Category / Foreign Food
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
A few weeks ago while walking from KLCC to Pavilion I strolled pass Vipod Residence and noticed that there’s a new Japanese restaurant opening up on the ground floor – Oribe Sushi. I’m a huge fan of proper Japanese food, so there’s no other reason needed to give it a try.
Oribe Sushi at Vipod Residence (between Pavilion & KL Convention Centre)
A peek on the menu shows that Oribe Sushi only serves Omakase (literal translation: “I’ll leave it to you”). For lunch, there are 4 choices priced at RM 88, RM 150, RM 180, and RM 250. Dinner omakase are priced at RM 120, 168, 198, and 350.
We took a seat at the sushi bar and then of course, I chose the cheapest – “Seto”.
appetizer & chawamushi
This set starts out with appetizer in the form of some carefully stirfried bean sproud, tiny shrimps, and other vege.
Then there’s the chawanmushi that’s smoother than most tofufa I’ve had, it was delicious. So far, so good.
sea bass, flounder, bluefin tuna, yellow tail
Then came what we were here for – the sushi.
The experience here is pretty unique. While seated at the sushi bar, the chef is dedicated to your meal. He will prepare one sushi meticulously, serve it on your plate, explained what it is, and then only start preparing the next piece after you’ve consumed the current piece.
This way, the sushi never sit on the plate longer than a few seconds (or however long you take to snap a pic to show your jealous friends on instagram).
mackerel with seaweed, barracuda, scallop
The 8 types of sushi we had were sea bass, flounder, bluefin tuna, yellow tail, mackerel with seaweed, barracuda, scallop， and ikura.
These were not just simple slices of fish (or other seafood) on rice, but also with addition of seaweed, blow torch treatment, bits of citrus peel, a wipe of sauce/oil and so forth. It was a work of art. I found myself not even really needing those grated fresh wasabi to accompany the sushi.
ikura (salmon egg), and er.. some vegetable roll
The ginger used here too is not of the usual variety. It was less spicy but carries a slightly sweet flavor which I really liked. They will refill it should you find yourself finishing them like I did.
After 8 pieces of nigiri sushi, we were treated with three pieces of vegetable roll (I think it was Japanese bamboo shoots?) to end the main course part of the meal.
miso soup and mochi with red bean to conclude our omakase
Our omsake ended with a small bowl of miso soup and mochi with red bean as dessert. While the dessert wasn’t as exquisite as the other dishes, it was certainly not disappointing either.
While RM 88++ is certainly no chump change for lunch, I do feel that it provides value for money so far as the quality of food, and the excellent services goes. If you are a fan of proper Japanese food, this is one place you should check out.
Oribe Sushi @ Vipod Residence
19, Jalan Kia Peng,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.152181, 101.712662
Tel: 03-2181 4099
If you were to tell me 10 years ago that salad can make a healthy, hearty, and really delicious meal, I’d only believe you 1/3. After all, salad are for girls who wants to look demure and polite having meal in public, right?
Well, Chai Bar proved me wrong.
Chai Bar at Oasis Square, Ara Damansara
One of the Chai Bar’s co-owner, Dennis, is a close friend of Haze. So to be honest, we’ve heard of the concept and already been to the pre-tasting events before the restaurant was even opened.
It was a concept that isn’t completely new, salad bars such as these are already quite popular in Singapore and other countries.
salad isn’t just lettuce with thousand island sauce
The concept is simple, choose from some 70 different ingredients such as freshly washed and cut vegetables to beans, cheeses, nuts, pickles, and roasted vegetables. Plus, you also get to add smoked salmon, shrimp, poached chicken or grilled beef (just in case you think salad is only all about greens). To complete the meal, pick from some 15 different dressings.
Voila, you have yourself an awesome healthy meal.
chicken rice, superfood, steakhouse, sombrero
For the review session we tried 7 different salads with some from their “fab 10” selections, basically ten different mixes of salad for those who doesn’t want to scratch their heads choosing your own combination from 70 different ingredients. These salads are priced from RM 16-20, a very good value for what you get in my opinion.
Chicken rice came with spinach, red rice, onions, cucumber, bean sprouts & poached chicken and dressed with Sesame Soy. Here the chicken is cooked sous vide so even though it’s breast meat (my least favorite but healthiest option), it was still very juicy and rather delicious.
Superfood had mixed leaves with sweet potatoes, beets, avocado, dried cranberries, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds & quinoa dressed in peanut sauce. A mixture of all the healthy ingredients you can think of. Very nice texture to munch on.
Steakhouse is a salad for the men, I mean, steak, kan? Baby spinach with baby potatoes, tomato, caramelised onions & grilled beef. I like the dressing in this one – blue cheese! If you’re not a fan of blue cheese, you can always opt for another dressing.
If you like a little bit of Mexican, try Sombrero. Mixed lettuce with 3-bean mix, corn, tomatoes, onions, mixed peppers, cheddar cheese, tortilla chips & grilled beef. This salad is dressed with avocado and topped with salsa.
bibimbap, caesar, california girls
Fancy Korean style salad? Baby spinach with red rice, cucumber, carrot, mushrooms, bean sprouts, hard boiled egg and grilled beef. Sweet Gochujang. Sprinkles of kimchi makes for a bowl of Bibimbap.
Caesar, the most common of all salad, turned out to be our favorite. The sous vide chicken that’s lightly grilled was superb, and the Green Goddess dressing compliments romaine lettuce, croutons, onions, hard boiled egg, beef bacon, Parmesan cheese and grilled chicken really well.
According to Dennis, California Girls is one of the most popular salads with the ladies. A bowl that’s inspired by Japanese cuisine, with mixed lettuce, red rice, avocado, carrot, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, hard boiled egg, pickled seaweed & kaori-hako. Wasabi Mayo. Dusted with roasted seaweed and ebiko. I thought the ebiko was a really nice touch.
refreshing drinks at Chai Bar
Juices goes for RM 7.50 and smoothies RM 8.50. We had kaffir lemonade, watermelon & mint, and of course I went for avocado. They complements the food well, and I think make for good afternoon “snacks” on their own too.
KY, Haze, Dennis (co-owner), Cheesie & Junya
Chai Bar is really a trailblazer for salad in this side of Klang Valley, I really hope they thrive and open up more restaurants, and hopefully one near my workplace. Good job Dennis!
G31, Oasis Village
Oasis Square Ara Damansara,
2, Jalan PJU 1A/7A, Petaling Jaya
GPS: 3.114834, 101.574750
Tel: 03-7832 3138
A few weeks ago we had the craving for roast duck, and there is no better place for roast duck than Loong Foong at Taman Paramount, so we headed there… just to discover that while the restaurant was open, the roast duck shop wasn’t.
Time for plan B – the classy looking Japanese Curry restaurant a few shops down the same row – Shokudo Japanese Curry Rice.
Shokudo at Taman Paramount
The restaurant is a blend of class and practicality. There are long wooden tables and benches for sharing, which exudes a bit of high school dining hall feel.
Ordering is done by heading to the counter, but they’re kind enough to serve the food to your table. Green tea and water refill is a DIY affair, which we didn’t mind.
tidbits to munch on before main meal
The menu consists of some two dozen dishes, including curry rice and appetizers. We tried aigamo rousuni (marinated duck breast, RM 8), hiyayako (cold beancurd, RM 4), koebi karaage (deep fried shrimps, RM 5), and kani salad (crab stick salad, RM 10).
The appetizers were generally pretty good and priced rather competitively, I can totally imagining chilling out with some Asahi & deep fried shimps.
prawns, pork, or beef curry rice
There are almost a dozen different curry rice to choose from. From chicken, pork fillet, prawn, vegetable, egg, and even cream croquette, all of which are priced between RM 13-15. For an additional RM 3, you also get a small salad, soup, and green tea, which is a pretty decent deal especially since the price is net.
After trying a few dishes, my favorite has to be their prawn curry rice. The seafood tasted fresh, juicy, and goes very well with creamy flavorful Japanese curry. The pork fillet is pretty decent, though I’d recommend Tonkatsu by Mai Mason over this version any day.
That being said, Shokudo is a pretty fine place for Japanese curry rice for any fan of this dish.
9, Jalan 20/13,
Petaling Jaya Selangor
GPS: 3.106145, 101.625387
Hours: lunch & dinner, closed on Monday