Easy Peasy Japanesey

Masu Robatayaki,  Port Baku, 153 Neftchiler Avenue, Baku. www.saffron.az  Tel.: 01240 48204

Cards on the table:  Call me a philistine but I don’t actually like sushi. The thought of cold rice just doesn’t do it for me.  But with three of Baku’s most elegant and discerning expat women in tow (a Pakistani, an Iranian and a Brit – gosh, aren’t we cosmopolitan!), I wanted to lunch somewhere cool and chic, so we ninjaed off to Japanese restaurant Masu in the Port Baku area.

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Clean minimalist lines and an almost all white décor give this place a crisp fresh feel. The masu box wall  (I’m guessing that this is what it is)  and various fun decorations keep the look just about on the right side of clinical.  Proper white linen napkins on the table and summery chill out music in the background make for a trendy and sophisticated vibe.

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Food is prepared by cooks in their chef’s whites in the open centre island; it’s always reassuring to see exactly what will end up on your plate! We ordered a ‘pick and mix’ selection to share between the four of us and this included sushi, sashimi, tempura and teriyaki which all tasted great. The warm sea salt crusted edamame to nibble on while we waited smelled wonderful and was very yummy. The beauty of Japanese food is that although completely satisfying, you don’t end up feeling overfull  and, of course, it’s generally subtle, unadulterated and low call too. Perfect for a girly lunch! I couldn’t resist though, I had to order a very un Japanese (and certainly not low cal!) Crème Brulee for pudding. Two pretty little pots arrived with one lemongrass version and one classic, both pleasantly light, which I enjoyed, although the caramel crust might have been a tad cracklier.

Our conversation was lively and stimulating, ranging all the way from karma to carpets, so it was much appreciated that the service was unobtrusive but very efficient.

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We paid AZN25 each but there is a two course set lunch menu available at AZN12. On Friday evenings and from 5th May also on Saturday evenings from 5pm Masu offers an ‘All you can Eat’ menu for AZN25 per head.

I very much enjoyed lunch here, the food, service and ambience were well above average, with a great deal of attention to detail. I’m not sure how well the very slightly canteen like atmosphere translates to, say, an evening a deux but I shall definitely look forward to trying that out soon. The feedback I have from others is certainly positive!

Your comments are most welcome!