Category / Foreign Food
Back in September I was fortunate enough to get invited to a tasting event at Sheraton Imperial’s Sasagawa Japanese Restaurant to sample their Kansai Menu. While this write up is a little late, the Kansai Fair running through 20th December 2015, so we’re actually only about half way through.
The following 8-course meal is the brainchild of Chef Hitoshi Sasagawa, with premium ingredients from Kyoto, Osaka, Mie, Kouchi, Nara and Shiga. It is priced at RM 300.
mixed autumn vegetable with sesame cream, fresh sashimi
The 8 course Kansai Menu started with fresh appetizer in the form of Mixed Autumn Vegetable with Sesame Cream. The daikoku shimeji mushroom in this dish was harvested from Kyoto, I also enjoyed the little bulb of yam in this dish, very refreshing.
It’s certainly an expectation that Japanese course dinner should have some form of sashimi, and in this case, we had a selection of fresh raw seafood handpicked by the chef. Instead of the usual soya sauce, the sashimi was served with Tanimachi ponzu from Osaka, the citrus based sauce gave it a hint of acidity which I find quite enjoyable.
Ise lobster from Mie
Third course came in the form of Ise lobster, from Mie prefecture by the Pacific coast. The fresh lobster is lightly boiled with vegetable broth, preserving it’s natural seafood sweetness without over seasoning. Simple yet elegant.
pot stew with yuzu stock
Next up was a pot stew dish with Yuzu flavored stock to go with red snapper from Kouchi and Saikyo miso from Kyoto. Another rather simple dish that exudes a feeling of traditional home-cooked goodness. No complain from this happy camper, certainly.
Echizen soba salad, grilled sea eel with steamed Yoshino-kuzu ankake
The fifth item on the menu was Echizen soba salad, from Fukui, the cold soba provided a change from the previous two warm dishes.
Next up was the Grilled Sea Eel with Harvest Steamed Yoshino-kuzu Ankake. The eel was certainly delectable, and I thought the starchy broth complemented the seafood well. This dish has ingredients from Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara.
miso soup, seaweed pickle, salted bean rice cake dessert
The penultimate dish was a combination of Aosa miso Soup with Japanese pickles served with rice. I find the pickle very very strong tasting, but a small bite with a healthy scoop of rice can work in a way not entirely unlike banana leaf with chutney. The seaweed laden miso soup though, was lovely.
The 8-course dinner was concluded with salted red bean rice cake from Shiga, a rather simple end to this enjoyable Kansai Course.
chef Sasagawa, Ringo, Haze, KY at Sasagawa Sheraton Imperial KL
Overall it was quite an impressive course that showcases the various offerings from Kansai. The Premium Kansai menu is available through 20th December, 2015, it’s not too late yet, and I think I’ll be back to Sasagawa to sample some of their other dishes for sure.
Sasagawa Japanese Restaurant
Jalan Sultan Ismail,
50250 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.158659, 101.700124
Tel: 03-2602 3288
This is the last food entry for our London Trip, and more importantly, the only place that I was recommended to go by my colleague William who went to the same city just weeks before Haze and myself made the trip that was sponsored by Malaysia Airlines – the restaurant chain is, of course, Burger and Lobster.
Burger and Lobster, London
While most food in London (in our experience) was rather expensive in comparison with what we get in Malaysia, Burger and Lobster somehow manage to provide a sweet deal that is in a way, cheaper than back home.
As the name suggest, this place only offers Burger and Lobsters. After we sat down, we were presented with a drinks menu and no food menu. You would either choose burger, or lobster (baked or steamed), with each dish priced at £20.
As Asian, it was no surprise that we opted for the crustaceans.
baked or steamed lobster with chips, pick one
The lobster dish is very straightforward and simple, you get salad & chips as sides, and butter sauce to go with the seafood. And sometimes simplicity is best when it comes to good quality seafood, the lobster was fresh, succulent, and full of that seafood sweetness. The salad was superb as well, though the chips were again, tastes like deep fried potato cut into thin strips with salt sprinkled on them.
We found that portion was just right as well. If you’re one of the bigger eaters, they do have some bigger sized lobsters instead of the standard 1.5 pounder.
Haze & KY at Burger & Lobster, we certainly enjoyed it
While we went to the branch at Knightsbridge, there are actually quite a number of Burger and Lobster branches in London and a few other cities. If I go back to London again, I will most likely revisit this fantastic chain.
P/S: Pince & Pints is doing something similar in Malaysia, I have yet to give it a try.
Burger & Lobster
Fifth Floor Harvey Nicols
London SW1X 7RJ
GPS: 51.501666, -0.159802
Tel: +44 2072018676
To continue on sharing our trip to London, we now talk about one of the more famous names in the food industry – Jamie Oliver. If you don’t know who he is, you either don’t have a TV, or don’t have any friends who has a TV. In either case, google is your friend.
So, since our hotel, Dorsett Sheperd’s Bush, is so near to Westfield London, we thought of giving Jamie’s Italian a try, one of the celebrity chef’s many restaurants in UK.
Jamie’s Italian at Westfield London
The restaurant has a small alfresco dining area, but the bulk of the seats is actually indoor, it is beautifully decorated with a mixture of rustic & classy feel to it. I thought it exudes class above the price point of this establishment.
The menu is fairly straight forward, you have bread & antipasti, a selection of mains & sides, pasta, desserts, and drinks. There’s also kid’s menu as well.
Gennaro’s Famous Porchetta, Haze
We only sampled two different dishes here at Jamie’s Italian. Haze had the Gennaro’s Famous Porchetta (£13.95), slow cooked pork belly filled wih garlic, chilli & herbs, served with roasted root vegetable, spiced apple sauce, and salsa verde. It tasted healthy and the pork meat portion was pretty good, but ultimately the skin was far too chewy to be edible, I think the Europeans still need to learn from the Chinese on how to roast perfect pork skin.
Stone bass, and I just realized we had an extra item on our bill…
I initially ordered the Venetian Fish Stew, but eventually had to change to one of their specials of the day – Baked Stone Bass (£16.95) due to the unavailability of my initial choice.
The baked bass was beautifully done and sat on a bed of (I assume) mashed potato & radish with cubes of avocado. It was quite balanced and tasted rather good with a bit of extra salt & pepper. I quite liked it.
From the small sample size, I thought Jamie’s Italian was pretty decent for it’s price point. The experience would have been better if I didn’t find out as I write this that the Venetian Fish Stew was actually still in my bill (accidental I think)…… Oh well.
P/S: there’s a branch in Singapore.
London W12 7GB, United Kingdom
GPS: 51.506733, -0.222849
Tel: +44 20 8090 9070
Note: This UK – Malaysia Influencer Exchange programme was organised by Malaysia Airlines.
However, opinions are of my own. Malaysia Airlines flies between London and Kuala Lumpur
twice a day on the A380. There are 8 seats in the First Class, 66 in Business Class and 420
in Economy. Make your flight reservations today on www.malaysiaairlines.com.
Several weeks ago I was invited to Kurata Japanese Restaurant to preview their Okayama Fruit Fair. Fine Japanese food is among the top of my list, so obviously I accepted the invitation without hesitation. Furthermore, the invitation was referred to by Ringo, a dear friend, which made it all the better.
Okayama fruit fair at Kurata Japanese restaurant, Parkroyal KL
Kurata is located at the lower lobby of PARKROYAL Hotel, which itself is situated right across from Sungai Wang. While being quite familiar with Bukit Bintang, I must say that this was the first time I stepped foot into this restaurant.
First timer to the restaurant may find it a little bit difficult to find, and this is because for some reason unknown to me, Kurata is located WITHIN another hotel restaurant, but trust the signs, and you shall get there.
Shine Muscat, White Peach and New Pione,
sesame short bread with fruit topping, macaroon
Okayama, a prefecture in Chugoku, Japan, is also regarded as the “Kingdom of Fruits”. The region is known as the birthplace of some of the finest fruits Japanese has to offer, including the white peach.
Since this post is about Okayama, lets start with the fruits & desserts (although we were served with them last).
The fruit platter comes with shine muscat, white peach, and new pione. The muscat is seedless and has very high sugar content with low acidity, while the new Pione (also called black pearl) is so rich in flavor it’s almost like biting into wine, I love it. White peach needs no introduction, each bite is so delicate and juicy it’s unlike any peach I’ve ever had. Fantastic.
You can also have the fruits served on sasame short bread, with the pastry providing a contrast to bring out the sweetness of fruits even more. Alternatively, for macaroon lovers, how about some beautifully crafted macaroon stuffed with fresh Okayama fruits?
white peach roll cake in vanilla sauce, Peach and Tofu Parfait, Ringo & Haze
For those who like something richer, the white peach roll cake in vanilla sauce will certainly fit the bill, though you do lose the taste of freshness from the peach that some of us love so much.
The peach and tofu parfait is yet another way to enjoy the white peach, this dessert is delicate and doesn’t come with strong artificial sweetness like most parfait do, so for those who doesn’t like their desserts too sweet, this is perfect.
The fair run till end of August, 2015. (yeah, this post is a little late).
appetizer for Sushi Course at Kurata
Prior to all the Okayama goodness, we were also treated with the Sushi Course at Kurata (RM 190).
The course comes with appetizer in the form of beans, tofu, and angler fish liver with jelly. I can’t exactly remember the details of each ingredients, but they made a pretty good combination to kickstart the meal.
sashimi on ice
Next up was air flown sashimi – and no expenses were spared. We had kanpachi, otoro, and sake (salmon). The fresh fish were accompanied with grated wasabi, and if you haven’t had otoro with high grade soya sauce and grated wasabi, you haven’t experience the finest of sashimi. It was as good as any.
grilled alfonsino, wagyu beef, miso soup
The course next switched to something more savory, in the form of grilled alfonsino fish with a side of pickled bamboo shoots.
To be honest, I think grilled alfonsino is perhaps a dish that requires a bit of an acquired taste. This is not the first time I had it, but I still think the rather firm texture and sweetish taste isn’t something that “blows my mind”, so to speak. It was nice, but it wasn’t great.
We were then served with miso soup.
assorted sushi, including my favorite – uni (sea urchin)
The main dish of assorted sashimi were then served, and it was among some of the best I’ve had. The presentation was basic and straight to the point, but the sweet shrimp, sea urchin, salmon, kanpachi, salmon roe, and even the sushi roll were really well crafted and more than meet expectations.
Food at Kurata is certainly worth exploring, and for those who like a quiet and romantic ambiance, this may fit the bill perfectly.
Kurata Japanese Restaurant
Lower Lobby, PARKROYAL HOTEL.
Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.144423, 101.712351
Tel: 03-2110 0226
Hours: Wednesday and Thursday Lunch close, Sunday dinner close
With the on-going house renovation work, I’ve been rejected (or accidentally ignoring) quite a lot of food review invitation, but when Sarah from Kimpachi messaged and invited me to Kampachi Sake Dinner Series, I just couldn’t say no.
When Kampachi comes calling, you just don’t reject, and I’ve never regretted the decisions.
kampachi sake dinner series featuring Izumibashi Sake
In conjunction with Izumibashi brewery’s first visit to Malaysia, Kampachi hosted a dinner series that took place at their Troika outlet on the 16th June, 2015, and the day after in Kampachi Equatorial, Penang.
The dinner features a 9 course Kaiseki menu by Kampachi’s Executive Chef, Koji Tamaru, using produce and seasonal seafood directly sourced from Japan. The meal was paired with four types of Izumibashi sakes.
“welcome drink”, edamame, and brewery founder/owner Yuichi Hashiba
We were joined by the 6th generation founder/owner of Izumibashi brewery, Yuichi Hashiba, and sake sommelier, Shigeyuki Masaki. Together they shared the history of the brand, how they produce the sake, and what made them special.
Izumibashi Tonbo Sparkling with Amera Tomato Mizu Nasu
The first three courses were paired with Tonbo Sparkling, this is an unfiltered sake with a cloudy appearance, only very lightly gassy and quite wholesome in taste. Apparently filtered sake is a bit of an imitation to sparkling wine of the West, and Izumibashi purposely left it unfiltered to show it’s true Japanese origin.
We started the dinner with something that is utterly simple yet surprisingly delicious – Amera tomato and slices of Raw Japanese Eggplant. These raw vegetables were just lightly seasoned with salt and pepper.
I’ve had tomato of similar calibre a couple times and these were equally as crunchy and refreshing, the eggplant though, was a total revelation.I never thought eggplants could be consumed raw, and I’m glad I was wrong, it was most excellent.
Niawabi Shake Toba Morokyu Kinsanji Miso,
Hamo Kuzuuchi Junsai Janome Kyuri Bainiku
Next came Simmered Abalone, Dried Salmon & Cucumber with Miso. A beautifully arranged dish with very contrasting texture offered by the soft and slightly chewy abalone, the very crispy dried salmon, and those crunchy cucumber. I particularly loved the dried salmon which is almost like the best salted fish I’ve ever had, and you can eat it straight.
The Clear Soup with Pike Conger Eel, Water Shield, Ring Shaped Cucumber & Plum came next. While the eel, cucumber, and plum were not stranger to most diners, I found the water shield provided quite a new experience to me. It tasted a bit like some sort seaweed encased in a slimy exterior. A good change of pace but I’m not quite sure I really enjoyed it.
Maguro & Kanpachi sashimi with Izumibashi Junmai Ginjo Megumi Blue Label
The next three dishes were paired with Izumibashi Junmai Ginjo Megumi Blue Label, made with Yamada Nishiki rice grown in house by Izumibashi. This particular type of rice produces good sake as it absorbs water and dissolves easily.
Sashimi came in the form of Maguro & Kanpachi – Tuna and Amberjack. These fish were flown fresh from Tsukiji market and of course, did not disappoint. The sake complimented the seafood perfectly well.
Gindara Shio Kouji Yaki, Awafu Ageni Harinegi Kinome
The fifth course was the simple Grilled Cod Fish Marinated with Salt Crust, with superb execution by the chef. I absolutely loved the texture of cod skin and the way the fish is cooked, it was spot on.
Awafu Ageni Harinegi Kinome translates to Simmered Yellow Wheat Gluten served with Fine Julienned Leek & Leaf Bud. Quite a fancy name and description, and tasted a little bit like a more sophisticated version of tofu with a richer texture.
Tatake Ebi Kesho Age with Shishito, Yaki Onigiri Chazuke Shio Konbu
The last three dishes were paired with Izumibashi Yamahai Junmai Shinriki. Shinriki translate to “power of god”, and in this case this sake is made with the most tedious and labour intensive method that helped produce the most “umami” flavour.
Deep Fried Chopped Prawns with Japanese Green Pepper was the first dish we sampled with this sake. The greenish “powder” you see next to the chili was actually salt, together with the fried ingredients, it was simple yet very delicious.
Grilled Rice Ball in Broth with Salted Kelp came next, it was almost like the Chinese dinner where you always have a rice dish at the penultimate dish (sort of, but not really). You appreciate the rice and wasabi in broth with a bit of a grilling treatment to bring out the flavour, subtle but quite delightful.
Yuzu Sorbet, Yuzu Mousse, Yuzu Kaki with Yamada Jyuro Plum
We concluded the dinner with Homemade Japanese Citrus Sorbet, Mousse and Dehydrated Persimmon. If you haven’t had yuzu before, go get some yourself, it is the best citrus there is (to me anyway).
We each also had a glass of Yamada Jyuro Plum, it was a fantastic dinner with some really fine sake. Made for an excellent night. Thank you again Sarah and Kampachi for the lovely dinner.
Check out Angeltini’s post for write up from the sake angle.
The Troika Jalan Binjai
GPS: 3.158052, 101.718122
Tel: 03-2181 2282