Konomi, the month-old Japanese restaurant in Gurgaon’s Trident Hilton has the wow factor, in spite of being only 25 covers large. It is the only place in the country that actually serves the hideously expensive fresh wasabi. What is more is that the root is grated at your table, as many times as you require, at no extra cost! It’s the unique selling point of Konomi, and just that is a perfectly valid reason to visit.
The other gratifying aspect about Konomi is that it does not stick to one or the other method of cooking, but a panoply of them: sushi, sashimi, teriyaki, donburi, soba noodles and soup. Most other restaurants offering Japanese food, serve either only yakitori or sushi. The only downside of all this is that Konomi is not about to win prizes for being the most inexpensive restaurant any time soon.
O Toro, the highly prized lower belly of the yellowfin tuna costs Rs 3250 for five pieces of sashimi, but that is the most expensive sashimi there is because of its high fat to muscle ratio that connoisseurs enjoy. Far less expensive is the section called Chef’s Signature. Composed mainly of uramaki (rice outside, nori inside), the include unagi, scallops and ebi tempura or other equally delicate yet exciting combinations. Chef Ramon, fairly new to India, has not tweaked his sushi to the local palate, and so, except for a slight over-seasoning of the sushi rice, his sushi is largely the same as it would be served anywhere in the world.
However, it is the Donburi that is Konomi’s real claim to fame. Essentially the Japanese version of rice and curry, each beautifully lacquered lidded bowl contains a filling portion of real Japanese rice and a portion of Salmon (Rs 1975), Shrimp Tempura (Rs 1575), Chicken and Egg (Rs 1275) or Vegetables (Rs 1175). It is served with a radish relish that is imported from Japan, a bowl of cold stir-fried vegetables like asparagus and broccoli and delicious miso soup. If you want to try out Konomi, but are put off by astronomical prices, just stick to the Chicken and Egg Donburi – it is a full meal and it is hardly much more expensive than most other places in its category.
The other good value for money is the Lobster Teriyaki (Rs 1675). Served in the half shell, the portion size is generous, though it is by no means a full meal – you would need to supplement it with Soba Noodles (Rs 575).
Where Konomi has to watch out for is its Clear Soup (Rs 425-475) which was devoid of any defining flavour whatsoever, the fact that its authentic Japanese rice is not sticky enough (the cooking process is at fault). Apart from Green Tea Ice-cream, there are no desserts.
Where it scores is in the effort it has made to put up a good show, from the plates and serving dishes to the impressive list of Sakes, Liqueurs, Shochu and Japanese Beers and Teas, all in a contemporary, international setting. ends
Trident Hilton Gurgaon
Open from 12 noon to 3 pm and 7 pm to 11.30 pm
Alcohol served; all credit cards accepted
Average cost of a meal for two: Rs 2,000