Sakura: Fostering India-Japan friendship with Unique Sushis

Sushi and Japan are synonymous. And giving Delhi a taste of this dish since decades is Sakura, the award-winning restaurant at The Metropolitan Hotel & Spa. With India hosting G20 delegates, the hotel has given a twist to this Japanese dish, blending it with well-known Indian curries and flavours

Ambica Gulati
4 min readApr 21, 2023
Masala Creamy Avacado Gunkan Sushi

The only advantage of living in a metropolitan is that the world is on your platter. Yes, literally and figuratively. I might not have seen the world, but I do get to experience it in parts through arts, cultural events and food festivals. My last jaunt was to Sakura, for one-of-its-kind ‘Sushi Reimagined’ festival.

Chatpati Chaat Sushi roll

Sushi is primarily associated with raw fish and subtle flavours. Indian cuisine on the other hand is rich in spices and curries. Sushi has evolved over 2,000 years, that’s what Google tells me. Tikkas and kebabs became common during the Mughal era, a few centuries ago. And it takes a man with a deft hand and lots of experience to blend the two without letting either flavour overwhelm the other. The rice, seaweed, sauces, tempura powder come all the way from Japan, only the fast perishables are locally sourced.

Tandoori Pimentos Nigri, Tandoori Pears Nigri, Tandoori Paneer Nigri, Tandoori Pineapple Nigri, Tandoori Chaap Uramaki, Miso soup

Executive Chef Swapnadeep Mukherjee has achieved that balance, taking the most popular dishes of both countries and made it one — a symbol of good relationships. This is the theme of India’s G20 Presidency — Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam or ‘One Earth · One Family · One Future’ closely tied with LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment).

A modest man, the chef has made some award-winning dishes over the years and I have tasted those and more at Sakura earlier. Japanese cuisine is on the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List since 2013. Sushi is good, but I like the pickled ginger that accompanies sushi, which is a perfect palate cleanser and tastes really good. I am certainly going to learn how to make that at home.

Appetizers Edamame, Hourenso Goma Ai, Renkon Kinpira.

As I have turned vegetarian since Covid-19, I did think twice about going for this lunch. But I need not have given it a second thought as Japan was vegetarian for over 1,000 years, rooted in Buddhism. It is only in the 19th century that the people started eating meat.

Tandoori Chaap Uramaki

I came back a satiated soul. I got the vegetarian sushi— primarily paneer or cottage cheese, avocado, tandoori chaap, chatpati chaat. The chef has beautifully used the cream and colour base of traditional Indian tikkas and kebabs and placed them in various sushi. Well, there are many kinds of sushi. The sushi was not drenched in curry or strong barbequed spicy tikkas. Like teasers, the vegetable and fruits were placed on the vinegared bed of rice. Traditional sauces were replaced with light dips made of beetroot, cashew and creams.

Assorted tempura (Veg) Tempura Moriawase

The assorted tempura platter also had a surprise with a piece of sweet potato done well along with onions and beans and aubergine. I did succeed in eating with chopsticks, despite not having much practice. But Japanese households do eat their sushi with hands as well.

Goma and Matcha Ice Cream and Coconut Custard

I ended the meal Japanese style — a scoop of Matcha and Goma ice cream each. A glass of Sake to go with this would have been super but for the fact that I was driving back and needed to stay alert in Delhi traffic.

It was a long meal — two hours. Well, food does foster friendships.

The festival is on till May 15, 2023. There are chicken and other meat sushis, along with the regular menu, available during this festival. There is a variety of wines, Sakes, cocktails and mocktails on the menu.

Sakura is a calm fine-dining space and also has provision for private dining. The staff are courteous and service is good. It is open for dinner.



Ambica Gulati

I just follow the course that life sets for me and I share all those stories through words, visuals and videos on the blog. Happy reading!