In recent weeks Satoshi Onuki, the engaging head chef at Zuma, the popular contemporary Japanese restaurant and bar at the ground floor of St. Regis Hotel & Residences on Rajadhamri, has added a number of reinterpreted fish dishes to the outlet’s selection of ‘authentic but not traditional’ menu items.
While Zuma has a decidedly sophisticated feel – the plush interior designed by the renowned Noriyoshi Muramatsu features organic materials, natural textures and traditional textiles – the outlet is inspired by the ‘Itzakaya’ dining concept in which there is no prescribed etiquette for ordering from the menu and no differentiation between starters and main courses…you simply select whatever takes you fancy from the sushi bar, robata charcoal grill and open kitchen offerings and pile in. In fact, this is great venue for gathering with a group of friends to share a meal.
But before you get to the food, pony up to the inviting bar or grab a spot on the Zen-like outdoor terrace for a pre-dinner drink. Here you are spoilt for choice and can choose a glass of wine from a 1,500 bottle walk-in cellar stocked with fine wines from around the world or a taste of old Japan from a selection of unique, hand-crafted sakes. Better still, try the signature Zumanuka cocktail (B335), a heady pale green mix of honey vodka, pineapple, fresh basil and a dash of apple.
To start our meal we opted for one of the refreshed signature dish on the menu, the yellowtail (B410). It comprises thin slices of fish served chilled on a platter with green chilli relish, ponzu and pickled garlic. The fish is delicate on the palate and yet somehow not overpowered by the relish and citrus-based ponzu sauce, which provides a lovely tanginess.
No less impressive is the selection of special nigiri sushi dishes that follow. These comprise otoro (tuna) nigiri with wafu sauce (B880), seabass nigiri with jelly tosazu sauce (B230) and Zuma salmon nigiri with sesame sauce and salmon roe (B380). Thanks to the counterpoint of the zesty sauces and some finely sliced ginger, each bite is a mouthful of the most delicately textured seafood packed with light but still intense flavours.
At the same time we enjoy a selection of vegetable tempura (B340). At Zuma the vegetables are shallow-fried in a very light crispy batter and anything but run-of-themill; think tomato, mushroom and broccoli rather than carrot, onion and eggplant. We round out the savoury component of our meal with Chilean seabass (B880) perfectly complimented by a green chilli and ginger dressing. It has just enough fire to raise eyebrows but not enough to deaden the taste buds altogether.
Following the delicacy of the savoury dishes, we end our repast with a towering Special Chocolate platter (B335) served with citrus sorbet and portions of fruit on ice. The pick if the confections has to be the Jasmine crème brûlée, which is dark, rich and deeply satisfying, which is not a bad epitaph for Zuma as a whole.
St. Regis Hotel & Residences, 159 Rajadhamri Rd | 0 2252 4707 | zumarestaurant.com
Lunch noon-3pm, Dinner 6pm-11pm