Aoi, 1, Gloria, St John Baptist Road, Near Mount Mary Steps, Bandra West, Mumbai

1380572_1425343601022231_186344865_nAoi’s Signature Veg Sushi                   1395182_1425343701022221_2139271948_n Udon Stir Fry -Miso Glaze Guacomole and Sour Cream                                                                                                              

Aoi is nicely tucked in a corner on ST. Baptist road in Bandra, without any fancy board or big advertisement, this little Japanese joint has created quite a stir in the Gourmet food industry. So the Foodie and I had to go and check it out. Thanks to @Gourmetitup, we booked ourselves the 7 course lunch time meal, which I can tell you was like dining in heaven!

The Chef: Not the biggest fan of Japanese cuisine, so was a li’l skeptical when the Foodie booked us a table there, but 990 INR (all inc) for a 7 course meal, any Sindhi in his right mind would go. It was a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, nice and windy, and Aoi having partial French window, had a lovely view of the outside slow moving life of Bandra village. Aoi, which means blue (thanks Wikipedia!) sticks to true to its name. The waiters were in blue shirts, the walls had another blue shade with some sort of Japanese princess painting on it. And the best part was the origami doves that were suspended with the help of fairy lights that really set the mood for what I was sure was going to be a beauty of a dining experience.
1380653_1425351314354793_701522357_nTempura Prawn Taco       1378722_1425343757688882_366395846_nSignature Yaki Donburi with Chicken/Beef
                                                                                                                                
1375011_1425343594355565_985591282_nAoi Soba Salad     1383051_1425343721022219_1392839773_nJapanese Green Tea and Aoi Breezer – Grapefruit, Lime and Lychee Juice with pitted Lychee                                                                                                                                             
We started off with a Beverage (our 1st course) Aoi Breezer (for the foodie) and Japanese Green Tea for meself. I couldn’t help but notice the attention to detail, that the interiors have been given. Japanese warrior figurines, li’l toy soldiers, hot princess dolls, it all just went so well with everything. I had a really bad running nose, so the tea did help (Sorry Aoi for finishing all the tissue you offered me). The breezer, a concoction of grapefruit, lime and lychee, itself was a light and refreshing drink with a beautiful pink hue to it. The Aoi style chicken soup came to us piping hot, with perfectly cooked udon and slivers of chicken and it had a particular taste to it which neither the Foodie nor I could figure; but whatever it was, it was doing the broth really good. The salad came running along next, one vegetarian and the other with chicken was presented beautifully. crisp lettuce with an even more crisp soba noodles had the best dressing I have ever had ( i could taste gari (ginger) and yuzu (citrus fruit originating in east Asia) for sure — LOOK AT ME MAA, IM USING FANCY CULINARY WORDS). Then came the piece de resistance (USE FRENCH ACCENT PLEASE) the assorted veg and non veg sushi platter. Each having 4 pieces the veg included, avocado and cucumber, rock corn, roasted pepper and pesto and a fourth one which we couldn’t really make out. The non veg platter had the whole F*****G sea, crispy prawn, smoked salmon, tuna and crab meat. All of them were gobbled down ( and in no time) with kikoman soy, wasabi paste and gari.
1376548_1425343587688899_1310066131_n Signature Non Veg Sushi       1391709_1425343707688887_1803818915_n (1)   Aoi Special Chicken Udon Soup                                                                                                                       
Moving on to our hot starters, we had the chicken gyoza and a prawn taco. Gyoza wasn’t anything new, a big sized dumpling but the sauce that they served it was INSANE!!!!! The tempura prawn taco was a very nice take on fusion cuisine and it did go down well. The udon noodle came up next, it was tossed in a really nice and heavy-creamy sauce (they call it chipotle) and had some nice carrot shreds with fried nori. Presentation — EK DUM NUMBER ONE …. TIP -TOP!!! On to the second last, the main course, we called for the Yaki Donburi Chicken and beef. Again presentation was spot on, with the chicken and beef presented on a stick and the most amazing ginger and miso glaze. it was served on a bed of sticky rice and tossed vegetables. The Foodie was too full so I gobbled up her plate as well (HAWRAT —- Pronounce How–Raat). The finale was 2 plates of really nicely laid out dessert one being the chocolate sushi and the other was the Green tea cheesecake. Really innovative stuff was on our plates which was wiped clean, and could definitely be reused!
The portion size for such a meal was perfect, we got to taste a li’l bit of everything and trust me everything was GOOOOOOD!!!! Also I noticed this has to be one of the cleanest reviews ever, and I think it has something to do with the soothing Japanese music that was playing while we ate some really awesome food at Aoi. (P.S can I ruin this review by saying AOI is really WOWIE?) (This is how I lose friends)
1383974_1425343754355549_447432002_nChocolate Sushi and Japanese Green Tea Cheesecake
The Foodie: I am sure The Chef has pretty much covered all of it, but apart from the 7 course meal which you can sign up for, online, there is also a sushi platter (veg and non veg) that can satisfy your sushi cravings with up to 4 types of sushi and 3 of each. (Be sure to visit their Facebook page before ordering, cos then, not only will you enjoy your sushi, you will also know it). In the two trips, that I have made to Aoi, so far, I have managed to try a lot of what they have to offer. I highly recommend their Grilled Chicken with white Miso glaze and garlic soy jus served with crisp sea weed mash (this really added to the over all taste and I loved it!)  Also while scanning their menu, I may have stumbled upon the term Bacon Jam as a key ingredient to one of the many Signature Maki Rolls they offer. So now I know what I’m going to try next time I Aoi it :P.
They offer Bento (traditional tiffin meal common in Japanese cuisine) Boxes as well that come with flavored rice, miso soup, sushi pickles and traditional condiments, that make for perfect take-aways. It will take you multiple trips to taste all they have to offer, but do end the meal with their Japanese green tea cheese cake, it is to die for!
Our Rating:
FOOD: 4
Value for money: 3.75
Decor: 4
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