A decadent homage to Mr. Bharat Joyent (anglicised as India Jones)'s unrivalled passion for travel and deep love for the finer cuisines of the world, India Jones at the Trident hotel in Mumbai offers a Teppanyaki meal, among other things, which is a culinary delight and a regaling performance
By: Niyoshi Shah
Posted on: February 11, 2019
LF Says: ★★★★
Walking into the palatial reception of the Trident Hotel in Mumbai somehow still feels awe-worthy – even after 45 years. The iconic property never fails to exude an unmatched air of extravagance, overwhelming hospitality and steadfast comfort.
Neither does their most iconic restaurant. The India Jones restaurant is located at the ground level, a staircase below the popular “Opium Bar” at the main lobby. A proverbial melting pot of international cuisines, the restaurant is an homage to its namesake Mr. Jones’s many adventures across the globe. It is rumoured that he maintained several diaries documenting recipes from when he befriended chefs across the globe. When he returned to India, he set up a home in Bombay to host and welcome friends who shared his zest for life and equalled his passion for food. This home became the India Jones restaurant.
The restaunt, thus, serves rare recipes from Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia and Japan. Relish the freshly sourced, authentically prepared and immaculately presented sashimi, teppanyaki, sukiyaki, paired with the excellent Masumi Okuden Katsukuri, also known as “Mirror of the Truth” Sake.
Look, Feel & Smell
The restaurant has been designed by New York architect Toni Chi. It offers a unique narrative of an authentic Asian open seating set-up around the chefs hotplate, as well as more intimate tables for couples and families. The design of the restaurant, with its natural wooden tones and dark stone finishes transports you to the courtyards of the Edo period of Japan.
An artistic setting with wooden statues greets customers to an interior decked out with traditional Asian accoutrements with vivid Asian scripts on the wall.
I decided to sit down at the teppanyaki counter of Chef Eduardo who arranged a lavish dinner for me, regaling me with some hibachi sorcery and an arsenal of fire and spatula handling stunts, egg juggles and his famous onion volcano ruse – the gold medal of teppanyaki tricks! In this entertaining stunt, the chef slices an onion and then arranges the rings like a tower. After dousing the stack with clear alcohol, sake in this case, he sets it on fire!
A Japanese style of cooking food, the word ‘teppanyaki’ is used quite loosely, but few know the exact meaning of it. The term combines the words teppan, which means “iron plate,” and yaki, which means “grilled.” Therefore guests are seated around a large, flat grill surface and watch as the chef cooks the food while performing culinary tricks. Mind you, the performance is as crucial to the authentic experience as that of cooking the food in the right way.
India Jones has an open kitchen, not divided according to cuisines, but on cooking techniques. One section of the kitchen is for curries, another for stir-fry dishes, a third for salads and appetisers. One can inspect the live seafood section and select what you want for your meal.
A rarity in Mumbai – and a testament to their perfection - India Jones maintains two mammoth marine tanks specially shipped from Australia in which the seafood variety is displayed. The tanks retain their own PH and salt levels for up to two years. The restaurant staff has to occasionally adjust the salinity to suit the different fishes present in the tank.
The legendary Oberoi hospitality was evident in every minute detail and service by the entire restaurant team. My meal was lovingly prepared keeping every preference and dietary restriction in mind. It included succulent appetisers of Garlic chips, Japanese salad, Vegetable Tempura, Edamame and a Vegetable Maki roll.
The chips were deliciously savoury while the fresh salad was tender and juicy. The Vegetable Tempura had a succulent seasoning of salt and lemon which added to its delectable flavour. The edamame and Maki rolls were exceptional to say the least – crisp and refreshingly appealing to the palate. All of this was freshly prepared with immaculate presentation and some engaging culinary acrobatics.
After an enjoyable 20 mins of savouring the freshly prepared portions, we moved to smaller servings of the Morinaga Silken Tofu, Peruvian Asparagus and Mixed Mushroom Vegetable. The exceptionally prepared Miso soup was perhaps the best I have tasted so far and the Raspberry Sorbet dessert made for the perfect finish to an exceptional meal. The Tom Kha Kai (chicken soup with coconut milk and Thai herbs), Kerala Crab and Nabe Yaki Udon are exceptionally popular.
A true Mecca of gourmet goodness, one can also enjoy a satisfying Korean set lunch as well as tangy Asian salads as alternatives. They offer some piping hot Indian options freshly prepared from the clay oven as well.
Amongst its many accolades, the restaurant was included in the prestigious Miele Guide 2013 - Asia's first authoritative and independent guide to finest restaurants.
India Jones is the ultimate celebration restaurant – the kind of place you can visit to commemorate a special occasion, a pas de duex of mouth-watering merit and top notch variety. A resounding recommendation to every gourmet aficionado looking to enjoy a carefully prepared decadent meal.
LF Says: ★★★★
Coordinates: Trident Nariman Point, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India