Food review: A Taste of the East 

Sakura stands as a testament to the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of Pan-Asian cuisine
A delight from Sakura, A Far Eastern Kitchen
A delight from Sakura, A Far Eastern Kitchen

A Chic and inviting ambience that seamlessly blends modern aesthetics with traditional Asian influences is what Sakura, A Far Eastern Kitchen located at Jubilee Hills excels in along with gorgeous looking and tasting delicacies from Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Burmese and Chinese cuisine. Once you step into the 80-seater place, you are instantly transported to the lanes of Japan with a mighty cherry blossom tree and a statue of Lord Buddha greeting you.

One might wonder why the name of the restaurant is the namesake of the tree cherry blossom, also known as a Japanese cherry or Sakura. The interior is adorned with beautiful paintings inspired by Far East regions and the colour combination of pink and beige speaks oodles about all the midnight oils burned to design the place by the founders Vijay Cherukuri, Jahnavi Cherukuri and Bindu Koneru. “We always wanted to venture into the F&B industry and were looking for a great place to begin.

This building is right on the roadside, suitable to attract a crowd. As far as the cuisine goes, I was not into Pan-Asian cuisine earlier but my wife introduced me to it. We want this place to cater not only to the mature crowd but also to Gen Z who love Korean food. We are getting a specialised chef just for Korean cuisine as we want to serve it authentically. Even the current menu that we have is a result of two-month-long trails,” says Vijay.

The heart of any exceptional restaurant lies in its menu and Sakura took it to another level with its offerings. We started with Veg Khow Suey Soup. The Burmese-inspired noodle soup with thick coconut broth and crispy garnishes was a warm welcome to our taste buds. It was paired with one of their signature drinks called Steam Engine - a handmade engine where they create a signature flavour with a mix of orange, cranberry and masala tea. Next in the line was Mixed Fruit Glass Noodles Salad. It was a mix of lettuce, glass noodles and seasonal delicious fruits like kiwi, and grapes in chilli plum dressing.

From the appetizer section, we had Crispy Shiitake Mushroom. It had the perfect crunch and flavour. Next, It was time for us to taste their wide array of sushi and sashimi. We went for Asparagus Tempura Uramaki Roll —crispy fried asparagus tempura and spicy mayo roll served with wasabi, soy sauce and pickled ginger and Hamachi Sashimi —raw sliced yellowtail served with wasabi, soy sauce, pickled ginger and lemon slice. Now it was time for us to enjoy the Black Pepper Chicken Dimsum - sliced chicken with chef’s special sauce wrapped in crystal skin served with a trio of homemade sauces. The red skinned dimsum was delicious and had a burst of flavours. We also tasted Mountain Style Soup Dimsum (Chicken). The mountain style spicy soup dimsum all the way from Nepal served with spicy sesame sauce made our taste buds dance with joy.

In order to cleanse our palate, before we jumped right into the main course, we had Sakura Co-Lada, a tropical rendezvous of fresh cream, pineapple, banana and coconut blended to perfection for a tantalising escape. It was time for us to taste the main course and we went for Sakura Hot Chilli Chicken Ramen and Chicken Hot Stone Bowl Dolsot. The ramen had a rich chilli-infused homemade broth served with exotic vegetables which gives you a fiery kick and a symphony of taste in every slurp.

Whereas, the dolsot, the Korean style dish also called Bibimbap served in a hot stone bowl, was a combination of sticky rice, vegetables and a choice of chef’s special sauce like Korean Gochujang, Chilli Basil, Black Pepper and Chilli Garlic. Next on our food journey were Chilli Garlic Prawns, the crispy prawns glazed in their homemade chilli garlic sauce were just yum. Even their Cilantro Coriander Chicken, where they had chicken tossed with fresh green chilli and coriander sauce was a flavour ball. Not to forget the Fresh Pineapple & Sriracha Sole Fish — the wok tossed sole fish and pineapple chunks in sriracha sauce was delectable. We rounded off our Far East expedition with Pineapple Panna Cotta, the sweetened cream lusciously set with gelatin, moulded with a hint of vibrant Thai flavours that gave us the perfect adieu.

Sakura stands as a testament to the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of Pan-Asian cuisine. With its thoughtful blend of tradition and innovation, this new culinary hotspot is sure to create waves in the city’s ever-evolving gastronomic map.

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