The Yakiniku experience at Hyatt Regency Chennai

Pop up restaurants seem to be the flavour of the season and the latest one is at Hyatt Regency Chennai, dishing out Japanese fare. Stand at the entrance and the amazing aroma of grilled food will draw you in quite effortlessly.

Housed in the space that used to be Biscotti, Yakiniku is like a bustling street-side restaurant. The space is really small, a sushi counter, a display case bursting with fresh produce and the grill dominate one half of the restaurant while the rest of the space is occupied by tables and chairs. Shelves on a wall near the kitchen are stacked with Japanese sauces. Can it get more authentic than this?

Origami in the wall niches

Panels like this one hung on the walls

I reached a little late and so missed the inauguration but the place was humming with activity. Busy chefs manned the grills and the sushi stations, harried service staff rushed about with orders and happy diners of many nationalities were busy tucking into the food. You know what - this is a good time to show off your chopstick skills!

Jumbo prawns, scallops and tuna

Going through the menu, we realised that several more visits would be needed to make a fair assessment! A friend was tucking into a plate of nasu dengaku - fried eggplant with miso and sesame seed sauce. Eggplant is not something I relish or even like but I tried a small piece and it was delicious. Loved the smoky charred flavour of the vegetable and the sauces. Asahi beer is on offer.

Chef Kenny from Hyatt Regency Guam

We watched Chef Kenny from HR Guam make sushi and sashimi. His hands were a blur of motion and in the space of a minute, 3 kinds of nigari sushi sat pretty on the plate.

My vegetarian friend had ordered a plate of California maki sushi. It was a large roll studded with toasted sesame seeds and the vegetables inside were cooked perfectly with just the right amount of crunch. However the wasabi was disappointing, lacking the characteristic "steam coming out of the ears" punch.

Niku tofu and okonomiyaki

Another friend joined us and he ordered niku tofu with thinly sliced beef and cotton tofu in a broth, chopped scallion, dashi and a sprinkle of chilli powder. The meat had been sliced wafer thin and it was a deliciously light and flavoursome dish. I found the okonomiyaki - a pancake made with flour, cabbage and carrot quite doughy and heavy but the thick tangy sauce and mayo it was served with were the saving graces.

We also got a platter of nigari sashimi that had two slices each of salmon and tuna on a mound of grated daikon and 2 scallops on a lime half. Once again, the wasabi disappointed with its mildness . The seafood sushi was average.

The seafood tempura comprising prawns, squid and fish was served with tempura sauce. I was a bit disappointed with the batter as it wasn't as crunchy as I've had at other places. However, the seafood was very fresh.

Grilled tenderloin

Our main course was grilled tenderloin. The tender cut of meat was grilled perfectly, lightly seasoned and sliced into smaller pieces and served with grilled broccoli, slices of pumpkin and tomato. And to dip in, there was the trio of sesame, ponzu and teriyaki sauces.

Chef Subrata 

Other Japanese favourites like tonkatsu, teppanyaki, octopus dumplings and soba noodles are also on the menu but we decided to leave them for another day and dive instead into the desserts

Almond jelly soup; fresh fruit with sweet agar and red bean paste

Three desserts were on offer. The almond jelly merely hinted at an almond flavour but in the fruit dish, the bean paste had been cleverly disguised to look like grapes; the slight chewiness of the paste was in beautiful contrast to the agar slices. But best of all was the green tea cheesecake with its neat layers of green tea sponge cake sandwiched with a cheese filling.

Experience the flavours of Yakiniku, open only for dinner till December 10th, 2015. A meal for 2 would be around 2600/++.
For reservations, call 044 6100 1234.


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