Restaurant Review: A First Look At Megumi That’s Set To Woo Mumbai With Its Japanese Cuisine

A little mystery, a little luxury and a lot of flavour - Megumi throws the light on modern Japanese food and hints of Chinese flavours.

Published On Feb 28, 2024 | Updated On Mar 08, 2024

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Green-and-gold oriental wallpaper greets you as you enter the elevator. When you step out on the ninth floor, you see a mesmerising mural of a mysterious woman, surrounded by bamboo accents. The arched double door is embellished with bamboo too and when you push through, there’s more bamboo on the walls and ceiling. It lends Megumi a warm and wild feel, which is perhaps what interior designer Minal Chopra set out to do when she chose this theme inspired by Brazilian bamboo-weaving culture.

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The high-ceilinged, double-level 6,000 square foot restaurant by Ramee Hospitality has tall windows looking onto the suburb of Santa Cruz spread out below. Inside, it’s a swish vibe, with a beautiful bar, bottles displayed to best advantage, and the eye-catching image of a woman waving a hand fan. That the fan actually moves back and forth is worth a thousand Insta stories, as is the gorilla statue and the grand stairway next to it. Very Bastianesque, if you know what I mean. 

The menu is modern Japanese, with a twist of Chinese thrown in. We are excited to experience how chef Raman Udas, who trained under chef Reif Othman at Zuma in Dubai, translates his experience to pleasing Mumbai’s palate. After we place our order, the server brings across three little dishes piled with slivers of pickled cucumber. One is just vinegar, another has a hint of sesame, while the third is zingy with black pepper and chilli. They’re a great way to whet one’s appetite, and also as an accompaniment to the food that follows. 

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Assortment of appetisers at Megumi

We start with the Soft-shell Crab Bao. To my surprise, it comes served in a lettuce wrap, which serves as the bao. But the sweetness of the crab is balanced nicely with the dab of sharp mustard mayo on the leaves, so don’t leave them out. It’s fun to roll it up and eat it all in one bite like a taco. 

They offer some interesting salads. The Baby Spinach Grapefruit is refreshing, with a maple togarashi dressing, that’s just right for the afternoon. The sushi is exactly as you’d expect… no surprises here. With six vegetarian and seven non-vegetarian options, there’s a lot on offer, and for a sushi regular, it’s easy pickings. The Rainbow Roll with crabmeat, salmon, bluefin tuna, hamachi, and avocado, topped with spicy togarashi is a magnificent mouthful. Similarly fully loaded, the Megumi Special Tempura Roll, will be popular with vegetarians. Think crispy asparagus tempura, enoki mushroom, and tofu with a spicy mayo and a sweet sauce. 

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The Shrimp Tempura roll we tried had avocado and crispy edamame to add some oomph. The rolls are made to be had dipped in soy sauce as most Indians do, so the rice is slightly drier than you’d find in a traditional Japanese sushi place. The Unagi Nigiri is well shaped, but I’m disappointed because the eel isn’t brushed with the Japanese barbecue sauce that gives it the familiar sweet-savoury taste I like. 

When it comes to steamed dimsum, they have them all, from Har Gow to Sui Mai to Xiaolong Bao filled with a rich dan dan broth for vegetarians and a nice and umami truffle chicken broth for those who eat poultry. They pass my Edamame Truffle test, with small but flavourful dumplings, which also have the crunch of water chestnut. The pan-fried Gyoza are available only in non-vegetarian variants. But the grills from the robata cater to all tastes, ranging from a unique (in a Japanese restaurant) stuffed Bhavnagri Chilli to the substantial Megumi Lamb Chops imported from Australia that are given a Korean twist with gochujang and kimchi. 

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The Matcha-Infused Pandan-Laced Cocktail

Their cocktail menu reads like an introduction to the best of Japanese philosophy. The signature Wabi Sabi is their interpretation of finding perfection in the imperfect. The name seems a little misplaced, because the drink is actually pretty perfect, boasting bay leaf-infused gin, with a passionfruit and leaf shrub, garnished with a smoked bay leaf. And then there’s Kintsugi, served in a glass that embodies this concept of fixing broken glass with gold. 

The cocktail is made with brown butter-washed whisky, a ginger-mint gomme, acids, and peated malt, and served with a fortune cookie. And then there’s a section inspired by tea. My matcha-infused pandan-laced cocktail comes with a cone of funky-sweet paste which is a wonderful accompaniment to each sip of the drink. It’s good to see that they also have an ‘Indie-Asian’ section too, bringing ingredients from India’s Northeastern states in the form of cocktails such as the Mitchinga Margarita, with tequila, mitchinga, agave, lime, and eucalyptus air! 

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The Teriyaki Salmon Donburi

For mains, I order a Teriyaki Salmon Donburi, a typical Japanese rice bowl, which I often make at home too. It’s served beautifully, the perfectly done salmon topped with toasted sesame, sitting pretty on a bed of edamame rice, bedecked with freshly made pink gari. The teriyaki sauce looks appetising too and tastes great, the right balance of salty, sour, heat, and sweet. Unfortunately, its texture doesn’t do well for long. By the time we are done with the customary photograph, the usually sticky sauce has coagulated to a stringy consistency, which is not pleasant at all. No doubt the other donburis will probably fare better, since they don’t feature teriyaki sauce. There’s the Shimeji Mushroom one with also has some portobello, sugar snap peas, and peeled daikon radish with a chilli pepper embedded in it. And one with Miso, which gives you the option of either potato and pumpkin or prawn with it. 

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Bitter Chocolate Mousse

From Megumi’s separate dessert menu, the Wasabi Yorokobi with Mango Coulis, comes much recommended. The word ‘yorokobi’ literally means ‘joy’ in Japanese, and this one does show promise. As do the Matcha Adzuki Bean Cheesecake and the Alphonso Pistachio Mochi. But we’re craving chocolate, so decide to go with the Bitter Chocolate Mousse that is served with raspberry ripple ice-cream. 

The mousse has a good texture, and though not dark, is just the right mix of bitter and sweet. The ice-cream, though, has ice crystals formed in it, so I hope that they figure out better storage and cooling to avoid this in future. If you’re not in the mood for a proper, plated dessert, macarons (in matcha dark chocolate, citrussy yuzu, coffee, or a seasonal fruit flavour) could be your sweet ending. And if you’re undecided and want it all, they even offer a Megumi Oishi, which is a generous assortment of some of their best desserts. 

The Zee Zest Verdict: Like the meaning of its name in Japanese, Megumi is indeed a ‘blessing’ for those who enjoy the flavours and sensibilities of the island nation. Go there for the vibe, spend time on the dimsum and drinks.


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