Considered among the best Japanese restaurants in all of New Delhi, En has everything going for it. But as I discovered, something is missing – a certain sophistication that is an essential aspect of Japanese cuisine.
I had wanted to eat at En for the longest of time. I first had their Sushi at the Asian Hawker’s Market a few years ago, and it was without a doubt the best I’ve had locally. My expectations were naturally high, and I do love Japanese food, so it made it all the more special.
However, En left me with a lot to be desired. Its pricing and location will have you believe that the restaurant comes under the “fine dining” category, and it does to some extent. But the interiors are a mismatch of old-haveli style décor and Japanese minimalism. It tries desperately to incorporate the charm of the building but loses the Japanese authenticity in the process. And, having a big and empty cake display at the entrance doesn’t add much to the décor either.
En has al fresco dining and gives its patrons some of the best tables in the city. The view of the Qutub Minar from the rooftop seating of the restaurant is romantic in the evening and equally perfect for sunny winter brunches.
The thing about En was that the food was textbook and yet it felt incomplete.
The menu is quite wide-ranging, and there’s enough for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. I particularly enjoyed the Chicken Egg Soup, full of flavour it brought about the ideal warmth that one appreciates at the start of a meal during the winter months.
Now, the Chicken Sautéed Teppanyaki with Teriyaki Sauce were both well executed, as was the Vegetarian Sushi Platter.
The biggest disappointment though was the noodles which resembled the roadside Chinese noodles that most Delhiites are familiar with. Dare I say, if given an option, I would prefer a plate of the street version.
Again, the Dashimaki (traditional Japanese omelette) and the Atsuage Tofu were technically great and tasted fine too, but couldn’t fill up my stomach nor satisfy my soul – two things that good food should do.
En is not a cheap restaurant, and the quantities are just about average. Add to that the lightness of Japanese cuisine, and you will need to order a good few things to enjoy a proper filling meal.
I must, however, mention the Wasabi Mary (non-alcoholic) which was simply spectacular.
Maybe it was the atmosphere of the restaurant that failed to impress or that the focus of the kitchen on this particular day was on the buffet, but I left En on a sunny Sunday afternoon with my pockets lighter and a desire to eat a sandwich the moment I reached home – which I did.