Blurb: The tiniest Japanese restaurant with a Japanese chef
Atmospherics: The L shaped eatery is strictly no-frills. Tables seat four except the tatami table (semi-private) that seats six. Daikichi is the brainchild of a hotel management graduate from a vegetarian community who spotted an opportunity in Gurgaon and has set up a wonderful little eatery, currently presided over by a female chef from Tokyo. The chef tries to greet almost every table and the atmosphere is more like a club: mainly Japanese guests, all of whom seem to know each other. Visit at Japanese mealtimes (12-1 pm and 6-8 pm) and the noise level goes through the roof. Needless to say, this is a no-nonsense eatery that serves Japanese food to Japanese expats living in Gurgaon. This is the equivalent of a dal-roti-sabzi eatery for Japanese expats.
Table talk: A boiled potato with butter may not be your and my idea of gastronomy, but it is a very popular starter that is ordered with drinks: That’s the kind of eatery that Daikichi is. Tofu topped with thick wakame leaves (Rs 300) may lack salt to our palate, but that too is extremely popular as a cold starter. My own favourites were shiokara or pickled cuttlefish in a sweet sour sauce (Rs 270) and raw tuna topped with grated yam (Rs 530). Both are cold starters, the cuttlefish being napped in a sauce made from the cuttlefish guts. The whole preparation is imported as is from Japan. It is certainly an acquired taste, but we don’t seem to have lagged behind in acquiring a taste for sushi. The raw tuna topped with yam counterpoints two textures; you have to add a few drops of soya for saltiness. Stir-fried chicken liver in chives (Rs 440) is an enormous portion that can easily be shared by four persons. A medley of shredded vegetables have fried fragrant chicken livers nestling in them. Chanpon noodle (Rs 640) is another enormous portion of pork stock, noodles and shredded meat.
Plus and minus: It is rather confounding to know how much to order as the prices are no indication of portion size. All the starters are for a single person; many of the mains can be shared by several people. On the plus side, many bowl meals have little meat and plenty of vegetables and starch: somewhat like an Indian meal.
Must try: deep-fried chicken; breaded prawn; tantanmein
Food: 3.75; Service: 3.50; Décor: 3.25
UG-02 JMD Regent Arcade Mall, MG Road
Tel: 4072727; 9810013109
Credit cards accepted; alcohol served
Open from 12 noon to 3 pm; 6 pm to 10 pm
Meal for two: Rs 1600