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March 14, 2018

Fine food in a budget


March 14, 2018

Islamabad: The dimly-lit interiors, wooden walls, hypnotic fish aquariums, and artistic sushi presentation could make you feel as if you’re sitting in a Tokyo restaurant.

But it's the Sakura at the Marriott Hotel, the pioneer in introducing the Japanese delicacy to Islamabad, which has won plenty of admirers among the city’s continental food lovers within a short time.

“I crave sushi more than any other delicacy in the world. This is because it satiates me on all levels, from the artistic presentation to the light after feeling, to the exotic usage of chopsticks. What is not to love? Though many places offer sushi in Islamabad, in my humble opinion, this is the best place for it because the entire fine-dining experience here is simply exquisite,” Salima Jamal, a young working woman, told ‘The News’ at the Sakura.

Offering from Murasaki to Suki Sushi to Wild Rice, the restaurant recently introduced the Sushi Platter to the delight of visitors. Served during lunch time for Rs1500, it consists of four pieces of Crispy Maki, four pieces of Amna Maki and two pieces of Avocado Maki.

Standing stands out from them is the Crispy Maki, the elongated fluffy roll instead of four individual pieces with the Crispy Panko covering it. The rolls are softer than usual, are covered with caviar, and are a treat for the senses.

The Amna Maki is especially delicious with its crab filling and Nigiri wrapping, the distinguished flavour of sesame seeds shows that the chef paid great attention to detail. The third type of sushi is the Avocado Maki, which those allergic to shrimp order with crab. However, some complain the amount of food is not too much.

“Absolutely adoring the combination of avocado and crab, I think that the pieces could’ve been more in quantity, as I was left craving for more. However, all in all, the whole sushi platter offered great value for money,” Falsafa Khan, a university student, said.

Many like to have sushi with the Miso soup as it complements the dryness of the dish and is pretty light and minimalistic. Miso soup is a simple soup made with seaweed, soybean, tofu and miso paste. The whole platter combined with soup offers a splurge of subtle yet tantalising flavours.

In the opinion of Tariq Ansar, a regular visitor, the Miso soup is an acquired taste as is all Japanese cuisine, especially for those accustomed to the Pakistani palate. “I always tell friends, who are newly trying Japanese food, to approach it with a different mindset, as it is, in many ways, the anti-thesis to local cuisine, which is rich and spicy. The Japanese food is prepared with the philosophy of minimalism, health, subtlety in flavour and artistic presentation unlike the Pakistani cuisine, which is cooked with the intent of serving large families, focusing on instant gratification.”

The chef felt that as the world became more health conscious, more and more people were gravitating towards Japanese and other oriental cuisines and so, one should definitely try developing taste buds for the cuisine from “the land of the rising sun” as it could just cut off years from their age whilst offering them amazing taste. “For the first time goers of Japanese cuisine, I recommend Sakura restaurant as it offers the most authentic taste and a wide selection of Japanese delicacies,” he claimed.

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