Vir Sanghvi feels that sushi is the new trend for the boredwithtikkamasala Indian. I’m quite fond of sushi, but evidence to that trend being broad based is still sparse in Mumbai. To mainstream, sushi must be available at places that don’t require a platinum Amex (or a scamworthy bag of money); this is sadly lacking. In America where sushi is now firmly street, decent nigiri and moderately awful miso soup is embedded into every strip mall and grocery store worth its name; not quite so in Mumbai. Its true that Thai and Mexican passed us by, but sushi is a food of expensive ingredients – the rice, the ultrafresh imported fish – so bring it to the streets isn’t going to be easy. Or so I thought.
It turns out that Mumbai has its cheap sushi after all - If not to the street, at least a food court. Atria Mall in Worli proudly sports Taste of Tokyo – a sushi joint that shares space with eminent names such as Kailash Parbat and Swati Snacks. The place everything required of fastfood japanese from coke combos and sushi posters on the wall (note the Kikkoman poster below) to the moderately-awful miso soup that seems to be obligatory at such places.
But is the sushi any good?
That’s the amazing part – while it wont make it to “award-winning” class, the sushi is actually more than acceptable (or at least, some of it is). The salmon nigiri is my favourite - at less than Rs 200 for four generous pieces - the fish is fresh, moderately fatty and definitely a real salmon (not the cheap “Indian salmon” substitute – the common rawas – whose only salmon claim to fame is that it looks a little like one).
And for those that think the rice is what makes the sushi, this one actually has rather nice rice. Sushi rice should be firm and sticky but fall apart in your mouth; what you don’t want is a lump of congealing, rice-flavoured chewing gum. This Taste of Tokyo does much better than some fancier places that also pretend at sushi (Global Fusion and Tian are two names that spring to mind). I have yet to try their rolls of which there are a few on the menu, but the place has definite promise.
A word of caution here. Don’t go there expecting Morimoto to produce gourmet wonders. This is for people who want acceptable sushi even when no expense account is in sight, and Taste of Tokyo does a good job of that. Food court, not the Imperial Court.