Kolkata's popular Asian diner Wasabee opens a new outlet
Tanmoy Bose’s Japanese-Thai fine dining eatery Wasabee has found some tremendous response from patrons in the city. As the Kalikapur outlet steps into its seventh year, the celebrated percussionist and music producer has launched a new outlet at Deshapriya Park; abd Wasabee’s second outlet is just as warm and welcoming as the bowl of Miso Soup it serves.“Wasabee has always been a place where I see my friends and want others to hang out with their people. It’s familiar, it’s warm. I’ve always wanted everyone to feel at home. At times, I’ll approach customers, talk to them, tell them what’s nice on the menu; they love it and I love it too!” says Bose, whom we found in high spirits, at the month-old restaurant.
We were quite awestruck, though not surprised, with the thoughtful and sharp attention to detail; everything from the exquisite Japanese wall art to table cards featuring Daisaku Ikeda's poetry seemed to have found a place to fit in. Even the coasters made for an interesting read about the history of the restaurant’s Japanese name. We asked the maestro why he chose to open a second outlet in South Kolkata. “This is closer to my place, it’s almost my para, and I have always wanted a place which I could personally help grow. I’ll never expand it in a way that it will go out of my hand, though I do want to open up something in Salt Lake,” Bose tells us.
Wasabee is perhaps one of the very few places in Kolkata that makes authentic ramen and Vietnamese Pho, and has a diverse Sushi menu. Bose, who has taught at the University of Nagoya for seven years, and has several Japanese friends and pupils, wants the culture to find its place in the city. “I’ve grown used to the Japanese way of life. I love the culture, the music, the cinema. I play the shamisen and the koto (both stringed musical instruments). Japanese food is healthier than most Oriental cuisines; people on a diet, especially, will love it,” he adds.
Amid our hearty conversation, we were offered the strawberry flavoured Wasabee special mocktail, made with pineapple and mango juices and ice cream. Imagine the smoothest summer mocktail, only better, as the ice cream adds an incredible consistency to its taste, and undercuts the citrus hints. There's also a Wasabee Special soup, which might well be the most thoughtfully put together item on the menu. The soup is made with shrimps, chicken, assorted vegetables, flavoured with garlic and served with a generous load of glass noodles. What really struck us was the flavour, as the soup does not overstep things with too much seasoning and brings out the taste of the meat and veggies, while the noodles makes it more wholesome.
As we discussed the soup, our appetisers started pouring in. The first thing we were offered was Ikan Bakar, a Malaysian dish made of charcoal grilled fish, which is an improvement on standard barbecued fish. Made with grilled bekti and wrapped in a banana leaf, you can taste the smokey notes, even as the seasoning switches up your taste palate. One of the most interesting things on the menu was the Yaki Tori, an assortment of skewered meat, served with a rich sauce. From chicken covered in pork, to grilled Tsukune or chicken balls, and of course, prawns and ham, this would have been our favourite appetiser, had it not been for what came next.
We’re talking about the Ebi Uramaki; sushi made with Japanese vinegar flavoured rice, wrapped and garnished with Tempura Fried Prawn. It’s safe to say the new Wasabee, just like its older counterpart, is a haven for good Sushi. The flavours are well-curated so that each ingredient stands out, individually, and when you try the Kiko Man Soya Sauce, it's a royal explosion of Oriental goodness.
Price for Two: Rs 1,500