I share a few firsts with Syn, the pan-Asian restaurant at the Taj Deccan in Hyderabad. It was the first restaurant I reviewed when I started writing here, the first event I attended was held here and as far as I know, it is one of the few restaurants in the city that serves a wide range of sushi for those of us who like this Japanese dish. So, when the Taj Deccan decided to host a Sushi and Teppanyaki festival, I went and had my fill of sushi in all its varied avatars.
The varieties and the familiar taste of the wasabi exploding in my mouth with the hit from the strong horse radish echoing inside my head, reminded me of the first time I had sushi at Sydney airport, waiting for a flight to Brisbane many years ago. I was hooked since then and lunch used to be a couple of sushi rolls every time I felt like it when I lived in Sydney. I remember, the vendors sold a little 10 cents worth of wasabi in a little packet to go with the roll.
Here, Chef Sajesh Nair and his team are extra creative with their sushi and maki preparations. From serving handmade sushi with fillings as varied as avocado, eel, crab stick, salmon, asparagus, shitake mushrooms to Oshizushi – hand pressed vegetarian and non-vegetarian sushi made by using a mould – which had ingredients such as salmon, tuna, scallops, prawn, mushroom and Gari, pink, pickled ginger… each morsel was delectable and fresh to taste. The really creative dish was one of the desserts but more about that later.
The teppanyaki also has a wide range but we tasted Duck Breast Laced with Orange Teriyaki Sauce with Berries — the duck served with Hibachi rice. Each of these dishes make such a refreshing change from our usual Indian food and masalas. While most of us I am sure need our comfort food on a daily basis, the pleasures of food from other cultures cannot be denied. So for those of you who like Japanese food, till the 9th of November, you can sample a range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian sushis.
For dessert, Chef had his Teppanyaki chef rustle up a mix of fruits, lightly tossed on the Tepanyaki griddle with a bit of butter and honey. The ice cream is also placed on it then the entire concoction is scooped onto the plate. Because I am allergic to banana, Rishi Chopra, the General Manager of the Taj Deccan had the chef make one for me without the banana. The honey, the salty butter and the warm fruit along with the cold ice cream created a taste so unique and delicious, I would find eating a mix of plain fruits very boring now.
Then there was the Cocoa Sponge rolled ice cream sushi — cocoa flavoured sponge cake with mango ice cream inside and served like sushi. In one word, heaven. These were the extra creative options I referred to earlier.
While making sushi at home remains an unattainable goal for now, I am happy that I can always have my fill at Syn without burning a hole in my pocket. The food festival has a lot more options but sushi is available here throughout the year.