23 March 2015
Kenilworth Shopping Arcade, level two (same building as KFC and Bonobo), Linking Road, Bandra West, Mumbai.
Whether it’s steaming bowls of ramen noodles, platters of sashimi, or a gigantic hot pot you’re after, you’ll find them all at Kofuku.
Walking around Bandra, you’d be forgiven for missing it entirely. There’s no flashy exterior or big sign. Just a lift leading up to this hidden gem. A second-floor haven for lovers of Japanese fare, Kofuku is fairly old-school in its looks, in that it’s pure Nippon canteen, with sushi bar upfront, clean modern lines and an abundance of pale wood. But behind that understated exterior, Japanese small plates and ramen are skillfully turned out at low prices.
The extensive menu has a range of Japanese classics: sushi, tempura and deep-fried breaded pork (tonkatsu), plus ramen and other noodle dishes, all done well, all reasonably priced. Out of simplicity can come excellence, particularly when it comes to the food, and much of Kofuku’s yum factor (some real technical talk there) is down to great ingredients that have been minimally messed around with.
The buta shoga yaki–sliced pan-fried pork in a ginger soy sauce–is flipping delicious; the super-tender pork arrives tossed in a ginger-spiked marinade, topped with slivers of pink ginger. Prawn tempura in creamy, spicy sauce is coated with a fine layer of Japanese-style panko breadcrumbs and deep-fried to a luscious, golden crisp. Massive, crunchy, but also tender and light, as a result of expert execution, I could eat these for days. The sushi is reliable and (particularly for those of us used to Delhi’s exorbitant pricing) very reasonably priced. We tried the rainbow rolls with salmon, tuna, whitefish and avocado, all washed down with strong wasabitinis and chilled bottles of Asahi.
Waitstaff could not have been nicer, and the chefs are lightning quick, churning out dishes at breakneck speed. Classic, unpretentious and dizzyingly good, Kofuku is a Bandra gem.