Just months after Jonah’s Bistro opened in Besant Nagar, the crack team behind the establishment has set up business in Phoenix Market City, albeit with a twist: this time Jonah’s Goes to Japan (JGTJ). Lest you start imagining continental-meets-Japanese fusion cuisine (I confess I did), it’s actually continental served alongside Japanese cuisine. JGTJ is a collaboration between Jonah’s and the ever-popular Momoyama in Alwarpet. “We wanted to introduce a slightly different concept and some variety,” says Sam Paul, the entrepreneur behind Jonah’s (and the six-year-old boy Jonah’s dad). For Momoyama, this is an opportunity to present a careful selection of their menu to a broader audience. “At JGTJ we will be offering a selection of maki and Japanese curries. We are very excited to have this opportunity to introduce our food to more of the Indian public,” offers David Kim, of Momoyama.
For Paul, however, this is just one more step in his plan to introduce Jonah’s to the rest of the city. Coming up (probably by April) in Poes Garden is the opening of Doner Kebab, the franchise, alongside another branch of Jonah’s that will feature food with an Australian twist (thanks to a new member expected to join the team). Also coming soon, Pan Asian and Malabar editions of Jonah’s. Meanwhile, on the Sunday ahead of JGTJ’s launch, a friend and I enjoy a preview of Jonah’s offerings. Chef Koushik (aka The Mad Chef), a fellow-hater of the ubiquitous basa drives in from Pondicherry and immediately warns us that a lot of food would be coming our way. I meekly ask for Ginger Ale and settle in. Around us at the 38-cover restaurant, preparations for the opening are underway and we are introduced to the young architect Akram, who designed the space, and also doubled as insatiable guinea pig. The chef’s vision for the restaurant is informed by a devotion to fresh ingredients and subtle flavours. No ketchup, no basa, and no strong Indian masalas, is his motto.
On the cards
The food leans flavourful, and frequently a bit sweet, the only disappointments being the seafood (mostly the seafood’s fault). We strongly recommend the Cheese Stuffed Mushroom (`165) and the Grilled Chicken Wings, available in varying degrees of heat, and all ‘finger lickin’ good’ (`170). Of the mains, Ratatouille a la Jonah’s (`250) is a great way to introduce a fussy child (that would be me) to aubergine, while the chef has succeeded in producing a Chicken Parmigiana (`275) that doesn’t immobilise you. “I don’t believe in stuffing food with cheese and butter,” he says and one tends to believe him. For dessert, we inhale macaroons and flan (`70 to `200) from the Pondicherry-based Baker’s Home (by Baker’s Street), despite an attempt at self-control. If this is the way Jonah’s travels, we’d be happy to go along for the ride.
Details: 43516374, 43526374
— Ranjitha Gunasekaran
Pics: Martin Louis