Kanpai | Mumbai’s First Japanese Lounge Bar

The week began on yet another fascinating note when I was invited for a bloggers’ table at Kanpai – Mumbai’s first Japanese Lounge Bar.

Situated in at Bandra, in the same building as Shoppers Stop on Linking Road, the location couldn’t be more apt. The city is bustling with new Japanese entrants and why not? The metropolitans are always up for experimentations with not just food, but also their palates.

Owned by the same team as Kofuku (Kanpai is right next door), I have to give it to them for conceptualizing a menu that had so many unique preparations, I almost swore by its authenticity.

Chef James Biaka brings together some of the finest ingredients to create stunning food that not only looks captivating, but the flavours do exactly that – They captivate your senses in the most splendid manner!

Chef James Biaka with all the bloggers

The evening began with some in-house concoctions that charmed their way into our hearts. The Yuzu Kosho cocktail spells freshness all over and somehow seems like the perfect way to kick this sweltering heat’s ass. On the other hand, the Ume Blossom cocktail was my favourite. The crushed plums added a beautiful texture and colour to the drink and the sweet and sour finish gives a unisex appeal to it.

Yuzu Kosho
Ume Blossom
Moving on to the appetizers we got our hands on… I don’t know where to begin and how to go about this because very rarely does a tasting experience end up being as positive as this one.
Yellowtail/Hamachi Carpaccio – Oh what a pleasant surprise this was! One that deserves a #TGLPrecommendation but only to those who want to go the extra mile and savour a raw preparation like this. Sleek yet simply flavourful, the beautifully sliced fish is topped with jalapeño and served with soya yuzu sauce.

Yellowtail/Hamachi Carpaccio
Spicy Tuna Roll – Having eaten this previously, I knew what I was in for. But then I guess every chef has a way of representing his skills and singularity when it comes to creativity. Chef James delivers the most perfect set of tuna rolls where the tuna’s flavour truly stood out. Served with some dynamite sauce, the piquancy in this preparation cannot be denied.
Spicy Tuna Roll
Grilled Belgian Pork Wrapped Asparagus – Up next, something unusual arrived at our table. What looked like good ol’ (classic) bacon, turned out to be some really sturdy grilled Belgian pork. The asparagus was not overdone and managed bring in the crunch factor along with the meaty juices of the pork. Served on skewers, this one got me wanting more.

Grilled Belgian Pork Wrapped Asparagus
Rock Shrimps – As much as I am not a fan of anything that’s deep fried, these shrimps made me want to change my mind in an instant. Marinated in a special sauce by Chef Biaka, the prawns tasted fresh and the preparation makes for the perfect “finger food” along with your drinks.

Rock Shrimps
Scallops In Dynamite Sauce – Having already gotten a taste of the dynamite sauce, the fresh approach to this preparation was the sheer use of fresh but perfectly golden brown scallops sliced into bite-size pieces. If you enjoy the original flavours of scallops, this one’s sure to be an explosive appetizer!

Scallops in Dynamite Sauce
Scallops and Prawn Dim Sums – Both the meats have their own distinctive flavours that don’t try too hard to impress yet come together so blissfully. That’s the beauty of seafood and no wonder I know so many (including myself) who absolutely cherish it! For a gourmand, these dim sums can make for the perfect comfort food.

Scallops and Prawn Dim Sums
Tuna Avocado Tartare – One of the most predominant dishes of the evening, kudos to not just the way it tasted but also the way it was presented. Served with rice wafers, the flavours are unconventional and not for the faint-hearted. Be open to the idea of new tastes and you might just sense my joy of savouring it! Hands down a #TGLPrecommendation.

Tuna Avocado Tartare
Crispy Prawns Cheung Fun – A fun fusion, this dish did its bit to make any prawn lover go gaga! Since blending cuisines (aka fusion food) is the new black in the world of gourmet delights, this one stood out with its Chinese and Japanese combination of flavours and style of preparation.

Crispy Prawns Cheung Fun
Just when you think I haven’t mentioned a single vegetarian option, I’d like to say that even though the menu isn’t loaded with options, the few preparations we tried were actually quite lovely. If you’re looking for interesting rolls, I’d recommend the To Die Formaki Rolls (quirky name, eh?) and the Crispy California Rolls. Fans of edamame, the Chilli Garlic Edamame does not disappoint and it quite a treat to go with your drinks.

Chilli Garlic Edamame

The Rock Corn in Creamy Spicy Sauce was the vegetarian version of the rock shrimps and even though I didn’t try it, I heard good reviews come my way. Then there are the safe options like Crystal Vegetable Dim Sums that come with faux caviar on the top and makes for quite a visual as well as delectably simple treat.

Ninja-style Bartenders
Say Kanpai!
All in all, the Kanpai experience has enough in store for the Mumbaikar who enjoys taking a dip (in this case, sip) into the unknown… The mystery behind every dish and concoction that comes to your table will keep you glued to the ambient yet fanciful environment.

Find Kanpai on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Call: 022 66955105 / 022 66955106
Address: 6th Floor, Suburbia Mall, Above Shopper’s Stop, Linking Road, Bandra West, Mumbai

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