Operating from a beautiful house in F7 Islamabad- we met Ali Saeed, the owner of soon to open authentic Japanese restaurant- Murasaki. It was a chance meeting, as this is an underground takeaway. It is now very well known among Japanese food lovers or more specifically, among Sushi lovers.
We were a little unsure when we first decided to order from Murasaki. Eating sushi can be a risky business; it has to be absolutely fresh – yet we took the leap. We ordered California rolls, red snapper sushi and miso soup. We took the packed food to our car and as soon as we opened the nicely put together packed boxes, we knew we are in for a good tasting.
The rolls were beautiful and so was the red snapper sushi- they left us craving for more. Miso soup was as fresh as any home cooked Japanese food can be. We sent him a thumbs-up message and planned our second visit. His beautifully decorated – cozy drawing room is becoming our rainy day companion.
Ali Saeed studied Architecture technology at South Hampton, England. He is a foodie and learnt Japanese and Thai Cuisine out of passion. Murasaki was started by Ali four months ago. He started with sending messages to all his BBM friends and later made a Facebook fan page. So far his major advertising tool has been word of mouth. A rainy day is a lucky day for Murasaki as they got their first order when it was raining.
After meeting Ali, we could relate to his passion for making his chefling dream true. On our next visit, while we waited for our salmon sushi and Maki platter at Murasaki, we asked Ali some questions for our chefling-to-a-chef series.
1: Why Japanese Cuisine?
I wanted to start and work on a unique as well as challenging cuisine in Islamabad. Japanese cuisine was one of my favorites and considering that there weren’t any affordable Japanese Restaurants- I went for it. I was trained by a Chef-friend who is great at Japanese food.
2: Three words to define Japanese Cuisine ?
Simplicity, elegant, addictive
3: What’s the ‘secret ingredient’ for making perfect sushi?
For Sushi- meat cut is very important. It needs to be done very delicately ensuring no ligaments get broken (He showed us a fancy special Sushi knife that makes it possible). But critical of all is the Rice quality and its handling. The end texture has to be perfect.
4: What is your personal favourite among Japanese dishes?
Salmon Sushi and Deep fried squid rings.
5: What are the challenges in making Murasaki possible?
Finding right ingredients is a big challenge. I do grocery from 9 am-2 pm everyday to find fresh ingredients. It is a hectic job by itself but important to ensure availability of everything in our menu. Even the right kind of rice is hard to find.
You can follow Murasaki updates on Facebook. We recommend all foodies to give it a try and you’ll be hooked