajiya) came with one of the mains and I devoured it. I’m certain I’d never eat those veggies if they weren’t fried.
The non vegetarians ordered some Korean Fried Chicken with Teppanyaki fried rice. The rice was veg and yummers! They said their chicken was super too. At this point, I’m too stuffed to ask them more questions and quietly take their word for it.
Besides, our takeaway from the night was unanimous – the food here is excellent.
It’s really one of those places that checks all the boxes in terms of quality, quantity, presentation, service, etc.
I found the restaurant well priced too. I guess you should always go to such places with a group so that you can try multiple interesting things instead of ordering one thing and sticking to it whether you like it or not. (Though to be fair, there’s nothing we didn’t like!)
The owner/manager was really talking up their dessert menu but we owed it to our systems to stop eating. Who knew sushi could be so filling? I was legit stuffed! It could also be because I had one more glass of wine as well, but whatever – technicalities!
I’m definitely going back to Tatami though, I have officially been converted!