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20.04.2017

We won’t pretend to know the difference between furikake and shichimi, but does it really matter on a boiling weekday afternoon when you’re consuming this gunpowderish Japanese spice mixture in a fat lunch roll of nori, rice, vegetables and (restrain yourself) paneer? The answer, emphatically, is no.

Sushi burrito may sound like a monster crawling out of some Kamala Mills basement nightmare, but rest easy. The Tokuchis, a young Japanese couple from Santacruz West, come with every bona fide, including their relaxed attitude to what can and can’t go into sushi, perhaps as you’d expect from a home kitchen in their motherland. 

Hello Yugo’slavia

This refreshing lack of authenticity-policing marks the products of Yugo’s, named after Mr Tokuchi. A former game developer, he and wife Martha now sell these hefty rolls - think of uncut futomaki - every weekend, Friday-Sunday, from a counter at Bandra seafood store Off The Hook. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the Tokuchis also make and deliver bento boxes around Bandra, BKC, Andheri and Lower Parel, never repeating a dish during the month. 

Their bento service Tokuya is meant for Japanese folks in the city, which you’ll know once you’ve seen the website. Hit the translate button; you’ve missed Wednesday’s bibimbap bowl, but might just make it in time for tomorrow’s buffalo tongue bento, if you order before 1 pm today.  

Sushi burrito may sound like a monster crawling out of some Kamala Mills basement nightmare, but rest easy. The Tokuchis, a young Japanese couple from Santacruz West, come with every bona fide.

The Maki-Okay Sisters

We procure our own sushi rolls through an advance request and a swing up to the Tokuchi kitchen. Takeaway is tucked into jail-striped butter paper and elegant little brown boxes. Muji blues?

Each roll is constructed with nori; a fat layer of rice; and cold, crisp salad vegetables - carrot, cucumber and greens that would feel at home in a goop recipe for virtuous work-week eating. Less goopy and more gloopy are sauce and fillings not meant to please sushi snobs. Ours contain, respectively, chicken maki-walla, chicken in a buttery tomato sauce; tandoori maguro or sushi salmon; wasabi-slathered crab-stick and yes, grilled paneer. 

Individual sensations jump out from bite to bite. The wasabi in the crab-stick roll is mysteriously soothing once it’s finished ravaging our nasal passages; baked salmon in maguro maki is wonderfully flaky on the tongue. There is a welcome absence of orange mayo and toasted sesame ubiquitous in a certain kind of Indian sushi production. 

Still, these rolls are prose, rather than poetry. Eating them is healthy, fun and very filling, and we’re impressed by the freshness of almost every ingredient - there’s only so much you can do with crab-stick - but we advise you not to go looking for haiku in a pat of seaweed-and-rice if that’s your usual modus sushendi. Try this as a raucous J-pop song instead: here’s our earworm. 

Getting there: Yugo’s Maki Sushi, maki rolls available Friday-Sunday at a pop-up at Off The Hook, Sai Pooja building, 16th Road, Bandra West, call Yugo on 8291446994. Rs 350 per roll.  

For a bento box, order from the Tokuya website, Rs 350++, orders must be placed by 1 pm on the day prior to delivery.

bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals. 

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