Shabu Shabu – A very healthy and flavorsome Japanese Cuisine ExperienceShabu Shabu is not a regular meal it’s a do it yourself experience best enjoyed in a group, that is as interesting as its name.
Concept is simple and that is the USP, there is a hot pot (Nabemono) setup on your table (over a portable gas stove) with a simmering Broth served with a platter of meat of choice, mushroom, fungus and exotic oriental veggies. As the Broth comes to boil the ingredients from platter are to be added to it.
Once cooked (takes very less time) it is to be paired with the condiment sauces and dips on the table to pamper your taste buds with preferred flavors along with steamed rice and noodles.
The entire thing is that simple and with the pot on the table there is lot of bonhomie and sharing among the group. One portion is sufficient for 3 to 4 hungry souls; this comes at a very attractive cost.
Traditionally Shabu Shabu is a Beef centric preparation but to suit local preferences Chef Sunil Joshi has aptly customized different platters for – Vegetables, Chicken, Seafood, Lobster and Beef.
As we entered the restaurant our table was set with the stoves and the condiments set for the experience to begin. To munch on we were served Pumpkin Crackers and Prawn Crackers. We ordered Mocktails of our choice and waited in anticipation for the Shabu Shabu to simmer.
The remaining cutlery and required accessories, Pickled Vegetables etc. were placed along with Dashi Broth pots. The Broth for the Chicken and Seafood variants were different and were prepared with respective meats along with Vegetables and with a Kombu Leaf that is key ingredient to Dashi. The Broth has a subtle savory taste. As the Broth came to boil Chef Sunil Joshi demonstrated on what order we should follow for adding the ingredients as per the cooking time and go in a descending order.
The meats and veggies friends with benefits are sliced paper thin such that the cooked time is very less, for Seafood it was between 10 – 20 seconds. Once done we transferred the meats into our individual bowls with helpful serving of the Broth and then flavor it with sauces as per our taste preferences, there was a flavor spectrum from savory to sour and very spicy ones to suit every palate.
It turned out to be a very wholesome and healthy concept with no oil or fats used and the process helped retain natural goodness and flavors of the ingredients as the cooking time was minimal. All the ingredients and condiments were best ones available and sourced from across the globe.
To give a glimpse of what all was on the mentioned platter and the condiments served, here are the things I am able to recall.
- Mushrooms: Enoki, Shimeji, White Fungus, Wood Ear Mushrooms, Shitake, Button Mushrooms - Vegetables: Baby Pok Choy, Chinese cabbage, Broccoli, Squash, Zucchini, Carrots - Seafood: Chilean Sea Bass, Australian Scallops, Prawns, Squid - Dips/ Sauces: Tonkatsu, Ponju, Sesame Sriracha, Tobanjan, Light Soy, Bird Eye Chilli Paste - Pickles: Ume Bushi (Pickled Plum), Pariko, Shibazuke, Gari Shoga
My personal fiery hot and sour combo included all the Seafood with broccoli and Bok Choy, mixed with Ponju (a citrus sauce), light soy, just a little bird eye chilli paste (it is a thai super hot chilli) along with Sesame Sriracha for one serving and Tobanjan for the second. To vary the taste I preferred the crackers and the pickled veggies in between, when the heat levels went soaring 😛
Couple of servings of Shabu Shabu (Chicken & Seafood) were enough for 5 of us. And when we heard the pricing our satisfactory expressions transformed to grins – the Vegetable Shabu Shabu is priced at Rs.1200/- and the most expensive one with Lobster at Rs.2400/-. Considering 3 people can enjoy one portion at Rs.400 per head is a very awesome price point. (taxes are additional)
But the talkative and gourmand lot we are, dinner had to go on. So we preferred ordering our all time favorite Dimsums and Desserts, these don’t need any special mention.
- Pan Fried Pork Gou-Tie - Steamed Chicken Gyoza - Char Siu Bao Pork – Mildly sweet soft pork buns. - Five Spiced Chocolate Dome – mildly yes distinctly spiced with oriental staple 5 spice dark chocolate dome of goodness, this is my all time favorite dessert here. - Lemongrass Panacotta with Citrus Jelly, Warm Pound Cake – Subtle taste of lemongrass in a creamy pannacotta.
Baan Tao is recognized as the best place in Pune for these and other Pan Asian delicacies, and recently won the Times Food & Nightlife Awards 2015 for the category - Best Pan-Asian in Pune - Fine Dine.
It's superlative ambiance and exceptional service makes it out regular go to place for Pan Asian Cuisine in Pune. The added Japanese Cuisine options make it even a more drool worthy experience.
Special Thanks to Ms. Ankoura Verma - Admin and Marketing Communications, Hyatt Pune for inviting us for Shabu Shabu.
Reviewed by Varun Khanna | Food Prowl | The Hunger Stories