The Tako Karaage served at the festival
The Tako Karaage served at the festival

This Japanese festival in town is lit, quite literally

Experience some of the best Japanese dishes at the Dosojin Matsuri food festival held in town

It has become rather common for Chennaiites to crave Japanese food these days, for the number of restaurants that serve such dishes is increasing with time. Nonetheless, the new outlets have some catching up to do, as the established restaurants are moving the goalpost further.

KooX, which is one such place that is well-known for serving Asian food, has come up with a festival named Dosojin Matsuri, where guests can savour the rich traditions of Nozawa cooking but with a twist. We were there on the day the festival was launched and also tried some of the food served. We came away impressed.

The first dish that we tried was the Sweet Potato Skewers with coconut wasabi. The dish was pure eye candy; the coconut wasabi was lit and poured on the sweet potatoes. The flame, which engulfed the dish, died slowly and left the dish with a smokey flavour. The dish was pure delicacy and will be loved by everyone who tries it.

Cheese Tsukune
Cheese Tsukune

As the miniature grill on which the skewers were placed was removed from our table, the next dish came, also on a similar grill. Called Cheese Tsukune (meatballs), the dish was delicious. We particularly liked the glaze the dish had on top, thanks to the teriyaki sauce, which also featured sesame seeds and spring onion. When cut open, the cheese oozed out from inside, which was quite nice to see.

The next dish was not served on a grill but came on a plate. The Aji Shio Yaki (salted horse mackerel) was a dish that confused us a bit. The saltiness of the fish was something to savour, but the taste changes quite naturally when one adds a bit of lemon. Then, when eaten with the radish and the soy sauce, the flavour of the dish changes again. We quite liked the dish when all the elements were combined, but could not get over the fact that some portions of the fish were a bit sweeter or fermented to taste, unlike the salty portions.

Aji Shio Yaki
Aji Shio Yaki

And the final dish that we were served was the Tako Karaage, or deep-fried octopus. It is a rather simple dish, for the ingredients used are octopus, white pepper, sake, and potato starch, apart from ginger and garlic. However, it came with a prominent dip named Umeboshi, which was both hot and tangy. The dip elevated the dish, which was made well nonetheless.

We wrapped up the dinner with a sweet drink and were pondering over how the dishes might have turned out had head chef Om Prakash not trained under a professional Japanese chef for around eight years. Guess we'll never know!

INR 2,500++ for two persons. On till February 10. 7-11.30 pm. At Novotel Chennai Chamiers Road

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