Citrus at The Leela Mumbai is the hotel’s 24-hour restaurant situated at the lobby level, known for its exotic buffet, Sunday brunch and it’s exquisite Japanese counter. It is undoubtedly the ideal spot for a lazy breakfast, cozy brunch or a relaxed dinner.
As you enter Citrus, beautiful, pink cherry blossoms to your right ensure you do not give the Japanese counter amiss. The Leela Mumbai wanted to offer patrons an authentic Japanese experience in Mumbai and hence the Japanese counter was introduced last year in September. In a short span of seven months, this dedicated quintessential Japanese counter has grown many folds and is now also available at other outlets such as the Cosmopolitan Bar – Six Degrees and The Lobby Lounge. Apart from that, it’s menu offerings also features in the room service menu for in-house guests.
According to Chef Surrender Mohan, Corporate Chef – Indian Cuisine, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, ‘Mumbai has a lot of Japanese expatriats living and working here and these numbers are growing. A lot of them dine here at The Leela and we have a lot of resident Japanese guests staying with us throughout the year. The growing demand from our guests for Japanese cuisine led us to setting up a Japanese counter at Citrus. Our Indian clientele who stay and dine with us are very well traveled – they enjoy global flavours and cuisines and appreciate our offering of Japanese as well. Our dishes are prepared with authentic Japanese ingredients especially flown in from Japan and our guests enjoy our simple but authentic menu.’
The Leela Mumbai was kind enough to invite me for a meal at Citrus as they are currently celebrating Japan’s popular Cherry Blossom Festival. I had the option to choose the Bento Box, specially introduced for this month or to randomly order for dishes from the menu. Being a fan of Japanese cuisine, I requested the chef to serve me a few of his signature dishes.
– Crispy Onion Salad with Avocados
– Miso Shiru
– Hamachi Carpaccio
– Chili Crab and Salmon Sushi
– Dragon Roll
‘Shoyu or Soy sauce and other soybean products are staples in Japan and are among the most common ingredients used in their cooking. Soy sauce is a flavor enhancer much like salt. As an experiment, you can replace the salt you normally use at home with a swirl of Soy sauce – you will realize the importance of its usage in Japanese food,’ Chef Mohan said upon being asked about the most common ingredient used in Japanese food.
What impressed me:
– Crispy Onion Salad with Avocados was light, fresh, flavorsome and ofcourse, crispy
– For all those of you who don’t know what Shira-ae actually is, it is basically a tofu salad. The ingredients used to create this delectable dish are: Atari goma (sesame paste), Usukuchi (soy sauce), Rice vinegar, Tofu, Sesame seeds, Edamame, Zucchini Rayu (Chili oil) and sugar. Chef was extremely kind to prepare a mini portion especially for me. When my dish arrived, it was like an explosion of colors, textures and flavors. It tasted as awesome as it looked. Not every restaurant that serves Japanese gets this dish right
– The Miso Shiru was served warm in a small cup and was extremely refreshing. It was smooth and mellow and had the real miso flavor. The small tofu chunks added to the flavor making it extremely delicious yet light
– Hamachi (‘yellowtail’) Carpaccio melted in the mouth
– Chili Crab and Salmon Sushi was fresh and delightful. Being a fan of sushi, I must admit that this one was definitely one of the best options the city has to offer
– Dragon Roll had a crunchy texture. Place a piece of ginger and some wasabi over it and you’ll never want it to end
Over all, I had a brilliant experience and would totally recommend this place to anybody who loves Japanese cuisine.
Citrus, The Leela Hotel,
Andheri Kurla Road,