Wasabi by Morimoto Review
Japanese food isn’t normally a choice of food I’d go for in India, but having the opportunity to dine at one of Asia’s top 50 restaurants, with a table overlooking The Gateway of India, inside India’s most iconic hotel Taj Mahal Palace was a no brainer. My visit to Wasabi by Morimoto was a solo trip after a few days in the Indian state of Punjab.
Masaharu Morimoto is most recognised as an Iron Chef on the Japanese show of the same name, as well as the USA spin off Iron Chef America. Wasabi by Morimoto came about due to an Indian chef Hemant Oberoi wanting to introduce Mumbai to Japanese food. With numerous visitors to the Taj Mahal Palace hotel being tourists, businessmen and the wealthy locals they were already familiar with Japanese food. He wanted to bring a top-end Nobu style restaurant to Mumbai. Under the tutelage of Morimoto, Wasabi had been created as a restaurant offering modern Japanese cuisine. The restaurant also caters for the local market by offering a vast array of vegetarian options.
I arrived at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, around 20 minutes ahead of my booking to enjoy a pre-lunch drink at the Harbour Bar, which alongside the entire hotel was refurbished after the 2009 terror attacks in Mumbai.
After enjoying a glass of my favourite whisky, Amrut Fusion I then proceeded upstairs to my table at Wasabi by Morimoto, I was immediately escorted to my table by the host, and as requested when making my booking I was offered the best table in the restaurant with a view of The Gateway of India.
I opted for the Omakase menu priced at 7,500 Indian Rupees (INR) plus tax, alongside a whisky based cocktail. In experiences, I’ve had with Omakase menus in Europe and the USA, the choice has been entirely up to the chef after taking dietary requirements. At Wasabi by Morimoto I was presented with a menu, and was asked to make choices for my cold appetiser, hot appetiser, entrée and dessert. I expected to be surprised with the choices.
For a Monday lunch, the restaurant was quite busy with groups of tourists, local businessmen dining – the service provided by the staff was attentive without being intrusive, I was left to my devices reading my book and enjoying the views. Just the way it should be in a restaurant.
The food was as I’d expect in a high end Japanese restaurant, the one dish I found to be left field was the steamed tofu dish, which tasted similar to the South Indian dish, Idli. Everything else was as you’d expect. To be honest nothing really wowed me.
If you are in Mumbai and want a break from the local delights, I’d consider Wasabi by Morimoto, especially given the view as well as the stunning hotel it resides in. Otherwise I’d suggest continuing on with the delights Mumbai has to offer, for the many lovers of Dishoom out there I’d suggest trying the Parsi restaurants Mumbai has to offer or a chain similar to Dishoom called SodaBottlerOpenerWala (all one word).