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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Category / KL City

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
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
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
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).

appertizer for Sushi Course at Kurata
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
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
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)
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.

map to PARKROYAL KL

Address:
Kurata Japanese Restaurant
Lower Lobby, PARKROYAL HOTEL.
Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.144423, 101.712351
Tel03-2110 0226
HoursWednesday and Thursday Lunch close, Sunday dinner close

Wherever there are office workers, there’ll be mixed rice stalls, and often time it is very difficult to tell them apart in terms of quality. This is especially challenging at places like Wisma Sentral with a number of different stalls catering to wage earners working at KLCC and surrounding area.

Nasi Campur at Wisma Sentral, KLCC
Nasi Campur at Wisma Sentral, KLCC

But after years of being here, I think I’ve found my favorite halal food stall in the building – the Kelantanese place at the far right corner on ground floor.

On the surface, this place doesn’t look very different from the other half a dozen different stalls, but on closer inspection, you’ll notice that there are subtle differences.

the selection of ulam is what brings me here
the selection of ulam is what brings me here

Firstly, the selection of ulam is excellent. There’s always at least about a dozen different raw vegetable to choose from that pairs well with some the few choices of sambal. This ranges from cucumber, tomato, long bean, lady’s finger, to petai, ulam raja, and more.

Furthermore, they also have a pretty big selection of ikan bakar freshly made just prior to lunch hours. With patin, kembung, keli, and a few other choices available.

However, my personal favorite from this stall has got to be their solok lada – this unique East Coast dish is basically a stuffed green chili with a mixture of fish & coconut insert. If you think yong tau foo is good, this one will blow your mind. I love it!

some of the typical "lauk" we usually go for
some of the typical “lauk” we usually go for

So if you’re around KLCC area (or happen to work here), do check out this stall, it may not be the cheapest option among the few, but it is definitely the one I enjoy most.

Address:
Nasi Campur (Right far end corner)
Ground Floor
Wisma Central, Jalan Ampang
Kuala Lumpur
GPS:
3.158728, 101.714473
Hours: Weekday Lunch

I work with a team of people who likes to get together and enjoy good lunches together from time to time, and several days ago it was Stanely’s turn to play host to these ad hoc events we have every now and then. The destination – Warisan Kafe at Avenue K, just a short walk from our office.

Warisan nasi kukus at Avenue K
Warisan nasi kukus at Avenue K

Warisan Kafe is located at the concourse level on Avenue K, just a short walk away from the KLCC LRT station. Instead of a proper restaurant, it is set up under the stairs and had tables and chairs sprawled along the hallway, which was plenty fine for quick lunches.

Lamb Mysore, Rendang Daging, Nasi Kukus Ayam Goreng
Lamb Mysore, Rendang Daging, Nasi Kukus Ayam Goreng

Warisan Kafe has five different types of nasi kukus to choose from – the usual nasi putih, nasi kukus beras perang, nasi kukus lemak, nasi kukus pandan, and my favorite, nasi kukus telang, or the blue rice commonly found with nasi kerabu.

Choices of lauk to pair with the rice include their signature dish in ayam goreng berempah, rendang daging, lamb Mysore. Accompanying the rice & meat would be 3 different types of curry, keropok, telur rebus (hard boiled egg), and sambal belacan.

teh lapis pandan & ubi kayu kukus
teh lapis pandan & ubi kayu kukus

In addition to their signature dishes, Warisan also serves mee kuah, laksa, bubur, and even roti jala. Dessert choices are ubi kayu kukus & bubur manis.

thank you for lunch, Stanley!
thank you for lunch, Stanley!

I’ve had their lamb, ayam goreng, and tasted a bite of the rendang. Quality of food is more than decent, and certainly present itself as a serious enough option especially in a shopping mall environment. With drinks, a meal can go up to almost RM 20, but you can also get by with a slightly smaller budget.

map of Avenue K

Address:
Warisan Kafe
SAC-C-1, Concourse Level
Avenue K, 156, Jln Ampang,
50450 KL

GPS: 3.159210, 101.713538
Hours: 10 am to 10 pm

 

A few days before bulan puasa, we had several rounds of short lunch excursions, one of which was the famous asam pedas place at Man’s Cafe in Kampung Baru. Since Ramadan has passed, I thought it’s appropriate to write about this place as it is back in business for lunch again.

Asam Pedas Kampung Baru, or Man's Cafe Selera Kampung
Asam Pedas Kampung Baru, or Man’s Cafe Selera Kampung

Located at the “entrance” to Kampung Baru from Jalan Tun Razak as you turn into Jalan Raja Muda Musa, the little eatery is yet another zinc roofed structure that has seen better days as a residence. Dining tables with plastic chairs are scattered about the former porch and living room of the house, with a couple rows of delicious looking dishes presented at around the entrance.

ulam, ikan bakar, sambal, tempoyak, and more
ulam, ikan bakar, sambal, tempoyak, and more

Like most Malay mixed rice places, there’s a pretty good variety of choices here – starting from over half a dozen choices of ulam, to kari ikan, ayam goreng, several types of sambal (including tempoyak aka fermented durian), telur dadar, sambal chili, terung chili, and good mix of ikan bakar.

the all important Asam Pedas (bottom right)
the all important Asam Pedas (bottom right)

While those dishes we tried were all pretty good, the highlight of lunch was their signature dish – asam pedas. It is basically curry cooked with salted vegetable that’s not unlike the Chinese spicy vegetable (a good version can be found at Peng Heong Hakka Paikut Rice in Klang), but cooked with fish instead. It was sour, spicy, and absolutely intoxicating.

If you’re up for something that can jolt your senses, Man’s Asam Pedas cafe is one of those places to check out.

map to Man's Cafe asam pedas at Kampung Baru

Address:
Man’s Asam Pedas Cafe
Intersection of Jalan Raja Muda Musa
& Jalan Raja Uda
Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.165282,101.709029

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
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.

Izumibashi Tonbo Sparkling with edamame
“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
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
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.

Maguru & Kanpachi sashimi with Izumibashi Junmai Ginjo Megumi Blue Label
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
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
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
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.

map to Kampachi at Troika

Address:
Kampachi
The Troika Jalan Binjai
Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.158052, 101.718122
Tel: 03-2181 2282