As Yazu completes a year and readies to enter Goa, we retrace its journey so far
It doesn’t happen often that you walk into a restaurant in the afternoon on a working day and yet you have to pick seats near the bar but it happened with us at Yazu, a pan-Asian supper club in Andheri. By the time, we took a seat, it was 3 pm and we could see women of all age group sharing tables. While some had come in pairs and in small groups, there were a couple of large gatherings as well comprising of about 8-12 women.
“We are priced very reasonably, considering the local market that we are nestled in and at this price point, there is no pan-Asian place to go. Besides this, our service is phenomenal and we also have a special kitty menu,” declares Ranbir Nagpal who along with Gurmeet Arora and Atul Chopra opened Yazu in January earlier this year and is readying to open another outlet in Goa towards the end of next month.
The idea behind
The thought behind Yazu was to create a place that resonates with the present times and it demands, be it the global look and feel of the place, the food or the service. The focus is heavy on the drinking part and which is why the trio went with pan-Asian cuisine. “With pan-Asian cuisine, you don’t feel stuffed and have enough room for a couple of drinks,” explains Nagpal. Besides, they also have a porch-like space between the restaurant and the entrance, which works as an extended bar area once the glass panel between the bar and the extended space goes up in the evening. “This space allows people to have a few drinks while they wait for their table or for those who are not heavy eaters but have come over the weekend for some drinks and small bites,” adds Nagpal, a hotel management graduate who also has run his family business of Real Estate.
Keeping up with the times
Yazu is big on experimenting and introducing new elements to their menu. For instance, their Spring Onion Martini is made from spring onion and their Bhut Jolokia Mule combines the spiciest chilli with vodka, ginger and lemon. Recently, they also introduced 24k Gold-dust Dimsums. But, that’s not all. Although they opened as a pan-Asian restaurant with a focus on Japanese, Chinese and Thai cuisine, their menu doesn’t refrain from adding a touch or an item from other cuisines.
“We have added a few ingredients which are normally not added in pan-Asian dishes. For instance, our new menu includes Rice-Charcoal Sushi, which is made from a combination of Japanese Sushi rice and black rice,” says Executive chef Karma Tenpa. “Guacamole is not commonly used in pan-Asian cuisine because it is ideally Mexican. But, we put it on the top of sushi and ensure that it all goes well. We have also added Singaporean crab and although we are not a seafood restaurant and we don’t want to be one, crabs were in demand and since we didn’t want people to break and eat it as it gets messy, we decided to offer softshell crab so that it is easier to consume,” adds Nagpal. Surprisingly, most of these elements are so thoughtfully made a part of the dishes that it doesn’t appear odd.
Their festival menu features a wide array of Dimsums, mock meat dumpling and Cheung Fun as well as Uramaki, Sashimi, Carpaccio, Nigiri and Aburi. We tried a couple of dishes including their signature Cottage Cheese in Spicy Laoganma Bean Sauce, Edamame Dumpling, Avocado Tartar Creme Cheese Roll and Matcha Icecream and to our surprise, each dish was flavourful and yet there was nothing that shocked our taste palette. “We work extensively on our dishes and every time we get feedback, we work towards it. We want to ensure that while we aim to serve authentic food, we also want to keep in mind the people we are serving to and thus our flavours are subtle and each and every palette,” informs Gurmeet Arora, the brain behind brands like Tryst, Doppio, Soi 69 and Flax.
The restaurant is also big on following trends and have churros, matcha icecream besides offering options for people who are on the keto diet, or are Jains or are not consuming sugar. “The fads are very important. They attract customers. When it comes to Keto, we don’t have a comprehensive menu but if in a group of five people, one person is on Keto diet, we want to have options for him. These days people are careful about their sugar consumption and that’s why all our drinks are made with honey, we also have some sugarfree desserts,” quips Nagpal.
The restauranteurs are gearing up to launch another outlet of Yazu at Candolim Beach on Goa. “The idea is to offer a laid back and chilled out space. It is a beautiful 150-seater at the beachside and we will be launching it will an all-new menu, which will include more local offering. We will also work more with fish and offer bigger platters since people come there in groups,” adds Atul Chopra.
The festival menu at Yazu, Andheri is available until January end. Price for two: Rs 2500