Category / Japanese
I almost never say no to food review at classy Japanese restaurants, so when the invitation from Hanaya came, I immediately made it a point find a way to get there even though the timing wasn’t exactly perfect.
And as it turned out, that was a wise choice. Walking from KLCC to Grand Millennium Hotel under the hot sun was definitely worth it.
Hanaya Japanese Restaurant at Grand Millennium Hotel, KL
Hanaya took over the Takumi Fine Dining’s previous spot right by the lobby of the hotel, and run by the same people who manages the excellent Ten Sushi at Marc’s Residence (lunch review).
While Ten is modern and veered towards the higher end fine dining experience, Hanaya aimed to be more approachable to the general public and offers traditional Japanese cuisine with more affordable pricing while maintaining very high quality, as apparent during this review session.
Our tasting menu for this pre-opening review was specially selected to showcase some of the different dishes and ingredients from Hanaya.
Shirako, or soft roe with ponzu sauce
We started the session with Shirako, or red snapper soft roe. For those who aren’t familiar with the difference between normal roe & soft roe, well, normal roe is fish eggs, while soft roe is the male counterpart.. or in the less glamorous term – fish sperm sac.
It was incredibly rich and creamy, but perfectly balanced with the acidity from ponzu sauce. I must say that I find myself really enjoying this delicacy despite knowing the ingredient intimately. I’d want to have this again for sure.
Oriental clam fritters with grated green bean sauce
Next up was Oriental clam fritters with grated green bean sauce and spring vegetable. A more muted taste that serves as a welcoming change from the strong first dish. It was an simple yet rather delightful.
entree – five types
The entree came with five different items, all of them carefully crafted and expertly prepared.
We had botargo (salted dried fish roe) which reminded me of the texture of dried mango minus the fiber; sticky tofu skin that was simple yet intricate; bamboo shoots in balsamic vinegar that provided the fresh, crunchy feeling; red snapper with Mozuku seaweed giving a new interpretation of the way to enjoy raw fish; and finally a play in colors with prawns in 3 ways – with nori, ohba leaves and arare (crispy Japanese cracker).
The entree was quite a revelation, and I did enjoy them all, though the prawns could perhaps bit a bit more crunchy, but I’m nitpicking.
assorted seasonal sashimi
What’s a proper Japanese meal without sashimi?
Our assorted seasonal sashimi platter comes with 5 types of fresh raw seafood, each beautifully crafted and carefully prepared.
Starting from ebi with cucumber and avocado sauce, seared salmon with bonito cream, saba with vinaigrette, aoyagi (Chinese mactra, a type of clam), and finally chutoro with sweet spicy gochujang sauce. All of which were rather excellent, and one of the very few times I had sashimi without the need of any soya sauce or wasabi since they were all very well balanced already.
Akita Wagyu steak
Next up was charcoal grilled Akita Wagyu steak, I believe this simple three slices of beef was actually prepared by God himself. It was, of a lack of a better word, heaven. It was very lightly grilled and served with a few pieces of fried garlic, a bit of daikon, carrot, and a touch of sea salt & pepper.
If you think sex is good, that’s because you haven’t had this beef.
steamed alfonsino fish
Steamed dish came in the form of alfonsino (a type of deep water fish with huge eyes) with Japanese yam and egg white. I thought the texture of the fish was perhaps slightly harder than I’m used to, but overall it was a good combination, and I really like the fluffy texture of the foamy egg & yam concoction.
seasonal sushi at Hanaya Japanese Restaurant
Penultimate dish that was simply labeled “rice dish” in the menu turned out to be sushi (all rice dish should be sushi isn’t it?)
My favorites were sea urchin, scallops, and of course, otoro! The melt in your mouth texture was just so irresistible! Every piece of the five on the plate was spot on, and again, we didn’t even need wasabi!
coconut bavorios with pineapple jelly in pino colada style
Unfortunately, every good meal had to come to an end, and to conclude this special menu, we had an unassuming looking dessert that came in a martini glass – coconut bavorios with pineapple jelly in pino colada style. The layered dessert lived up to the expectations set by the previous dishes, the combination of sweet, milky, and sour taste was perfect. I was already rather full at this point, but finished the dessert nonetheless.
KY, Ringo, & Caydence at Hanaya Japanese Restaurant
Omakase at Hanaya ranges from RM 200-250, and there is also quite a decent selection of ala carte item. I believe I’m going to go back there perhaps to try their lunch menu pretty soon!
Grand Millenium Kuala Lumpur
160, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.148006, 101.712225
Tel: 03-2110 5499
Sometimes there are instances where I visited a place and be impressed, then proceed to forget about it and waited till more than half a year before writing a blog entry, this is one of such instance, and the restaurant is Gyukingu Japanese BBQ at Kota Damansara.
Gyukingu at kota damansara
Gyukingu is located next to Sunway Giza, on the first floor at the same shoplots that also houses Al Rajhi bank (what an unfortunate logo for a bank). As with most anywhere in Kota Damansara PJU 5 area, getting a desirable parking space requires a little bit of patience and quite a lot of element of luck.
gyukingu BBQ mixed beef set, under RM 40
The menu at Gyukingu is pretty extensive, and as the name suggests, mostly consist of beef.
If you want to splurge, there’s some pretty high end stuff like saga beef that is priced over RM 100+ per 100 gram, but there are also some affordable sets and “normal” priced items to choose from.
For example, the BBQ mixed beef set, priced at under RM 40, is a mighty fine way to enjoy their BBQ while not risking skipping your rental for the month.
mixed pork platter was pretty good too.
If beef isn’t your favorite type of meat, or that you have a religious obligation to avoid consuming beef, Gyukingu also serves pork. We tried their mixed pork platter, and while not as flavorful as beef (grilled pork is rarely as good), they were actually still rather good, especially the “bacon cuts”. They even serve tongue as well.
soup and rice dishes are available too
For those who aren’t a fan of having to grill your own meat, there are rice bowls, soups, and even udon available here as well. They are usually priced at around RM 20 range. Yuki swore by the BBQ Pork Rice Bowl here, and it was only RM 14.80 or so.
the yuzu ice cream was excellent, and raw beef anyone?
Another one of our favorites was the beef sashimi that came in a form that’s not entirely unlike beef tartar. Chopped raw beef with an egg yolk on top. If you haven’t had raw beef, try it! It’s very close to high quality raw tuna. This version was less than RM 30 as well.
Oh, and be sure to end your dinner with some rather excellent Yuzu ice cream, it’ll set you back at RM 10 a scoop, but it’s really worth it!
Suan, Horng, Haze, Lance, Mel
If you’re a fan of BBQ beef, this is definitely a place to check out, but even if you’re not, there are enough other choices to satisfy most everyone.
Gyukingu Japanese BBQ
Jalan PJU 5/17, Kota Damansara,
47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.151760, 101.591259
Tel: 03-6143 7750
When it comes to Japanese restaurants, KL is spoiled for choices. Probably 80% of the hotels has an in house Japanese restaurant, there bound to be a place serving sushi at every shopping complex, and they are also represented in most newer commercial centers.
It is then very easy to get lost in the conversation, and higher end Japanese restaurants often have to offer something unique to set themselves apart. Be it ambiance, ingredients, or experience.
Zipangu at Shangri-La Hotel, KL
Personally, Zipangu at Shangri-La KL always have a special place in my heart as it was the restaurant where I first experienced foie gras back in 2007, as you would remember the first Kobe beef (at Elegantology), or the first ebiko (at Jusco Pyramid), first tempoyak (at Tenggol Island), etc.
So when I had the opportunity to be sample the Early Spring Lobster Kaiseki at Zipangu, I agreed to it immediately.
The six course menu is available from 15 to 31st March 2015, and priced at RM 280++ per person.
soy milk tofu with lobster & sweet sticky soya sauce
We started out with a dish that is visually very similar to chawanmushi, but what is usually made of steamed egg is instead chilled home-made soy milk tofu, with the topping of wasabi, sweet sticky sauce, and of course, lobster. The visual-almost-misrepresentation did not take away from the brilliance of the appetizer, it was simple yet elegant.
octopus with field mustard and soba noodle
The second course was octopus with field mustard and soba noodle. Another light dish showcasing not only seafood, but also the vegetables of the season in Japan. I particularly like the addition of bamboo shoots.
sashimi with salmon, lobster, and seabream
No Kaiseki is complete without some raw ingredients. For this we have sashimi with salmon, lobster, and seabream. If you haven’t had lobster sashimi before, I urge you to give it a try, it is one of my favorite raw seafood ever, in fact, I think it is the best way to enjoy lobster.
The soya sauce is mixed with lemon in this instance to give it an even fresher feel. I really enjoyed this.
hot dish – lobster and seasonal vegetables with Bonito fish gut sauce
The meal then turn up the heat just a bit with the next serving being a hot dish of lobster and seasonal vegetable with salted fish cream sauce. The star of this dish is the cream sauce, as explained by our server, it is actually made from Bonito fish gut.
It was subtle yet you can definitely feel its presence, sort of like how having Natalie Portman sitting at a quiet corner would make an impact to a room.
grilled Wagyu sukiyaki roll
The next dish took a departure from seafood to honor another Japan’s famous ingredient – Wagyu beef. The good chefs at Zipangu simply called this Sliced Wagyu Beef Sukiyaki Roll.
It was stuffed with mushroom and other seasonal vegetables grilled with perfection. Dip the roll in raw egg infused sukiyaki inspired sauce, and you have an implosion of richness with savory overdose. It was really satisfying.
lobster fried rice with pickles
Like most course meals, the penultimate dish is usually something you can fill your stomach with, and for this we had lobster fried rice (you can also choose from garlic fried rice, seafood fried rice, claypot cooked rice or steamed rice.)
The fried rice tasted rather muted at first, but with the accompanying pickles, it suddenly became balanced and, well, good! The lack of salt/soya sauce in the rice was to make way for the pickles, this was the first time I had fried rice this way, though the concept isn’t totally unfamiliar to me since you have onigiri served in similar fashion as well.
KY & ahfa at Shangri-La KL, with our professional Japanese server
(actually the Guest Service Manager – Yoshihiro Hattori)
Panna Cotta with Cherry Blossom Flavour ends the Early Spring Lobster Kaiseki dinner, an experience that is truly Japanese and executed perfectly at Zipangu. I really enjoyed this review and the walk from KLCC under hot sun to Shangri-La was definitely worth it.
The menu only lasts till end of this month, so if you’re a lobster lover, don’t miss out.
Jalan Sultan Ismail
GPS: 3.152139, 101.709419
Tel: 03-2032 2388
The fourth floor in Suria KLCC has been sort of a “restaurant” floor ever since the mall started its operation years ago. While different restaurants come and go, there are always a good mixture of different cuisines to choose from, and luck for people like me, there’s always at least a Japanese restaurant there.
One of the latest Japanese restaurants to venture into KLCC market is Yuzu, and I’m glad that it is quite an improvement from the previous Japanese restaurant on the floor from a few years ago.
Yuzu Japanese restaurant at Suria Level 4, KLCC
The restaurant itself isn’t big, and like pretty much any restaurant in this mall, seating is a bit cramped. The interior decoration is fresh and unpretentious, but best of all, it has a pretty good lunch menu at least as far as value for money is concerned.
Most importantly, service is also pretty fast, catering pretty well for the KLCC office crowd.
Soba Gozen (RM 40) and Yuzu Gozen (RM 58)
I’ve been there a couple times since I was moved to KLCC again, and every time we opted for their lunch set.
For RM 40, Soba Gozen gets you sushi, a small bowl of soba, a slice of unagi (eel), a couple shrimp tempura, miso soup, and a chawamushi, not bad huh?
Yuzu Gozen (RM 58) is one of their higher priced lunch sets, and it comes with assorted sashimi, half a dozen sushi, grilled beef, tempura, salad, chawamushi, appetizer, and fruits. Not a bad value at all.
Sanma Mentaiki set (RM 37)
For those who likes grilled fish, Sanma Mentaiki (RM 37) gets you the girlled fish stuffed with mentaiki (one of my favorite ingredients), tempura, fruits, salad, chawanmushi, and miso soup.
Food quality is more than decent, and considering the location and convenience, Yuzu is definitely a place worth considering if you’re in KLCC.
If you are willing to bump up your budget just a bit, Ten Japanese Fine Dining right across the road is the place to check out.
Yuzu Japanese Restaurant
Kuala Lumpur City Center
Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.158126, 101.711833
Tel: 03-2161 4176
For someone who dines out quite a lot, I’m almost always in a lost when it comes to eating in shopping malls. Out on the streets, pasar malam, or random restaurants? I’m good at those, but under the giant roofs that house hundreds of shops? Good luck.
Manmaru Udon at Mid Valley Megamall
So when we found ourselves at Mid Valley the other day, we did what most people do, randomly wandering around to find something to eat.
In this instance, facade of a restaurant is important, and that’s how we got into Manmaru Japanese Udon Restaurant, despite the fact that I’m not exactly an udon fan at all.
Signature Supreme Udon
As it turns out, other than a good variety of udon, Manmaru also serves starters, salad, yakimono (grilled or pan fried stuff), agemono (deep fried stuff), and nabe (Japanese hot pot).
Since this is a primarily udon place, we had to try their udon, so why not choose the top of the range?
The Signature Supreme Udon (RM 28.90) comes with pretty good amount of prawns, scallops, and even abalone slices (not sure if it’s “real” abalone, but I don’t really care). The broth was thick, creamy, and actaully pretty delicious. I also enjoyed the udon noodle itself, having a pretty good texture.
By the way, the cheapest udon here starts at RM 11.90, with more than two dozen varieties to choose from.
ebi pizza & tuna carpaccio
The picture of their ebi pizza (prawn pizza, RM 19.90) looks too good to pass up, so I ended up ordering that. The thin crust pizza was loaded with cheese, had 8 pretty good size prawns, and all those mushroom, chunks of bell peppers, and spring onion. I really enjoyed it.
We also ordered one of their specials – tuna carpaccio. This starter actaully took the longest to be served, and while looking pretty decent on the photo, it was a disappointing dish. The tuna was a bit too “cooked” and the dish could use more olive oil. I’ll avoid this.
we had a pretty satisfying meal
That being said, Manmaru is a pretty decent place if you’re looking for udon or pizza, I’m assuming other standard dishes such as tempura and grilled items are worth trying as well. If I’m at Mid Valley again over meal time, I wouldn’t mind checking it out again.
S-045A, Mid Valley City
Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2201 1663
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