Taki Taki is a taste of Japan, with a touch of India

A new Pan-Asian place in Mumbai, Taki Taki serves up familiar flavours.
Taki taki spells ambience with a capital 'a'.
Taki Taki spells ambience with a capital ‘A’.

There’s an agave revolution of sorts brewing in India. A new agave spirit sold in Goa, older ones doing good business, and bartenders experimenting with agave spirits in their cocktails. Naturally, seeing agave listed on a cocktail menu in a drink that also has tequila, piques my interest. 

My Tales of Sushi doesn’t have the vibrant notes I associate with agave. Curiosity leads me to chat with the bartender. Turns out, the agave in my drink is a sweetener, and imported. It’s a disappointment, but luckily Taki Taki has enough to offer to tide over that.  

Taki taki has drinks with interesting names like dawn of spices, sacred koi and tales of sushi. Images: krutika behrawala.
Taki Taki has drinks with interesting names like Dawn of Spices, Sacred Koi and Tales of Sushi. Images: Krutika Behrawala.

Lower Parel seems to have acquired a new identity — the change witnessed by someone who is visiting the neighbourhood after years. There are newer high-rises dotting the landscape, more shops, a flyover garden and many new restaurants. Entering the complex next to Kamala Mills, once the go-to place for every new restaurant/bar in the city, we find ourselves a little lost. But, sheltered tables and chairs point us to what is definitely a restaurant at Lodha Crest Building. It turns out to be their sister concern, the French Café Noir

Our destination, Taki Taki, is accessed by a narrow corridor done up in pink. Opening the doors to the restaurant is like stepping into an Alice in Wonderland-like rabbit hole, except here Alice is Japanese and loves mirrors. 

Taki Taki doesn’t need the mirrors to add the illusion of space; it’s a big space with different seating areas. Done up in maroon, reds and purples, it’s a busy space visually. Entire walls are taken up by murals of East Asian elements: koi, and a geisha. An arresting bar in the centre sports Indian and some imported whiskies, wines and gin. There’s an open sushi bar. Fast pop streams over speakers, at a comfortable volume. 

Taki Taki is a venture by Bangalore-based VRO Hospitality. They promise Japanese, and pan-Asian food. 

The hamachi carpaccio (left) and the asian spiced quail at taki taki. Images: krutika behrawala.
The Hamachi Carpaccio (left) and the Asian Spiced Quail at Taki Taki. Images: Krutika Behrawala.

Back to our drinks. Tales of Sushi is on the sweeter side and pineapple plays a starring role that leaves little space for anything else. The Sacred Koi allows the plum wine to marry well with the fruity notes of grapefruit and prune. The highly recommended Dawn of Spices paints a pretty picture: a glass shaped like a bird. The citrus-forward drink has the mildest touch of spice from Thai chilli, which doesn’t necessarily require the accompanying shot of Bailey’s to mellow it down. The sweet and spicy notes of Suntory Toki (whisky) blend in beautifully with the vanilla notes in the Japanese Smash, making for a refreshing drink. The bar also offers your staple classic cocktails and an extensive wine selection; there’s sake too. 

Unfolding the Tāmras story

For food, we choose between pages of the menu dedicated to sushi, nigiri, sashimi. The Hamachi Carpaccio backs up its looks with flavour. The slivers of fish are well seasoned and sweet, with little blobs of tart ponzu jelly, garlic and for the sake of something familiar, smashed avocado. It’s delicate with Indian tadka tones. The Scallop and Unagi Nigiri is tender and sweet. Dragon Roll is a very busy dish: crunchy fried prawn, seaweed, scallions, tobiko fish eggs, and a teriyaki sauce to bring it all together. Tako Nigiri looks simple and beautiful and is light on the palate.  

There's a lot happening in the dragon roll at taki taki.
There’s a lot happening in the Dragon Roll at Taki Taki.

We round off our starters with juicy and packed little parcels of Chicken Gyoza. 

In conversation with the chef, Daniel Koshy, we learnt that the fish is imported from Japan and stored in a fridge (minus 40 degrees cooling). The local fish is sourced from the city, and from a supplier in Delhi. Koshy makes all the sauces, dips in-house. Koshy comes with experience working at Oberoi, and Pa Pa Ya. His menu, he says, appeals to those who want pan-Asian food but also familiar flavours. 

The teriyaki chicken skewers at taki taki are popular.
The Teriyaki Chicken Skewers at Taki Taki are popular.

Craving something crunchy, we order the Asian Spiced Quail. The incongruous name apart, it’s a good dish: tender crunchy pieces of quail on a bed of fried onions and celery. We skip the obvious Thai curries in the Mains and opt for lighter fare. Katsu Curry (Pork) is reminiscent of an Indian dal gosht and rice, with familiar lentil flavours and fragrant basmati rice. The strips of pork are tender, but have too much coating. The seafood rice packs a delicious punch in the Grilled Chilean Seabass. The fish itself is a tad under-seasoned. 

Butter spiced shimeji mushroom at taki taki.
Butter Spiced Shimeji Mushroom at Taki Taki.

For dessert, we yield and order a dish that can only be considered pan-Asian. It’s certainly pretty: a quenelle of mango, basil, coconut pandan, mascarpone cream, beetroot crisps, cinnamon dust and a scoop of litchi ice cream. Together, the flavours seem like a mismatch, though we enjoy the delicate pudding-like mango and basil quenelle. 

Desserts at taki taki include chocolate, matcha, cream cheese mushroom (left); and sticks & stones (image: krutika behrawala).
Desserts at Taki Taki include Chocolate, Matcha, Cream Cheese Mushroom (left); and Sticks & Stones (Image: Krutika Behrawala).

Taki Taki uses quality ingredients, takes care with their plating, and has an extensive bar menu. Go for the sushi, stay for the vibrant ambience.   

Taki Taki, Lodha World Crest, Unit 1A & 1B, Senapati Bapat Marg, Upper Worli, Lower Parel, Mumbai. Timings: 12 pm to 12 am, Monday-Sunday. Ph: +91-7400491480 

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