I was one of the invitees at the pre-launch of Kanpai Lounge Bar, which is Bandra’s newest bar with yum Japanese appetizers. It is located at the Suburbia Mall in Linking Road, Bandra, and is a part of Kofuku, which is considered as one of the popular Japanese restaurants in Mumbai. While both Kofuku and Kanpai are in the 6th floor of the mall (above Shoppers Stop), these two look totally different. While Kofuku serves fine Japanese delicacies, Kanpai Lounge Bar serves Japanese finger food with your favourite drink!
The lounge has a contemporary feel to it, with soothing lighting and motifs from the annual Nebuta festival in Japan. The walls look similar to the comics by the Japanese artist Shohei Emura. The seating is comfortable, but a bit formal. The lounge will be re-launched with a fresh menu by the end of this month.
While we enjoyed the ambience and the cosy vibe, we were treated with a fantastic cocktail. The Yuzu Kosho Cocktail is spicy and bursting with citrus Japanese flavours. I simply loved this cocktail. It just cools you down as the temperature rises outside!
A great lounge bar to chill out and beat the heat with soulful cocktails is something that I look forward to during Mumbai summers. The light, refreshing and wonderfully tart Ume Blossom cocktail has hints of peach, which is just perfect to settle you down into the comfortable couch while foot-taping music plays in the background. Don’t judge a cocktail by its colour. Although pink, the cocktail is not quite “girly”. Boy, go for it!
We kicked off the evening with a yum plate of Spicy Tuna Roll. Delicately spiced tuna sushi is always welcome, isn’t it?
A light and extremely refreshing plate of Yellowtail Carpacchio/Hamachi Carpaccio soon followed. The fish was extremely fresh and sashimi grade: one of the prerequisites for any sashimi. The flavours were simple, but just spot-on with that crunchy ring of not-so-spicy chilli on top. Yellowtail has loads of flavour. Try this dish for sure! For me, it was a perfect example of Umami.
If you ask me, the Tuna Avocado Tartare won the gold medal. It looked beautiful. When we taste the dish, each flavour complemented the other so well! The tuna was fresh and tasted great with the creamy avocado.
I also tried the vegetarian To Die For Maki Roll which was a vegetarian sushi with creamy avocados on top. The Crisp California Roll (vegetarian) was equally interesting, and it had a thin strip of crispy tofu on the outside layer of the sushi. Both the vegetarian sushis were quite enjoyable.
Another must-have at the Kanpai was the Grilled Belgium Pork with Asparagus. If you love pork with the crunch and the freshness of asparagus, then this dish is for you to try. This dish goes quite well with the Yuzu Kosho Cocktail. A perfect finger-food for the evening, I must say!
The Rock Shrimps were good, but not something that I would love to order again and again, as I don’t like fried food. Those who love deep-fried delicacies with their drink, will however love these plump, fried shrimps.
So what’s the dish that I would definitely order again? The Scallops in Dynamite Sauce will top my list. Cooking scallops requires a great deal of attention, apart from the fact that the dish is ruined if the scallops are not fresh enough. I was extremely pleased with this dish here. The scallops tasted fresh and the perfect searing gave that wonderful brown crust to these seafood beauties. The meat was firm, yet soft and juicy. The Dynamite sauce was a great accompaniment with this.
Vegetarians, do try the Crystal Vegetable Dimsums. They also served us lightly browned Gingko nuts on skewer sticks, which were just okay.
In general, I love Edamame. At Kanpai, they served the Edamame beans with a yum chilli-based sauce. According to me, this is one of the simplest and yet perfect dishes to make a Japanese lounge experience complete. Whether you are a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian, the childlike pleasure of taking out the delicious beans and chewing with a hint of chilli, is fun and incomparable.
We did try the Crystal Prawn Cheung Fun too. This dish transported me instantly to my Hong Kong days. The rice roll was thin like paper and deliciously soft. The prawns stuffed inside were succulent enough. It was a filling dish.
Soon it was time to waddle on home. But I loved the evening, the food and the drinks at the Kanpai Lounge Bar. Say “Kanpai” and try their magical shots sometime soon! Mumbaikars, give Kanpai a try: you’ll love this Japanese experience.
Address: Kanpai Lounge Bar, 6th Floor, Suburbia Mall, Above Shopper’s Stop, Linking Road, Bandra West, Mumbai.
Reservations: 022-66955105 / 022-66955106