It isn't very often that one hears of a Japanese Lounge opening in Bombay. Japanese restaurants? That is definitely more likely.
The team behind Kofuku though thought that it was time that this should be changed and have launched a Japanese Lounge Bar called Kanpai right next door to their Kofuku fine dining Japanese restaurant.
The entrance to Kanpai is dominated by the print of a Samurai fighting a beast a theme one immediately associates with Japan. The lounge takes the theme is further with an entire wall done up in tasteful anime. I didn't get a chance to read it though, look forward to doing that the next time around.
A seemingly well stocked bar dominates one side of the Lounge and is done up very attractively with bottles lining the shelves and the lighting showing them off well. In terms of overall space though the interiors seem to be more suited to sitting with a few friends while picking off a few pieces of sushi and their other finger foods rather than a full on head swinging party space. What this place morphs into over the course of the next few months though will be interesting to see.
Soon after we were seated during our Pre-Opening Tasting session I was glad to see that I had a fellow vegetarian with me. (Yay for the minority? :P) ; The conversation with Petupetkar was extremely enjoyable and flowed easily.
As vegetarians we had 6 options to choose from, the standard selection of Sushi made special by the addition of the Rock Corn and Yaki Shitake as stand out dishes.
The Crispy Veg Sushi as well as the Asparagus Tempura Rolls we had as part of the sushi were light portions which relied on their texture combinations to stand out. With a dip of Wasabi and Soy Sauce they could be consumed late into the night.
My favourite dish of the night was definitely the Yaki Shitake, Grilled mushrooms in a teriyaki like sauce had a deep dark quality about them, with a surprising amount of oomph in each bite. Given the choice would never leave the Yaki Shitake alone for too long. Multiple portions are a must for this treat.
The Rock corn in creamy spicy sauce was another universal favourite with the dynamic sauce that they coated the crispy corn in tempura in providing an interesting spicy yet creamy flavor to the dish. The spice levels could definitely have been much higher though.
We were also served Dimsum stuffed with fresh Asian greens which were paired with a brilliant Sweet Chilli and Thick Ground Chilli and Basil sauce. The last dish of the night for us were the Chilli Garlic coated Edamame Beans which we could slurp aplenty while having a cold beverage on the side.
We ended the night with a round of alcoholic and non-alcoholic shots depending on individual preferences, cheering to “Kanpai” which means Cheers in Japanese.
With promised portions sizes larger than the tasting portions served to us as well as a hint of quirk given its décor and premise, Kanpai is certainly a space which we look forward to visiting again with friends soon. Whether they are able to remain true to the Japanese Lounge vibe with a relaxed atmosphere or give into the temptation of blaring Commercial Music on the weekends is something which remains to be seen.
For now though I look forward to visiting Kanpai with friends soon :)
Bambaiya Veggie was invited by the restaurant for a pre-opening tasting menu.