When Ramee Grand Hotel & Spa in Bahrain decided to bring its popular luxury Japanese restaurant Ruka to Mumbai, it not just imported the brand but also its Japanese Chef Masato Toida from Bahrain. Styled in black and brown Ruka is quite stark and impersonal. Thankfully the food is bright and flavourful.
Plonk yourself at the sushi bar that faces the open kitchen. It not just places you in the centre of the action but also in front of the amazing display of tantalisingly fresh cuts of salmon, tuna, seasbass, octopus, red snapper, avocado nigiri, Unagi Nigiri, Temari Sushi and Scallop Gunkan.
WHAT’S HOT: Japanese food is all about freshness. That’s why Ruka imports a major part of its ingredients directly from Japan, including the fish. Warm up with a drink, particularly the citrusy Konji Sasemasu which vodka spiked with ginger ale and lime juice. The peppermint “caviar” at the bottom adds a minty twist as they burst in the mouth. The prawn tempura here comes with a crunch loud enough to perk up neighbours’ ears. Another dish that’s easy to fall for is the Har Gow (moon shaped dim sum) – pink chunks of shrimp and bamboo shoot veiled in thin, crystal skinned, translucent casing. Heavenly.
The sushi and sashimi here can cost a small fortune. But skipping them is like going to Rome and skipping the Vatican. Start with Salmon Sushi that mesmerises the taste buds with its freshness and right amount of vinegar. The tuna sashimi just needs a light citrus drizzle to make it sing. For the mains look no further than the Mushroom Hotpot Rice. Earthy, buttery and fragrant it’s the perfect comfort food and is served in the hotpot that it is cooked in. If you need a sugar rush, go for the Chocolate and Hazelnut Fondant served with vanilla ice cream.
WHAT’S NOT: A heavy hand with ginger kills the natural flavours of the Grilled Chilean Sea bass. Ask your server to go easy on it.
How to get there: Ruka, ground floor, Ramee Guestline Hotel, 462, A.B. Nair Road, Juhu. Tel: 022 67159225. Three minutes walk from ISKCON temple.
Cost: Rs 4,500 plus taxes for two.
NIVEDITA JAYARAM PAWAR