Mumbai’s Introduction To The Nikkei Cuisine: KOKO, Kamala Mills

By Sama Ankolkar July 5, 2018
Chef Michael Paul And Chef Eric Sifu

When I heard that Chef Michael Paul from Chotto Matte, London was collaborating with Chef Eric Sifu at KOKO in Mumbai, I knew that I would have to give this place a visit. I was intrigued to know whether the Chotto Matte menu specials would leave a mark on a Mumbaikar’s palette and whether the introduction of Nikkei cuisine would be appreciated by our city.

Nikkei cuisine is an amalgamation of Japanese and Peruvian food. Upon study, the history revealed that it stemmed from Peru in South America when Japanese immigrants began using the local ingredients to cook traditional recipes, sticking to their culinary heritage and techniques. Nikkei cuisine was born as a fusion of Peruvian ingredients using Japanese recipes and cooking techniques.

My companion and I, ardent lovers of Japanese cuisine, could not wait to begin our meal at KOKO, in Kamala Mills. The large space, which is appropriately dimmed by orange lights with stylish ombre lamps, set the tone of our night to be one of style and elegance.

We began with the Blue Fin Akami Huacatay Nigiri. The well cured piece of blue fin over the light rice was accentuated by the minty notes of the huacatay, a herb found in Peru, and was unlike anything I had ever tasted. I thoroughly enjoyed the Salmon Anticucho Aburi Nigiri as well. The quality of the salmon was impeccable and these sushi rolls maintained Koko’s reputation as one of the best restaurants when it comes to Pan-Asian cuisine. For vegetarians, the Amazonian Maki Roll with the tamarillo salsa, which added a slight tang to the sushi was a great choice. I also enjoyed the Courgette Wasabi Crema Nigiri because of the nice crunch of courgette stick in the sushi roll.

 

Amazonian Maki Roll

Amazonian Maki Roll

We then moved to the Hamachi Ceviche. Both my companion and I agreed that this was one of the best dishes of the night. It had a number of different textures, which were put together beautifully. The fish was smooth and buttery and paired with a sweet potato mash. This was broken with a crunch of raw onions and enhanced by the aroma of the drizzled truffle tiger milk. There were also crispy pieces of wafer thin truffle slices, which were a pleasant surprise.

We then sampled the Tenderloin Taco. Crisp tortilla shells encased shredded meat in a sweet and spicy marinade. This was enjoyed by my companion quite a bit, though I would have liked mine to be less sweet. The Lobster Taco lacked the punch of the sea flavours that I usually expect with shellfish. I would have also preferred the meat to be chunkier in texture as the shredded lobster was lost in the creamy sauce and tortilla shell.

The Avocado Yuzu Crisp was quite delicious. Chunks of avocado smeared over a thin crispy base that added a nice crunch to the bite. I liked the salty dressing which added more flavour to the dish.

Moving to the main course, we enjoyed the Salmon Anticuho with yuzu, aji, causa. I absolutely loved the meaty texture of the salmon which was uplifted with citrus tones of the yuzu and aji. The fish was cooked well and the flavours went well together.  The vegetarian version was the Young Portobello Mushroom Anticucho with yuzu, aji and causa and was quite tasty as well as the texture of mushrooms made a good substitute for the fish. I found the Shiso Brocolli to be slightly bland, however if you want a light munch, it is an appropriate call. The Coriander Miso Chicken was really up my companion’s alley. Though the chicken was well cooked and tender, I found the miso to be under toned and would have preferred it to be the dominant flavour of the dish.

We ended our meal with the Alphonso Mango Ceviche with a Lime Coconut Granite and a Milk Chocolate Espuma with Salted Caramel and Spiced Crumble. I cannot decide which one I liked better as both were fantastic. The flavours of the juicy mango were complemented beautifully with bites of the coconut and the lime added a lovely citrus tone. The milk chocolate foam with the saltiness of the crumble was the perfect blend of sweet and salty and left me feeling content and satisfied.

I would highly recommend to visit KOKO for the Hamachi Ceviche, which was the highlight of our meal. The dim orange lights, the stylish interiors, and the flamboyance of the place is definitely worth visiting and if you enjoy experimenting with cuisine, then the Nikkei cuisine is extremely interesting. This menu is soon going to be incorporated into KOKO’s regular menu so you can try all these, and more, whenever your heart desires.