With an influx of truly authentic global cuisine into Pune in recent times, us middle class folk have gained access to really high end food which was once but a dream to us. It may not always be the best in the world or exactingly authentic but we do at least get to stick our noses (or tongues in this case) into the world of gourmet cuisine without it costing us an arm and a leg.
Shizusan, at the Phoenix market city was one such restaurant I wanted to visit to get stuck in to some delicacies from the Far East. Given our current crop of Asian restaurants serving extremely brown skinned, head shaking and thumka-lagaoing versions of Asian food, Shizusan promised sushi, dimsums and a concise but well thought out menu representing various lands of Asia.
I’ve wanted to try some sushi for a long time now and after much contemplation I zeroed in on the Rainbow Maki. Being my first time I wanted something as traditional as possible but something that had a bit of a broader appeal.
Rainbow Maki – This was the ultimate maki – salmon, tuna as well as crab with vegetables and rice topped with caviar and sesame seeds. The dish was a sight to behold with very beautiful bright colours and the sushi arranged in a semicircular fashion. Miso sauce was drizzled on the plate outside the semicircle and on the inside, some pickled thinly sliced ginger (Gari) as well as some sinus-clearing hot wasabi. The different pieces had varying combinations of sea food so you got to taste something different in every bite.
The Rainbow Maki was fantastic. The ingredients were fresh and extremely flavourful. The sea-food was succulent and had an amazing texture. You could taste the distinct flavour of salmon, tuna and crab meat separately. The rice was sticky and well cooked, the vegetables had a nice crunch and the caviar and sesame seeds topped it off with some amazing texture. Dipping it in soy sauce and a hint of wasabi added another dimension of flavor and was the perfect accompaniment.
I have to mention the gari or pickled strips of ginger. It was so flavourful with a sharp hit of ginger which was rounded off by the slightly sweet pickle juice. It is the perfect palate cleanser to have between sushi. And for people unsure of the taste of sushi (raw fish basically), even my wife, who is not much into experimenting with food, loved it. So if you feel like trying sushi you definitely should, because it’s not an extreme taste. It’s really nice actually.
Chicken and Prawn Suimai – Now time for a little trip to China! Traditional steamed dimsum with a healthy filling of prawn and chicken. The dimsum arrived in a quaint bamboo basket steaming away as you open it!
The dimsum was quite thick, densely packed and the taste was incredible. It’s a very delicate flavour which heros the ingredients. You taste the meaty flavor of chicken, prawns and the steamed rice shell. If you appreciate mild ingredient-centric flavours like I do, you will love it. A dip into the traditional soy sauce or the sriracha chilli sauce heightens the experience.
Shizusan is the perfect place to get a glimpse into the gastronomy of various corners of the Far East. It is not a speciality restaurant but a haven for the beginner to sample what traditional Asian cuisine has to offer. I loved the restaurant. The service, décor and food are equally matched. Big thumbs up!