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Category / KL City

If you type Omakase in google, this is what you get:

o·ma·ka·se
ˌōməˈkäsā,ōˈmäkəsā/
noun
  1. (in a Japanese restaurant) a meal consisting of dishes selected by the chef.

So then, SOU Omakase is exactly what the name of the restaurant suggests – a Japanese outfit at Mid Valley Gardens that prides itself on their Omakase menu.

sou omakase mid valley gardens
sou omakase mid valley gardens

Lunch starts at RM 98++ per person, and dinner comes with a choice of 4 different course –

  • SOU dinner course – RM 220
    • starter, chawanmushi, Japanese garnish food, sashimi, grilled dish, mouth wash, main course, rice course with miso soup, dessert with Japanese tea
  • Special dinner course – RM 320
    • starter, special fresh oyster, Japanese garnish food, special sashimi, grilled dish, mouth wash, main course, rice course with miso soup, dessert with Japanese tea
  • Special abalone course – RM 370
    • starter, Japanese soup, Japanese garnish food, special sashimi moriawase, special grilled abalone, mouth wash, main course, sushi 3 kinds with miso soup, home made dessert with Japanese tea
  • Tasting menu – RM 450
    • degustation menu offered by chef FUKUCHI, 10 courses.

foie gras salad
foie gras salad

For the purpose of our review, we went for the tasting menu.

But first, if you’re heading to SOU Omakase, do note that it is located near the entrance of the Gardens Hotel, accessible via the Mall but through a tricky back door, with the restaurant facing Bangsar area of the building. It is much easier if you choose to valet park at the Gardens.

I won’t with fancy Japanese lingo for these dishes, since I assume many of you are like me who are heaps better in your command of English language than Japanese, we’ll stick with simple descriptions.

The dinner started with a beautiful dish of foie gras salad, a small chunk of perfectly seared goose liver with some greens and caviar. The ingredients itself speaks business.

 Netherlands oyster with homemade tabasco
 Netherlands oyster with homemade tabasco

Second course was Netherlands oyster with homemade tabasco, one of the best ways to get more zinc to your system. I do like the taste of their homemade tabasco sauce, slightly milder yet more complex in texture.

Snow crab with Spanish mackerel and Japanese winter melon soup
snow crab with Spanish mackerel and Japanese winter melon soup

Then there’s snow crab with Spanish mackerel in Japanese winter melon soup, our first warm dish of the night. The dish reminds me of some high end Chinese soup dishes, but one with unmistakenly Japanese ingredients. Warm and comforting.

mini sushi with chopped tuna belly and sea urchin
mini sushi with chopped tuna belly and sea urchin

Then it was a mini sushi to get our palette going for more raw seafood. Chopped tuna belly with sea urchin, two of the more premium sushi ingredients that packs a punch in savory index, perfectly balanced with freshly grated wasabi, a few slices of seaweed, and expertly prepared sushi rice.

butter fish with eel in yam paste
butter fish with eel in yam paste

Butter fish with eel in yam paste was next. This is a dish that I think some may have trouble getting used to the texture, it was soft and slightly slimy in texture from the eel and yam, but does provide an interesting experience especially when feeling it in the mouth.

We then had an aperitif, simple yuzu with soda to get our taste buds afresh for the next course – sashimi.

Sashimi part 1, served with wasabi moose and hand grated wasabi - octopus, yellow tail, mackerel
Sashimi part 1, served with shoyu moose and hand grated wasabi
– octopus, yellow tail, mackerel

This was undoubtedly the highlight of the omakase course to me. The sashimi came in two parts, and served with shoyu moose (soya sauce in moose form) and freshly grated wasabi.

Part one was octopus, yellowtail, and mackerel. Merely saying they are “fresh” would be doing these dishes a disservice. The sashimi were paired with different combination of seaweed to compliment its natural tastes, and those shoyu moose provides an interesting, if not very convenient way of handling the amount of soya sauce you want in the sashimi. A new experience to me.

Sashimi part 2 - the fat stuff, Otoro and salmon belly
Sashimi part 2 – the fat stuff, Otoro and salmon belly

Part 2 of the sashi were the fatter stuff – otoro (tuna belly), and salmon belly. Both premium cuts were beautifully presented, and tastes even better than they look. The otoro with its special condiment was especially delicious, I can definitely do this again, and again, and again.

cod with miso stew
cod with miso stew

Then it was time for a table top hot pot experience that came in the form of cod with miso stew. Cod never disappoints, and with high quality miso, certainly makes for a bullet proof dish. I can have this with a bowl of rice and call it a meal and be perfectly content.

beef, braised tuna collar, or lamb as choices of main
beef, braised tuna collar, or lamb as choices of main

Main course came in the form of either braised tuna collar, sliced wagyu beef, or lamb cutlets. Each were pretty rich in taste but not entirely too different from each other in terms of theme. The braised tuna collar was a first for me, and turned out to be probably too heavy to be part of a ten course meal. I was stuffed by the end of this, in a good way.

Inaniwa udon and salmon sushi
Inaniwa udon and salmon sushi

Penultimate dishes were a simple salmon sushi, and inaniwa udon. I had thought I’d never finish the udon due to how stuffed I was, but somehow there were no trace of udon left a few minutes later. When the food is good, you tend to negotiate extra space in the stomach somehow.

jelly, mochi, and coffee ice cream
jelly, mochi, and coffee ice cream

Dessert came in the form of jelly, mochi, and coffee ice cream. They were beautifully presented, and while did not disappoint, I did not think that they stand out among the other dishes in the course. It was an adequate ending to the 10 course menu, an certainly an omakase experience that is worthy of the restaurant’s name.

Horng, Yuki, & Haze at SOU Omakase
Horng, Yuki, & Haze at SOU Omakase

I’m really intrigued to try their lunch menu and see how they stack up to the likes of TEN & Oribe at similar price point.

Address:
SOU Omakase
Lot G247, Ground Floor
The Gardens, Mid Valley City
Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.118658, 101.675286
Tel03-2202 1133
Hours11:30 am – 3 pm, 6 pm – 10 pm

Earlier this week we were invited to Hanaya Japanese Dining to sample their 2016 Mother’s Day Menu, which the restaurant is offering only from 6th to 8th May 2016 (RM 180+ per pax). My last visit to Hanaya was almost exactly a year ago, operated by Sushi Train (which also has Ten, Senya Solaris, Sushi Ichiro, Menya, and more under their umbrella), their quality of food has always impressed me, hence the repeated visit.

Hanaya Japanese Dining with 2016 Mother's Day Menu
Hanaya Japanese Dining with 2016 Mother’s Day Menu

The philosophy of the Mother’s Day Menu at Hanaya is one that put health in emphasis. The major ingredients chosen for the 6 course set each has properties that especially beneficial to the female body, which I find pretty interesting. These benefits are from a mixture of traditional believes and modern nutritional knowledge.

To me thought, I just know that they tastes good, which is my number one criteria 😀

Pumpkin Chawamushi
Pumpkin Chawamushi

Our Amuse was Pumpkin Chawamushi. Pumpkin having B Carotin supports beautiful skin and hair, while galvanized iron in egg enhanced the female hormone secretion. All I know is that it was complex and delicious.

sashimi on crushed ice
sashimi on crushed ice

Second of the six course was sashimi. Tuna with DHA to lower cholesterol, Travoli with EPA that helps in hardening of arteries, Astaxathin in salmon with anti aging care and recovery from exhaustion properties, plus golden cuttlefish that contains lysine, which helps in hair restoration.

The seafood was certainly fresh, while we had yellow tail in this tasting session instead of Travoli, I was still more than satisfied. The presentation for this sashimi dish was rather exquisite too.

grilled Canadian lobster and Hokkaido scallop
grilled Canadian lobster and Hokkaido scallop

Main course – grilled Canadian lobster and Hokkaido scallop garlic butter with dry tomato & herb sauce.
Lobster for cancer suppression, scallop with taurine that helps improvement of fatty liver, and dry tomato is rich in vitamin c. Two different seafood from each side of the Pacific ocean make up this wholesome dish that utilizes Western style preparation method, a perfect marriage.

hijiki seaweed rice and Asuka milk miso soup
hijiki seaweed rice and Asuka milk miso soup

4th and 5th course – shokuji, or hijiki seaweed rice, with dietary fiber for detox effect, & Asuka milk miso soup, with miso having isoflavon that helps suppress menopausal disorders.

The seaweed rice was subtle in taste, and I thought the Asuka milk miso soup tasted much richer but in a good way, especially for those who loves the milkier texture.

"dearest mother" dessert
“dearest mother” dessert

To end Hanaya Japanese Dining’s mother’s day 2016 menu – “dearest mother” dessert, with avocado ice cream (lowers blood pressure), rose hip (vitamin c & e – antioxidants), and misc cereals (minerals to fix menstrual irregularities).

I thought the six course menu was rather exquisite but not over the top, it is available only for 3 days (6-8/5/2016) so if you want to treat mom for a meal with thoughts behind the menu, this is certainly worth checking out.

map to Grand Millennium Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Address:
Hanaya
Grand Millenium Kuala Lumpur
160, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.148006, 101.712225
Tel: 03-2110 5499

Ikan Bakar is one of the type of local dish that has its name completely wrong. If you translate it to English, ikan = fish, bakar = burn (or grill if you stretch it). But instead of grilling on open fire, ikan bakar these days is more like frying on a flat pan with a sheet of banana leaf in between. Which is just the way we like it.

Kat Jat Ikan Bakar, Jalan Bellamy
Kak Jat Ikan Bakar, Jalan Bellamy 

A few months ago I wrote my first article on Jalan Bellamy’s ikan bakar stalls at Mak Alang, and while it was a pretty good experience, we only went there because the consensus best ikan bakar stall at the area – Kak Jat Ikan Bakar, was already packed to the brim. This time around, we made sure we’re early enough to get a table.

quite a good variety of other dishes as well as ikan bakar
quite a good variety of other dishes as well as ikan bakar

Like most ikan bakar places, Kak Jat also offers a variety of different other dishes ala nasi campur style. Grab a few of these, order some fish to go with, pick your sambal of choice, grab some rice, and you’re good to go.

the tilapia (on the right) was surprisingly awesome
the tilapia (on the right) was surprisingly awesome

As far as choice of fish goes, you get pari (stingray), kembung, terubok, tilapia, and more. I felt that the fish here was prepared with that extra umph to it, the skin seemed crispier with the marinate they have that is different from others.

I’m not a big tilapia fan, but if you’re at Kak Jat, do yourself a favor and order it, they are pretty special. The tilapia skin here is a chunk of coagulated spices & marinate in which we had no idea what they are made of, but so-so delicious! Give it a try!

asam pedas with stingray (bottom right) was one of my favorites
asam pedas with stingray (bottom right) was one of my favorites

On the side dishes, other than the usual ulam, I also really enjoyed the asam pedas (stingray with salted vegetable curry), I felt that their version here is almost as good as the one at Kampung Baru Man’s Cafe Asam Pedas.

And before I forget, the grilled squid here is definitely worth ordering as well.

makcik makcik agreed that this ikan bakar stall is the best
makcik makcik agreed that this ikan bakar stall is the best

Overall, we had a great lunch and a bucket of sweat, but it was worth it. If you’re heading to Jalan Bellamy for ikan bakar, this is the stall to check out.

map to ikan bakar at Jalan Bellamy

Address:
Kak Jat Ikan Bakar
Jalan Bellamy
Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.130557, 101.694670

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

It was my supreme ignorance that one of my favorite no frill Chinese restaurant chain now has a branch in KLCC – Kiki Taiwanese Cuisine, by the same people that brought us Fong Lye at Gardens.

Kiki Taiwanese Restaurant, 4th floor KLCC
Kiki Taiwanese Restaurant, 4th floor KLCC

Like the other 4th floor restaurants on Suria Mall, Kiki has a modern interior decoration with table arrangement centered towards packing as many people as possible without it being a fire hazard. That’s fine and dandy for quick afternoon lunches for the most part, but not exactly a place you’d want to bring your Valentine’s date for a quiet & private dating session over lunch.

3 cup chicken set (RM 23.80)
3 cup chicken set (RM 23.80)

Most dishes come in the form of set menus with rice/noodle, soup, vegetable, and some tidbits in addition to the main ingredient. They are generally priced at around RM 20+ to RM 30+ and served quickly, which is great for office lunch crowds.

mixed seafood & bitter gourd set (RM 35.80)
mixed seafood & bitter gourd set (RM 35.80)

The three dishes we had – 3 cup chicken set (RM 23.80), mixed seafood & bitter gourd set (RM 35.80), and steamed fish with pineapples & Taiwan marinated sweet bean (RM 23.80) were pretty much within expectations when it comes with taste, and definitely a little over the top in terms of portion. While you don’t get any premium ingredients (example: fish would be tilapia), the quality is more than justifiable for the price stated on the menu.

steamed fish with pineapples & Taiwan marinated sweet bean (RM 23.80)
steamed fish with pineapples & Taiwan marinated sweet bean (RM 23.80)

Overall, despite the crowd, Kiki delivers pretty much as well as their sister branches at Gardens and other locations. Would definitely not mind going again.

my lunch partners at Kiki Taiwanese Restaurant, KLCC
my lunch partners at Kiki Taiwanese Restaurant, KLCC

map of KLCC

Address:
Fourth Level, Suria KLCC
Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.158126, 101.711833
Tel03-2166 9699