When you want to have some good Misal Pav, the first place that comes to your mind is Pune. Similarly, for Idli-Dosa, you know you would get the best kind in either Bangalore or Chennai, and for the best Butter Chicken, you can be assured that no one can do it better than Delhi or Punjab. But what do you do when you feel like having some good Japanese food? Living in a city like Pune, I had convinced myself that the closest I got to having authentic Japanese food was the meal I had at Kyoto in Nepal, and that I would probably have to pay a visit to the place again to get that experience. However, I was mistaken! Miyuki, located at DoubleTree by Hilton, literally brings Japan here to you.
A tiny place on the ground floor of the hotel, the interiors are thoughtfully designed in Japanese style. So much so, that the plates and bowls used for serving are also Japanese to give you the most authentic experience. It is a small setup, where exactly seven people can be seated at one go, which, in my experience, adds to the exclusive and niche offering of the place. I visited this place last weekend with a friend, and I can safely say that Patricia and Chef Amarjeet absolutely overwhelmed us by going the extra mile in everything that they had to offer.
Starting with the Appetizer Platter, which consisted of a Cucumber Wrapped Salad, a Grilled Red Snapper and Crab Meat with Kabayaki Sauce, our meal kept getting more and more interesting with the other dishes that appeared on the table in this order – Prawn Tempura, Turnip Stuffed with Minced Prawn and served with Fish Broth (Katsu Dashi), Japanese Teriyaki Chicken with a glaze of soya, sugar and mirin, Japanese Braised Pork, Sushi (Caterpillar Roll and California Roll), Miso Soup and Japanese Sponge Cake. The appetizer platter itself won me over and I knew that it was going to be one of the best meals I’ve ever had. And was I wronged? Absolutely not! Although my taste buds were having a really good time while trying pretty much every dish, my favourites had to be the pork and the teriyaki! Both of these preparations were heavenly and had me drooling with each and every bite I took. The good part about Japanese food is that along with being so delicious it is also presented in such a beautiful manner that you can’t help but feel special while eating it. “Being particular about the smallest of things is a typical trait followed by all Japanese chefs,” Chef Amarjeet told us. Cooking every dish to perfection is also a habit that he has inculcated in himself right from the beginning of his career.
The turnip preparation was another interesting dish, which consists of steamed turnip along with stuffing. “Steaming the turnip is a slow process, which can take up to two days, if done using the traditional method”, said Chef Amardeep as he kept entertaining us with exciting facts about Japanese food and Japanese culture throughout the course of the meal. The prawn in the turnip was delicious, the turnip was soft and extremely well cooked. However, it sort of had a bitter aftertaste which did not quite appeal to me. So I would not order it again.
Although we were stuffed, when Chef told us that the Japanese sponge cake is prepared with absolutely no butter, we just had to try it! And it indeed was simple, soft and just the right amount of sweet. It was almost hard to believe that it did not have any butter in it. If the delicious food hadn’t already made us happy with glee, Patricia and the little conversations with her throughout the meal definitely did. She made us feel very comfortable and at home.
Yes, Miyuki is located in Chinchwad, and yes, it definitely is a drive away from the city of Pune. Also, the pricing is a little on the higher side, but the only other two places serving Japanese food in Pune are O Hotel and Guppy by Ai and they are priced about the same or even higher. So if you want an exclusive experience of a Japanese meal, you can drive down to Miyuki and I can assure that it will totally be worth it.
Pic Credits: Deepa Mistry
This article was originally written for The Punekar.