Warm, decadent and supremely stylish, Dashanzi presents a passionate fusion of progressing Chinese and Japanese cuisine, art inspired decor, breathtaking sea view and spacious lounge seating, perfect for accommodating large families and groups of friends
By: Niyoshi Chudgar
Posted on: August 12, 2016
LF Says: ★★★
What has the east ever done for us? Well, for one, they are still giving us Cantonese Halibuts, asparagus tempuras and shitake dumplings - while saving us from the naffness of stuffed crusts and buttered cakes that otherwise sum up our daily diets. But does Mumbai really need another Asian fine dining restaurant? It’s a question you’ll stop asking yourself when you experience Dashanzi, a high-end luxury establishment located at the heart of the gastronomy capital of the country, in Mumbai, at JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu.
I sensed a mild lemongrass-meets-Mandarin orange fragrance, that I commonly associate with Asian restaurants, as soon as I entered Dashanzi. There is a cryptic nostalgia in the air with its grey stone ambience over-looking the Arabian Sea. The mood and ambience is elegantly simple, in shades of white, brown and gold, and split over three lounge areas. The music is the soft-stringed affair one naturally associates with Chinese eateries of a certain calibre, soothing into electro and house music, as the night progresses. Design aficionados can expect to be tickled by signature features such as a sleek, metal bar, wooden panelled lounge, sleek and minimal furniture, Asian inspired paintings sourced from world-over and plenty of foliage. Minimalist yet imposing, the restaurant sets the tone for the evening. Seated on a breezy lounge seat, I eagerly awaited the dinner service to commence.
I started my three course meal with a concoction of Asian G&T made uniquely of jasmine tea infused with gin, basil, honey and tonic water - their signature drink. Followed by a chamomile Negroni and five spice mojito, again libations unheard of before, the drinks were cleverly prepared with the right amount of alcohol, to ensure a slightly eclectic flavour coupled with fresh herbs, honey water and soda.
My main course was brought to the table within minutes of chatting with the Executive Chef of Marriott Hotels, Chef Himanshu Taneja, about his favourites and the unique Cantonese dishes prepared by his team. A Japanese Gurando Platter, Steamed Local Sea Bass with Assam Sauce, Barbecqued Lamb Chops with Braised Radish and Tender Green Asparagus, Braised Homemade Edamame Tofu with Spicy Chilli Sauce, and Wild Mushroom Rice Hot Pot with Porcini Butter adorned my table. And what a pretty sight it was! The portions were generous without being overwhelming – you won’t go hungry here (just as long as you bring your credit card).
Their signature dish of Barbecued Lamb Chops with braised radish and tender green asparagus is built on the popular American concept of grilled lamb chops smoked with sudachi lime (Japanese) and glazed with kaffir lime (Thai). It tasted succulent with a solid flavor of lime that left a slightly tangy after taste.
My favorite from the ensemble of dishes laid out was the Asparagus Tempura, an easy pre-dinner nibble that was cooked hot and fresh. It came with a crisp top layer covering a steaming, sumptuous mass of asparagus underneath. Post-deep-fry, the vegetable had a melt-in-the-mouth quality, which I enjoyed contrasted against a soy sauce and ginger dipping sauce.
The crystal vegetable dumpling steamed of comfort food and the live sushi and sashmi bar could have made for an Instagram picture or for the set of a psychedelic film. I tried the Sushi Moriawase, an assorted vegetarian platter which consisted of vegetable futomaki (shiitake mushroom and avocado), pumpkin tempura roll, and inari (marinated fried tofu). Within five minutes of tasting all the items displayed on the platter I was tempted to order another round out of sheer succulence. The wasabi paste enhanced the tanginess of the platter and the pumpkin tempura roll was especially tender and succulent.
I proceeded to try out the famous freezing chocolate balloon prepared with elaborate fanfare by the dessert chef. He captured my undivided attention with its detailed process of preparation. The dessert chef laid out the table with artfully swathed vanilla and chocolate sauce, Nutella syrup, cocoa and brownie pieces. He went on to place the chocolate sphere right in the centre of the sumptuous adornments, which was broken open to display a trickling mass of rich chocolate ice-cream. The ice-cream did not disappoint. The delicious dessert, prepared for two, can easily enthral all the five senses of an entire family.
Replacing the very popular Spanish restaurant, Arola, at the hotel, the efficient service and hospitable staff at Dashanzi hasn’t changed a bit. Every dish at Dashanzi is served in extravagant round portions offering a mouthful of the meat with intense texture and flavour. Their success is based on doing simple things with very high standards. Quality ingredients are sourced straight from Japan. Cocktails are infused with authentic Japanese citrus juice instead of lime. And a furnace-like wood-fired oven (also imported) dispatches consistently supple dumplings and blistered bases.
Dashanzi is a great place to sit back and enjoy a beverage or a gratifying meal to commence the much-awaited weekend. We miss Arola. But who doesn’t like something new to explore?
LF Says: ★★★
Coordinates: Juhu Tara Road, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400049, India