Mizu Restaurant in Mumbai is the brainchild of Chef Jethan Lakhani and his childhood friend, Vedant Malik. Mizu takes its inspiration from the lanes of Shinjuku, Japan known for its drinking culture at tiny bars where they serve only yakatoris and gyozas with your drinks. Here our Man in Mumbai, Akhil Singh interviews Chef Lakhan and learns what inspires him and how he sees the Mumbai food scene evolving.
“The Internet has helped me connect and see things which I could not physically reach.
I have studied and trained in Japan; I feel being electronically connected is one of the most powerful tools we have.
I have a 72-hour work week, and sometimes on the weekend, but I am here over 16 hours straight at the restaurant. Well, you’re always learning if you keep all your senses active, especially in the kitchen. To create a new dish is an ongoing process, sometimes we work on a single new dish for a week and sometimes for months,” Let me also add that only 5% get passed on the menu or not even”.
How do you feel Japanese cuisine is evolving now?
“I feel it was way better than what it was few years ago, but there is yet time to be given, for it to evolve, cities like Mumbai are breaking barriers right now, i am quite excited to see what comes next”?
“Well, being a chef and restaurateur, this is thing that comes with the craft, we fly our ingredients*
What is the best way to eat sushi?
The best way to eat sushi is cuisine is holding a piece of nigiri in your hand, turned 45 Degree lightly and dipped into soya sauce. sashimi with chopsticks, ginger to be had before changing the course to clean your pallet.
What comes to mind when you enter Mizu?
“Image of Japan” comes to people's mind when they enter a popular restaurant in Mumbai (India) called Mizu.
Japanese food in Mumbai?
Did you know Rice is a popular dish of Japanese food, it depends on how you cook and prepare it for sushi.
The only way to get people's minds off Americanised sushi is to show them what Japanese food really is. We introduced Yakitori and Japanese Donabe (1 pot Meal) with an open mind, in a city like Mumbai and we got great response. Scrumptious Kakigori (Japanese shaved ice) and a Japanese inspired patisserie which will soon be launched by chef Nikhil Menon.
What’s the most difficult thing to master as a chef?
“Patience is the most difficult thing to master as a chef, love comes when you spend time with food.
That being said, I am not a sushi chef, I am a Japanese cuisine chef.”
“As a Sushi chef the hardest thing to master would be making a good cup of rice and seasoning it well, it is also important to understand Mother Earth and the impact of food on this planet. “
What’s the most popular dish at Mizu?
The most popular dish at Mizu would be the Hamachi with garam masala smoked ponzu,
We fly the fish from Japan and make the ponzu in house, it takes a village and almost 2 weeks to make a great ponzu sauce, The least popular dish at Mizu would be chicken hearts Yakitori.
You wouldn't find the smoke ponzu anywhere but at Mizu.
We are planning to introduce a lot of more varieties, you will get to know when the time is right,
“According to me Teppanyaki is not so popular in Mumbai, even though Mumbai as a market takes in almost everything, but you wouldn't find any Teppanyaki in Mizu, sooner than expected we are launching our Japanese style hot pot menu called Donabe (One pot meal) “.
Is it difficult being a Japanese Cuisine Chef?
“Being a Japanese Chef in a city like Mumbai or anywhere else in the world is very difficult. To master the cuisine, itself will take you a full lifetime no doubt about it. This comes with both advantages and disadvantages. Advantages are that it’s small but a super strong market, and you will have eyeballs on you immediately, people are going to want to see what you are doing. Disadvantages lie in the fact that we have to fly lots of products from Japan which will cause our food miles to go up hence will make the food more expensive to consumers and to the environment, but we try and reduce that by using seasonal Indian produce for example, Alphonse mango kakigori”.
Thank you, Chef Lakhan. Mizu Restaurant and can be found at Shiv Chhaya, 464, 14th Rd, Pali Village, Khar West, Mumbai