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Category / By Invitation

Ten years ago, Japanese food is synonymous with with raw fish. When someone told you they’re going to have Japanese food, it is always sushi & sashimi. Over the last few years though, the cuisine from far east has slowly mature at the local scene, there’s places that only offers ramen, there’s tonkatsu, yakitori, and even izakaya style Japanese restaurants.

Latest to the scene is Klang Valley’s very first Japanese restaurant that specialized in tendon (not the connective tissues of animal..) – the dish with tempura on rice.

Shitamachi Tendon at Evolve Concept Mall, Ara Damansara
Shitamachi Tendon Akitmitsu at Evolve Concept Mall, Ara Damansara

Shitamachi Tendon Akitmitsu is located at Evolve Concept Mall, one of the newest malls located at Ara Damansara, just a stone’s throw away from Citta Mall (use the same entrance/exit from main Subang Airport road). Half the restaurant serves tendon, while another side sharing the same kitchen serves yakitori (another story for another time).

Chef's special tendon
Chef’s special tendon

The menu consist of a dozen of so different tendon offerings ranging from RM 20 to RM 67. The choices are:

  • Nami Tendon (mixed shrimp, scallop, white bait, 2 prawns & 2 vege) – RM 31
  • Sumire Tendon (conger eel, prawn, 3 vege, small rice) – RM 40
  • Kakiage Tendon (large mixed shrimp, scallop, whitebait, 2 vege) – RM 32
  • Regular Tendon (whiting fish, squid & 2 prawn) – RM 36
  • Deluxe Tendon (conger eel, prawn, 1 vege) – RM 49
  • Super Deluxe Tendon (conger eel, mixed shrimps, scallop, whitebait fish, 2 prawn, 3 vege) – RM 61
  • Chef’s Special Tendon (chef’s selection) – RM 67
  • Shrimp Tendon (self explanatory) – RM 51
  • Anago Tendon (2 conger eel bone cracker & 3 vege) – RM 64
  • Squid Tendon (2 squid & 3 vege) – RM 27
  • Vegetable Tendon – RM 22
  • Tencha (mixed shrimps, scallop, soup stock, wasabi) – RM 20
  • Kid’s Tendon (small mixed shrimps, scallop, whitebait fish, prawn, 1 vege) – RM 18

shrimp tendon, deluxe tendon, chef's special tendon, tencha
shrimp tendon, super deluxe tendon, chef’s special tendon, tencha

Additionally, the restaurant also serves tempura and a selection of sake as well as Japanese beer. The menu then, as you can guessed, is rather simple, and just the way it should be.

We were served shrimp tendon, super deluxe tendon, chef’s special, as well as tencha for our session. Haze and I were joined by Keiko & her business partner (they’re Japanese). The food was certainly top notch and satisfied not only the two Malaysians in us, but our two Japanese friends had nothing but great feedback on these tendons.

The sauce was prepared in-house by the Japanese chef, marrying the the light & fluffy tempura batter with fresh seafood cooked just before serving. While at the first glance it appeared to be hastily put together, the combination was in fact meticulously prepared and very well balanced. You can ask for more sauce, but we felt that whatever the chef decided was spot on.

check out the oyster, yums
check out the oyster, yums

I’m going to have to plan a second trip pretty soon, and hopefully there are more of such restaurants coming up!

Address:
Shitamichi Tendon Akitmitsu

EV-G-09, Ground floor
Evolve Concept Mall
Pacific Place @ Ara Damansara
Petaling Jaya Selangor
GPS: 3.110532, 101.586864
Tel: 03-7831 9929
Hours: Monday to Friday, 11am to 3pm and 6pm to 9pm; Weekends and public holiday, 11am-9pm

Several weeks ago I was invited to a soft launch of Little Mums, the restaurant that was run by the same people that brought us Mum’s Place at Damansara Perdana, a restaurant that I’ve reviewed almost ten years ago, with shitty camera phone then.  As the name suggests, this offshoot is run by the second generation, offering many of the best selling dishes from the parent restaurant.

Little Mums at Damansara Uptown
Little Mums at Damansara Uptown

Located at the back row of Damansara Uptown, Little Mum spots a modern yet simple interior, and while parking isn’t the most ideal this part of PJ, it is not exactly an exercise of patient either. Little Mum serves both lunch and dinner, and offers several individual plates in addition to the usual “tai chao” style dishes.

prawn sambal petai, fried cencaru, soft shell crab with butter cheese sauce
prawn sambal petai, fried cencaru, soft shell crab with butter cheese sauce

On our visit, we started off with an appetizer with the crab cheese sticks (RM 16.80), a dish that would really go well with some cold beer, which sadly they do not offer.

Our main meal was served with steamed rice, and we had prawn with sambal petai (RM 31.80), fried cencaru with cili padi paste and petai (RM 26), soft shell crab with butter cheese sauce (RM 10.20/100g), daun keledek with lime juice (RM 15), and brinjal with black pepper (RM 15).

daun keledek, terung black pepper
daun keledek, terung black pepper

These dishes were as good as I remembered them. The cencaru and soft shell crab stood out as the two must-order dishes were strong tasting in a good way, especially for those who like their food spicy. While daun keledek is one of their classics, I found myself really enjoying the black pepper brinjal even though as with the other previously mentioned dishes, it was really spicy as well.

crab cheese stick, sago gula melaka, cendol, pulut tekan
crab cheese stick, sago gula melaka, cendol, pulut tekan

For dessert, sago gula melaka (RM 6.30) was really well executed, and pulut tekan (RM 7.30), served with homemade kaya, is another must-try. This version is like hot KFC vs stale fried chicken from the roadside, you gotta try it.

I did find the cendol with red bean (RM 6.30) a little underwhelming though, and perhaps being from Penang has something to do with that judgement.

KY, Horng, Yuki, Haze
KY, Horng, Yuki, Haze

Little Mums serves Halal food and the prices are nett. While it is slightly on the high side when it comes to pricing, they do deliver rather well in terms of quality of food. Would certainly visit again.

map to little mums at damansara uptown

Address:
Little Mums
13, Jalan SS 21/1a, Damansara Utama,
47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
GPS3.136665, 101.620997
Tel: 03-7710 0388

Tiffin’s by Chef Korn is a little restaurant located at the Mezzanine floor of North Court at Mid Valley, which is rather hidden from plain view unless you purposely walk up to the newish hidden area of the mall a level above the GSC cinemas (but at opposite end).

Tiffin by Chef Korn at Mid Valley Megamall

The restaurant is an offshoot of Erawan, considered as one of the best Thai restaurants in town by many (I haven’t had to opportunity to try it out myself yet), to be a more accessible outlet to the general public by the same Chef Korn Yodsuk.

The menu consists of mostly Thai street food offerings, but with higher grade ingredients and sometimes a bit of a unique twist. The restaurant does serve pork and is definitely not halal.

beef ball noodles with Thai iced tea
beef ball noodles with Thai iced tea

For our impromptu lunch for two, I ordered the stew pork knuckle rice (RM 19.80) while Haze had the beef ball noodle (RM 25.80). We also ordered the grilled pork neck for sharing (RM 23.80).

The grilled pork neck is served with homemade sauce and glutinous rice, and I reckon it’ll be a fantastic dish to go with beer or wine, and if you really finish up the glutinous rice, it could probably make it as a standalone meal as well. We really liked it.

Stew pork knuckle stayed true to the street cred that it should have, except for the portion being larger than what you’d find by the roadside in Bangkok. There’s also preserved vegetable, kailan, and egg with the pork.

stew pork knuckle rice & grilled pork neck
stew pork knuckle rice & grilled pork neck

The beef ball noodle includes Australian tender shin meat, poach beef, and beef balls in a homemade recipe broth by Chef Korn. It was certainly different from your run-off-the-mill beef noodle, but one that perhaps take a while to fully appreciate.

The prices at Chef Korn is on the higher side compared to the likes of Go Thai and other such Thai Street food restaurants, but the quality of you get in return does make it a fair exchange.

If you’re up for some non-halal Thai food, this would be one of the places to check out.

Other dishes found here includes tomyam noodle, pork noodle, green curry, pineapple fried rice, and more.

Address:
Tiffin by Chef Korn
T068 & T069, 3rd Floor,
Mezzanine (North Court)
Lingkaran Syed Putra,
Mid Valley City, 58000 Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.118675, 101.676085
Tel: 03-5501 7368

If there’s a Japanese food I have to choose to go with cold beer, there’ll be no doubt in my mind that it has to be yakitori, so when I got the invitation to review the offering at Torii at TTDI thanks to Kirin Ichiban, I was obviously more than happy to oblige.

After all, a premium Japanese beer with one of the higher end yakitori restaurants, you’d be foolish to not do it.

Kirin Ichiban promotion at Torii, TTDI
Kirin Ichiban promotion at Torii, TTDI

The reason we were here was to try the pairing of Kirin Ichiban with the dishes. Kirin is made with 100% malt, and brewed with an innovative “First Press” method by extracting the malt liquid from only the first press. Perhaps a little bit like “extra virgin olive oil” (I may be a bit off here), this is what contributes to the smoothness and premium taste.

At Torii, there’s also a promotion going on every Wednesday and Thursday night, with a glass of Kirin going for only RM 10.

veal chunk, squid tentacles, and crispy cheese beef yakitori
veal chunk, squid tentacles, and crispy cheese beef yakitori

The restaurant is located at the inner, slightly quieter part of TTDI that isn’t plagued with crazy parking problems like some of the busier areas a couple minutes away. It is simple, elegant, and exude a very classy, fine dining feel without having a menu that is, I think, quite accessible to many of us.

broiled lobster chowder, bonded unagi & foie gras, upper thigh
broiled lobster chowder, bonded unagi & foie gras, upper thigh

Like its name suggests, yakitori is the speciality here at Torii. We tried wings (RM 8.90), squid tentacles (RM 10.90), sweet potato (RM 5.90), upper thigh (RM 6.90), rock lobster (RM 11.90), crispy cheese beef (RM 12.90), and veal chunk (RM 15.90). None of these disappoint, but if I have to pick, upper thigh, rock lobster, and cheese beef would be those you should try.

If you’re having these with beer, the chef will usually make the yakitori just a tad saltier, which really enhances the tasting experience, and Kirin with it’s crisp and refreshing taste provides excellent contrast to the strong tasting yakitori.

If you like something soupy, go for the broiled lobster chowder with crab croutons (RM 18.90) that also prepared with porcini mushroom, shallot, and olive oil. I’d love to have this on rainy days.

triple peaks - toro, unagi, and amoebi sushi
triple peaks – uni, amoebi, toro sushi

Perhaps surprisingly, cold beer goes rather well as a stand-in for green tea when paired with sushi. The triple peaks (RM 26.90) is a plate of three premium sushi with uni (sea urchin), amoebi (sweet shrimp), and toro (tuna belly). For under RM 30 this is not only awesome, but also provides very good value for the ingredients provided.

Then there’s Autumn risotto (RM 27.90), a deceptively simple dish with crab claw, egg yolk & asparagus. Beautifully presented and equally satisfying in the taste department. This dish would  not disappoint any Italian food connoisseur.

wings, avocado de la mer, sweet potato, green tea creme brulee, nutella gyoza
wings, avocado de la mer, sweet potato, green tea creme brulee, nutella gyoza

Other dishes we sampled include the bonded unagi & foie gras (RM 29.90), kampachi uni jalapeno (RM 34.90), and avocado de la mar (RM 19.90). These aren’t exactly yakitori nor are they strictly traditional Japanese dishes, but they went so well with Kirin and left us wanting for more even as our stomach was filling up to the brim.

Of course, no fine dining meal is complete without desserts. For this we had green tea creme brulee with white chocolate lavender ice cream (RM 24.90) and nutella gyoza with chocolate ganache & whisky raisin ice cream (RM 24.90). I like the creativity in nutella gyoza, and while the desserts may not stand out as much as their yakitori and other delicacies, they were certainly more than decent.

Yen & hubby, KY & Haze enjoying some awesome food and Kirin Ichiban
Yen & hubby, KY & Haze enjoying some awesome food and Kirin Ichiban

If you love yakitori, a fan of beer, or just generally love some good food in fine dining environment without breaking the bank, this is definitely one of the places worth checking out.

Also get more information on Kirin Ichiban at their FB page at https://www.facebook.com/kirinmalaysia

Torii at TTDI map

Address:
18, Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 1,
Taman Tun Dr Ismail,
60000 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.148787, 101.629781
Tel03-7733 9309

A couple weeks ago a few of us were fortunate enough to get a taste of ten different dishes at Senya Izakaya at Publika for their upcoming Aomori Fair that runs from 15th February to 29th February 2016.

For those who aren’t familiar with Senya Izakaya, they are from the same group that runs Ten Sushi, Sushi Ichiro, and Menya Ramen. Izakaya is basically a type of informal Japanese gastropub, a place for after-work dining and (sometimes plenty of) drinking.

Senya Izakaya at Solaris Dutamas
Senya Izakaya at Solaris Dutamas

The Aomari Fair is basically an initiative to introduce the produce from Aomori Prefecture, which is situated at the northernmost area of Japan’s main island, just South of Hokkaido. The prefecture is famous for apple, in fact, 50% of all apples produced in Japan is from Aomori prefecture, and 90% of all apples exported out of Japan is Aomori apples.

Seafood, squid, and scallops are also among the exported produce from the area.

In conjunction to the Aomori Fair, Senya Izakaya is running a competition with the winner getting an RM 100 voucher, just vote for the most popular dishes out of the ten below on their FB page and in the restaurant. Check it out!

Now, here are the ten dishes that will be available during the fair, though the actual number of dishes is actually slightly more than these presented to us, but we had to be somewhat realistic in the ability to sample all these in one seating, isn’t it?

Aomori Apple with Pork Belly Skewer
Aomori Apple with Pork Belly Skewer

One of my favorite of the day, and probably the best beer food I’d like to have with me – Aomori Apple with Pork Belly Skewer (RM6). Made from preserved Aomori apples wrapped with sliced pork belly and grilled in charcoal, this was just the perfect blend of savory and sweetness in a mouthful, absolutely beautiful.

Fried Aomori Baby Scallop & Long Bean Sprout
Fried Aomori Baby Scallop &  Long Bean Sprout

Fried Aomori Baby Scallop &  Long Bean Sprout (RM25) looked a bit like fried noodle in a glance, but those are actually really long bean sprouts that is packed with vitamin C, E, and B (twice as much as normal bean sprouts, I was told).

Those baby scallops pack a punch in flavor as well, mostly due to the smallish size which tend to condensed the natural sweetness of scallops.

Grilled Aomori Squid with Guts
Grilled Aomori Squid with Guts

The Grilled Aomori Squid with Guts  (RM22) is a traditional dish that may take a bit of getting used to for some of us. Whole squid is used in this dish, and since innards aren’t removed, the squid used must be really fresh, often at sashimi quality. This dish is usually enjoyed with shochu or sake.

Aomori Baby Scallop Kakiage Tempura
Aomori Baby Scallop Kakiage Tempura

If you like deep fried food, Aomori Baby Scallop Kakiage Tempura (RM19.80) is not to be missed. This tempura is almost like a really luxurious version of our local prawn fritters, but with baby scallops, onion, carrot, and mitsuba leaves. I really liked it.

Vinegared Saba Sushi
Vinegared Saba Sushi

No Japanese menu is complete without sushi, and I was glad when we were served with Vinegared Saba Sushi (RM22.80). Made with Aomori saba that is harvested during winter time when they’re packed with more fat, this pressed sushi (oshizushi) also comes with egg, cucumber, and sakura denbu to give it that extra character.

Nanbu Aomori Senbei Hot Pot
Nanbu Aomori Senbei Hot Pot

Nanbu Aomori Senbei Hot Pot (RM19) is a dish that’s perfect for cold weather, and I guess for here too when it rains or the aircond is particularly cold. It is a traditional local dish famous at the Nanbu area. The soup is a blend of shoyu and chicken broth and accented by Nanbu Senbei, a type of local rice cracker (an award winning one at that.)

I really like the rice cracker when it soaked up the broth, not entirely unlike how we have fuchuk in BKT soup, if you know what I mean.

Aomori Seafood Barachirashi Don
Aomori Seafood Barachirashi Don

Then there’s the Aomori Seafood Barachirashi Don (RM33.80), a dish that I’d most likely order if I was completely oblivious to the menu, just because chirashi and barachirashi sushi are some of my favorite Japanese dishes.

This version uses boiled Aomori baby scallop, raw scallop, Aomori squid, Aomori vinegared saba, tuna, garlic, and Aomori yam. It certainly packs a punch with all the flavors in a bowl. Not disappointed at all.

Pork Don with Preserved Aomori Apple
Pork Don with Preserved Aomori Apple

If you can only order one dish from this list of ten, my recommendation will go to the Pork Don with Preserved Aomori Apple (RM23.80). This is Senya Izakaya’s signature dish, a fairly simple pork don with preserved Aomori apple. The apple with lemon flavor balance the rich taste of those perfectly prepared pork belly, it is basically just heaven in a bowl if you love pork like I do. Don’t miss this.

Aomori Baby Scallop Miso Curry Milk Ramen
Aomori Baby Scallop Miso Curry Milk Ramen

For those who like ramen, you’re covered. We sampled the Aomori Baby Scallop Miso Curry Milk Ramen (RM22.8), which interestingly, is an invention by the children of Aomori by putting milk and curry into ramen. It is a little creamier than usual, and still packed with plenty of ingredients, most notably those baby scallops. I find the soup base perhaps a little too creamy for me, but your mileage may vary.

Cream Cheese Snow Mountain & Aomori Apple Sorbet with Cinnamon Cookie
Cream Cheese Snow Mountain & Aomori Apple Sorbet with Cinnamon Cookie

Then of course, we had dessert. The Cream Cheese Snow Mountain & Aomori Apple Sorbet with Cinnamon Cookie (RM16). It is a cream cheese moose with Aomori apple ice cream and cinnamon cookie. This dessert is most popular at Hiromae-shi Ringo Park, which is at Hiromae-shi, a place where the best quality of apple is produced in all of Aomori.

The dessert proved to be a great ending to this overly lushed tasting session. I feel like I need to go back for some of those pork & apple dishes now.

map to Solaris Dutamas

Address:
Senya Izakaya
D5-G3-5,
Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.171465, 101.667620
Tel: 03-6205 4999