Finding a location atop a cavalcade of luxury cars would be a coup for any dining establishment. Irezumi enjoys just such an enviable position on Janpath, hovering over the Jaguar showroom. The restaurant’s spanking new terrace is thrown open to a gorgeous panoramic view of Lutyens Delhi, while the slightly older lower dining area is decadently draped in veined marble and white columns.
The former space is dominated by a combined yakitori and teppenyaki grill and a wood-fired oven that stands beside a variegated bar. House and techno thrum on both levels providing a semblance of contiguity. Irezumi, incidentally, refers to the art of tattooing in Japanese, the logic being that Irezumi is bound, drilled even, to get under your skin. A meal for two with alcohol could set one back by Rs 3,500.
An Asian Tapas Bar, Irezumi, at first glance, has taken care of the latter part of the deal with a lengthy liquor list well stocked with Sake, Japanese whiskys and other Asian liquors. There is also the usual cosmopolitan collection of spirits, wine and beers. The food menu is essentially Asian, with international favourites tweaked with ingredients from the region, including a Pacific-rimmed pastiche of pizza.
Wallowing into these international waters, we first encounter the Irezumi Spicy Chicken. It arrives on our table with a blazing trail of chilli, and is crispy on the outside and tender inside. The subsequent Khaw Suoy comes steaming in its own ornate clay pot with a mosaic of accompaniments that include desiccated burnt garlic flakes, roasted nuts and slashed-up scallions among others, making you responsible for your own dining pleasure. Swimming in the same sea is the Chicken Satay, hotly yet tenderly sticking to its skewer, but sadly and inexplicably, without the de facto peanut sauce.
Accoutred in blended fresh fruits as well as spices and herbs usually more at home in a wok, the cocktails take their time to come but their potency is worth the wait as they beguile one with their fruity flavorings.
Our main course comprises chilli garlic noodles that are textbook though the accompanying yellow prawn curry suffers from a surfeit of salt. By this time, resembling a dim sum stretched to the limits of its wrapping, we retreat sans dessert. Ultimately, minor seasoning mishaps aside, a night under the star-spangled skies at Irezumi seems a recommendation for winter. You can’t beat the view.