In a line: Your go-to place for the ultimate Japanese food in Gurgaon.
Price for two: Rs. 3000(Approx)
Location: Sector 29, Gurgaon (behind The Pllazio Hotel)
Must haves: Chicken gyozas, tuna tataki, fried salmon roll, katsu
What comes to your mind when you think of Japanese food?
Raw fish? Seaweed? Healthy food?
If you’re under the impression that Japanese food revolves majorly around sushi and ramen, then it’s time to rethink! From the deep fried tempura to crunchy and golden chicken karrage to falling off-the-bone pork ribs, the land of rising sun has a plethora of dishes to offer, which will leave no palate dissatisfied.
After longing for a while to enjoy a wholesome Japanese meal, I was redirected to try Nagai, a Japanese restaurant that hails from Ibiza in Spain. Nagai, which stands for Longevity in Japanese, is a contemporary Japanese and Sake bar that is tucked away from all the microbreweries crowding Sector 29 market in Gurgaon.
Spread across two floors, Nagai has a chic ambience at its disposal, that is marked by hues of grey and brown, which is accentuated with large murals of geisha that successfully draw one’s attention.
The non-vegetarians are sure to rejoice, but there are options for vegetarians and vegans as well. While the restaurant boasts of its authentic Japanese food, there are a few dishes that have Thai, Mediterranean and even Mexican influences.
After getting seated at the traditional tatami table, I began the degustation with a heart-warming miso and seaweed soup, which was perfect to set my palate for the upcoming dishes. This was followed by juicy chicken gyozas, which are traditional Japanese dumplings that are first steamed and then fried on one side, giving them a crisp base.
Coming to a Japanese restaurant and not trying the sushi’s is no less than a sin. Obviously, I didn’t commit that and ended up ordering a dragon roll, crispy salmon roll and an avocado roll. Each of them tasted excellent, but if I had to pick a favourite, it has to be the crispy salmon roll. I was under the impression that the salmon inside the sushi would be deep-fried, but it was the roll itself that was coated in tempura and then deep fried!
I opted for Ten Donburi or rice bowl with fried vegetables and king prawns. Sitting on a bed of rice with teriyaki sauce, the vegetables and king prawns were deep fried in tempura batter, giving it the ultimate crunch. Speaking of deep fried and crunchy, the chicken katsu is a dish that seeks attention. Chicken thigh, crumb fried, golden and crisp on the outside, comes on a bed of steamed jasmine rice, making it a dish that one shouldn’t miss.
Before jumping on to the desserts, to wash the meal down and make some space, I tried the Sencha and Genmaicha tea, both of which are consumed majorly in Japan. While I enjoyed the simplicity of Sencha, it was the nuttiness and aroma of roasted rice in genmaicha which made it a favorite.
Being a choco-freak when it comes to desserts, I couldn’t help myself but to order their in-house cinnamon and dark chocolate semifreddo. This semi-frozen and creamy Belgium dark chocolate dessert had a beautiful undertone of cinnamon, which complemented the chocolate very well. Bits of dark chocolate chips added the crunch bit, making it a texturally balanced dessert. Though if you are not looking at bold flavours, then the coconut panna cotta is for you. Perfectly set and wobbly, the coconut panna cotta gets its sweetness from the fresh mango puree that it comes on. The garnish of candied ginger is an unusual yet beautiful addition to the dessert.
Confession: A meal at Nagai might end up costing a bit, but the food, the swift service, chic ambiance and the entire experience overall, make up for it.
Value for money: 4.5/5