KooX brings a brand new festival menu straight from the back alleys of Japan’s many cosmopolitan cities
Expect delicious and exotic finger foods and quick bites that go beyond blasé sushi platters
Trust KooX to come up with a menu to regale Chennaiites with new flavours from Japan and that’s just what they did at the recently launched Japanese Street Food Festival that was presented by Japan’s Consul General in Chennai, HE Taga Masayuki. Needless to say, the rooftop ambience of the open air restaurant (that also has indoor seating) did justice to the evening and a few hellos and conversations later, we were seated at our tables with piping hot plates of ebi tempura, sticky pork ribs and chicken tsukune. “The idea is to present the concept of Japanese street food to the city and help people understand that Japanese cuisine has bite-sized delicacies beyond tempura and sushi,” explained sous chef Umesh Singh as we began the meal.
Raise the tempura
While the ebi tempura (prawn) saw a fresh presentation with matcha salt added to create some extra zing, it didn’t really work for us, even when paired with the delicious tempura sauce. The sticky pork ribs in a teriyaki sauce was however juicy and an absolute meaty delight. Nobody does pork better than the Japanese, we were tempted to say, and we’re sure a lot of you agree. The chicken tsukune on the other hand was an absolute surprise and the minced chicken dumplings paired with a yakitori sauce had a subtle pungent bite that has us going back for more. We paired all three of these entrées with a Toki Sour — a cherry infused whiskey toki, with an almond orgeat syrup and citrus and cherry bitters — a brand new creation from mixologist Hiramon Paul.
Yes to yakitori
Our next set of entrées included broccoli and water chestnut skewers in a garlic togarashi sauce that seemed like an unlikely pairing but worked well together. The soft grilled broccoli complemented the water chestnut’s nutty notes to give us an Asian version of pesto flavours that we were pretty much on board with from the first bite. This was followed by a chicken yakitori (barbecue) that was as good as one can expect and a mushroom pizza with wood ear and shiitake that just fell flat. Maybe, keeping pizza off the menu might be a good thing, for now. The toppings didn’t work and the base just left much to be desired, pizza-wise. The saving grace was the Roku Highball that these dishes were paired with — a roku gin with martini bianco, peach and lemongrass cordial, tonic and a lemon curd rim — a drink that we’re definitely going back for. There were also several sushi options available.
We wrapped up the meal with some innaniwa (thinner udon) chicken noodles as main course and a vegan chocolate fudge jar for dessert and while the former was delicious to say the least, the latter left us wanting. We implore KooX to please get more dessert options rolling and soon!
Meal for two: INR 4,000+ (including alcohol). On till November 6.