Now before you let your imagination run amok; just check the spelling once again. It’s Kinki! which happens to be a region in Japan on the island of Honshu. The region also known as Kansai region is very well known for its food, especially Osaka (the capital). Popular Osakan dishes include takoyaki, okonomiyaki, kitsune udon and kushikatsu. Sake is another specialty of the region. As opposed to food from Eastern Japan, food in the Kansai area tends to be sweeter, and foods such as nattō tend to be less popular. Now the off-beat molecular bar that’s been on the radar of foodies in Pune happens to be based on the same concepts and hence even the name is derived as is – Kinki Modern Asian Kitchen and Molecular Bar.
The whole place is very exclusive and uncommon in each of its elements be it ambiance, food, drinks and what not. How much can that create an impression is something I leave to you but allow me to take you through a tour of the place and help set an impression of what to expect when visiting this contemporary Japanese molecular bar.
The ambiance is rather simple and delicate as is the case with Japanese culture. The ceiling is adorned by numerous origami birds and in a fag end you have the molecular bar which is the highlight of the place. For many a places the bar or cocktails are just an add on with focus on food but not so much for this place. At kinki, you will be spoilt for choice with your drinks and food equally alike. The wall on the left puts up an array of porcelain paintings on small quarter plates with beautiful designs. The alfresco area is quiet big as compared to interiors and can hold up easily over 60 pax on its 8-10 high rise tables. There is a DJ station located right on top of the molecular bar for some live spinning of tracks.
We started with some cocktails which were very high on presentation factor. All the pots and boats and glasses were custom designed to suit the oomph factor of the drinks being served.
The Smoked Primm’s Cup a drink based in ginger ale and given a smoky flavour from the use of wooden chips was the first of the many drinks. Soon after we had Tokyo midtown with its smoky aura coming out from the use of dry ice which was vodka based drink. #LovedIt Then there was also Madam Luxe – a peach flavoured drink with flavoured air bubbled in the drink. #MustHave The cocktails are a piece of art for sure when you are here. There were few more drinks but I am not gonna let the surprise out to you. All I can say that if you haven’t had a drink here then you haven’t had it all. Spend some time at the bar counter and you will be in for some pleasant surprises.
The food journey started off with some dimsums. The Edamame and Truffle Oil dimsum is rather a must have on the list and tasted what it’s supposed to be like. Not a fan, so won’t go all out here. Mushroom and water chestnut crystals came as the next veg dimsums and wooed us all for they were a brilliant execution of the recipe. The covering was translucent enough to show up the filling, the dimsum was lite in weight and the balance of flavours was subtle and promising. Prawns and Chive and Prawns Hargow were next. All of them were very convincing but Prawns Hargow walked away in the best Dimsum category. #MustHave There was also a chicken and ginger Gyoza but it wasn’t as good as Prawns Hargow.
Edamame and Truffle Oil and Mushroom and Water Chestnut crystals
Another brilliant dish was the spicy chicken basil suimai which had a spicy sauce accompanying the dumpling. It was more desi a dish and we simply loved it. #MustHave
Spicy Chicken Basil Suimai
Now let me be honest, we had over 25 items in food and about 7 cocktails and I am not going on with all items here; but instead I will set right the expectation that you can draw up when visiting the place.
In Sushis, we had the classic Prawn tempura, asparagus tempura, teriyaki chicken, kappa maki and salmon maki. The hits and misses for once were common across so many dishes. The sushis are nice when it comes to recipes, presentation, quantity and pricing however the recipes are still being perfected. For instance the rolling of sushi, the stickiness of the rice, the texture as a whole is being worked on as we speak. The chef was very courteous and took all the feedback very positively. They are importing a lot of ingredients and are still yet to finalize on vendors so just some initial hick-ups I would say. So, unless you are very finicky about your sushi or for those who are still getting introduced to sushi you won’t have much to complaint about and will be more than happy.
No sooner the sushi tidal wave had settled; than, we were hit by another round of yummy dishes. This time again a perfect score with the mind-blowing Pork bao. The baos were perfect lite steamy buns and the pork belly was an absolute delight. The pork belly cooked in its own fat was so perfectly done that we felt like giving up on any more dishes to come and simply keep ordering one serving for each of us. The leeks, red onions and a dash of sriracha sauce kept the most perfect company. #MustHave
Tides rise high and crash equally strong and similar was the case when we were hit by Vietnamese beef. Now I may not be an expert with Beef but even the ones those who knew there beef were disappointed. The beef was way too chewy to be one that could be relished.
I have never really appreciated Tofu in the past except when its silken tofu from Hyatt but then yet again I had a close encounter with stuffed tofu which kinda took a stab at my pre-conceived notion about tofu. This one was really nice. #Yumm
The basil chicken was another spicy and yummy preparation in an oyster sauce base.
The next dish on the table came as a recommendation rather than pre-set menu and one which everyone was really looking forward to – The Vietnamese Pho. The dish was meant to be a complete delight package with noodles, broccoli, and mushrooms. The ingredients were crisp and fresh but most of us thought that the dish was under seasoned. The flavour of chicken broth or some sort of definite flavour was missing. We checked on the stock used which was good in flavour but was extremely mild and when paired with veggies it got lost. So an otherwise classic dish failed to impress us that day. The Chef again took the feedback very courteously and sportingly and assured of working on the same.
The Keng Phaet Koong, a prawns thai red curry which came along with Jasmine rice was much better and could do justice to the recipe. The Jasmine rice needs to be perfected; again something which is attributed to the vendor and ingredients being sourced.
Some other yummy dishes:
Moving on to desserts; we had Lychee and Berry baobi – a recipe that used milkmaid / condensed sweetened milk. The use of condensed milk along with lychee made the dish an instant hit. #LovedIt.
We also had a special off the menu sushi dessert which used mango shavings and watermelon scoops along with some pomegranate pearls atop. #Nice
In a nutshell it’s a place which is a must try for its baos, cocktails and the different types of sushis on the menu.
Kinki is located at Balewadi High Street, Baner.
(Disclaimer: The views expressed are my own and from the single or multiple experiences that I have had with the food joint. While you are free to disagree with the opinion below; please respect the originality and fairness of the content. The taste and experience might differ from the one portrayed for varied reasons like the Chef and staff that serves you, Ingredients used and other factors that change from time to time. The opinion/ review is purely based on my experience and there is no biased, favoured or commercial angle to it. At times, I might have used a few references from the freely available information on the internet to draw a correct more accurate picture but the sole intent of the is review is to give back a piece of my experience to the foodie community.)