I think it’s safe to say that Japanese food is one of my favorite cuisine when it comes to heading out to a proper restaurant. In fact, this is the 100th entry on Japanese cuisine on this space – and for this occasion we head to Bangsar and look at Hana Tei Japanese Restaurant.
Hana Tei, Lucky Garden Bangsar
If you’re from Kajang and Cheras area, you may have heard of Hana Tei before. This Bangsar branch is their latest venture into KL city.
Personally, I thought Lucky Garden (the same row with 3 famous kopitiam) is a pretty good location to be at. It is in Bangsar, and parking situation at the area is usually pretty good during dinner time, though lunch can be a bit challenging.
The menu for Hana Tei is actually quite extensive, covering the usual suspects such as sushi, sashimi, to teppanyaki, teriyaki, nabemoto, tempura, as well as rice and noodle dishes. Well, on our review session, we got to sample quite a few of these dishes.
shake sashimi (thick cut salmon)
We started the night with shake sashimi (RM 35), or thick cut salmon. You get 5 pieces of fresh raw salmon at I think at least 1 cm thick. It was glorious. I also do like the fact that they use proper grated wasabi to go with the salmon here. It was definitely a treat.
camembert cheese yaki, gindara foilyaki
Next up was something rather unique – Camembert Cheese Yaki (RM 15). Grilled Camembert cheese with baguette with a side of jam. I thought it was rather interesting and most likely will go very well with some sake.
Then there’s Gindara Foilyaki (RM 48), cod fish with mushroom wrapped in aluminium foil and cooked with a miso soup base. It’s not entirely unlike Chinese style steamed cod except with a Japanese touch & flavor. I thought it was executed quite well.
hana tei beef sushi
If you’re a sushi person, well, here’s some treats for you, starting with Hana Tei Beef Sushi (RM 25). Instead of raw fish like usual, you get Australian striploin with salmon roe and ebiko, all wrapping those sushi rice.
The combination works surprisingly well to be honest, I love the contrasting taste between the savory beef and the freshness and slightly salty nature of ikura.
foie gras sushi, hotate maki spicy sauce
Then there’s also the one of a kind Foie Gras sushi (RM 28). This is probably one of the cheaper ways to experience foie gras, and foie gras never disappoint. I can have 5 of these for breakfast if I get my way! I shouldn’t, but I want to!
If you’re a fan of scallop and spicy food, you can find that strange combination in Hotate Maki Spicy Sauce (RM 35). The roll comes with quite a big chunk of scallop in each of them and covered with this hot sauce that really gives the dish a kick. You definitely don’t need any wasabi for this.
I don’t often accept reviews to cafes since there are really a dime a dozen out there, and for the most part, I like my street food & higher end restaurants (especially when I get to eat for free), but when Sue msg and told me about the Korean-run Table 9 Cafe & Kitchen at Bangsar, I thought why not?
Table 9 Cafe & Kitchen, Bangsar Jalan Telawi 3
As mentioned, the restaurant is slightly different from your run off the mill mid-market cafe with a proper kitchen. Eve, our host and co-owner, is Korean, and her partner, who is in charged of coming up with the menu, is another Korean. So while the menu may not try to claim that they are any different (and they don’t actively advertise it), Table 9 is actually pretty unique in its offering.
Well, for one, they actually have bingsu in their menu, but more on that later.
proper latte is always a good thing to have at a cafe
Any cafe worth its salt should be able to serve up a good cup of coffee, and in this regard Table 9 did not disappoint. The latte was as good as any I’ve had, no complaints from yours truly.
Table 9 Breakfast, with French Toast
Our first dish was the Table 9 Breakfast (RM 25) with optional French Toast (additional RM 1), and I think the French toast option is a must, they were so fluffy and just so.. good! The scrambled egg was top notch too. Other ingredients did not disappoint either, though I thought the sausage was rather average.
rosemary chicken Caesar salad, carbonara di cipolla in bread bowl
If you’re a salad sort of person, the Rosemary Chicken Caesar Salad (RM 24) is an option. It has romaine lettuce, cherry tomato, properly grilled chicken breast, cheese, but also a Caesar salad sauce that’s unlike any I’ve had, it’s rich and spicy, yes, it is spicy in a .. Korean sort of way. I do find it interesting and kinda like it.
We also try the Carbonara di Cipolla (RM 25) with optional bread bowl (RM 4.50), if you like cream pasta, you’d not be disappointed. Eve told us that in Korea, bread bowl with pasta is quite a common option anywhere. I think this can easily feed two pax who do not have huge appetite.
Caprese pasta with mozzarella, baked zucchini
Caprese (RM 29) is my favorite dish of the day, it’s a quite a simple tomato base pasta with mozzarella and truffle oil, and I thought the truffle oil adds quite a bit to the dish, and those big chunks of mozzarella , yums!
If light breakfast is your thing, baked zucchini (RM 19) with cheese and tuna may fit the bill. Perfect for those looking for low carb options, perhaps.
gorgonzola & maple panini, pizza jalapeno
Gorgonzola & Maple Panini (RM 22) is one of Eve’s favorite dishes in this restaurant, and it’s not hard to see why. The sandwich is savory and sweet in the right combination. With the side of fries, this makes for a full meal.
And as if we’re not totally stuffed by then, Pizza Jalapeno (RM 22) was served. This was a spicy pizza, thin, and they sure didn’t skim on the cheese, again it did not disappoint.
They have 8 different bingsu, or Korean shaved ice dessert here, with the weirdest of all being the tomato bingsu (RM 15), so naturally that’s what we ordered. The ice certainly milky and fully, and the tomato puree poured on top did make it that much more interesting. A little weird at first spoonful perhaps but you do get the hang of it, I liked it very much.
KY, Haze, & Eve the Korean co-owner
Overall I thought it was a very good brunch session at Table 9, with most of the dishes belong to the category of “I’d definitely won’t regret ordering”. We now know where to go for a good meal with a sweet bingsu ending.
The weekends before heading up to Mt. Kinabalu (will post that entry soon), we had the good fortune of having a proper French dinner at Rendez-Vous.
Rendez-Vous Traditional French Restaurant at Bangsar
Situated at Lorong Maroof, the tagline for Rendez-Vous is “Your traditional French restaurant in Bangsar”. The restaurant does not pretend to be a fine dining establishment, but at the same time they do run it the “proper” way, utilizing imported ingredients in Chef Benjamin’s creation of succulent, seasonal dishes, maintain a comprehensive wine list, and having well trained staffs.
like all good meal, we started off with a simple amuse bouche
Impressively, they manage to do this at a price point that is accessible to most, with the three-course menu starts at RM 69 (four-course RM 115, five-course RM 159). Main dishes are priced from RM 36 (stuffed chicken) to RM 89 (ribeye), again, rather reasonable.
cocktails, and “Meli-melo de rillettes de poisons”
Our first starter for the night was “Meli-melo de rillettes de poisons” (RM 23), or duo of seabass and tuna mousse served with baguette and crostini bread. I’ve had tuna mousse before, but seabass was my first, and I must say the lighter and more refine taste works out pretty well in this.
We also had a couple cocktails to get the mood flowing. If you have specific preference, do tell the in-house mixologist as he’ll be more than happy to customize a cocktail to your taste.
“Escargots a la Bourguigonne”, Narrow Valley Souvignon Blanc
Second starter was the snails with parsley and garlic butter sauce in vol au vent, or “Escargots a la Bourguigonne” (RM 28). This doesn’t come with any shells (they’re recycled shells at any restaurants anyway) and the garlic butter sauce gives the snail meat a really smooth and buttery texture which was really complete with the Souvignon Blanc pairing with its contrasting mild acidic taste.
“Foie Gras de Canard”, Porto Cruz Tawny
Then there was “Foie Gras de Canard” (RM 48), or duck foie gras de terrine, port wine and spices, mushrooms flavours. We had this with Porto Cruz tawny, a sweeter drink that complements the really rich starter pretty well. I though the bits of smoked duck breasts adds to the complexity of the dish and break the monotony of those blended liver.
“Fillet de daurade en croute”, Colombelle Coeur de Gascogne wine
We shared a couple different main dishes between the two of us, starting with “Fillet de daurade en croute” (RM 58) or seabass filet, creamy carrot puree and avruga caviar, citrus vinaigrette. The fish was cooked just right those caviar really does add a dash of luxury to the dish. I did enjoy having the citrus with the fish more than I thought I would, quite a bit of revelation really.
We had another glass of wine to pair with our main dishes, but I’d be lying if I tell you I know anything about.
“Poulet façon cocotte” – stuffed chicken w French mash potato & creamy mushroom
The 2nd main dish was their cheapest on the menu – “Poulet façon cocotte” (RM 36), or stuffed chicken, French mash potato and creamy mushroom. I was rather curious on how they manage to prepare the chicken into a big ice hockey puck shape, but it was easy to eat. The poultry was quite moist and succulent. It is a modest dish but one that is more than decent if you’re not into fancier dishes.
Other main dishes available here includes pork belly, pork blood sausage, braised beef chunks, pan seared lamb, and a few other fish dishes.
Fromages – Seasonal selection of French cheeses, Bonpas Côtes du Rhône
We bridged the main dishes and desserts with a selection of cheese (RM 29 small, RM 46 big platter) to go with Bonpas Côtes du Rhône. If you’re a cheese lover, you’d definitely enjoy this, the brie was really soft and rather strong, but my favorite was the blue cheese, positively pungent and really really strong. It’s a bit like durian, you either love it or you despise it.
“Delice au chocolat et caramel”, “Tarte au citron meringue”, Le Contesse Prosecco di Treviso Extra Dry
By the time we reached desserts, I’ve already had way too much alcohol & food in me, but we were still presented with two plates of beautifully crafted dishes it was tough to resist.
“Delice au chocolat et caramel” (RM 22) was as expected, rich, smooth, and not overly sweet, while the “Tarte au citron meringue” (RM 17), or lemon tart with hard and soft meringue was perfect if you don’t want something overly heavy to end the night. The tart was quite light and fluffy.
Haze & KY at Rendez-Vous, Bangsar
If you haven’t had proper French cuisine due to price or you’re not one of those who likes to dress up for a fancy fine dining meal that lasts 3 hours, Rendez-Vous is a place you need to check out.
If you type Omakase in google, this is what you get:
(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
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
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
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
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
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 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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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 GPS: 3.118658, 101.675286 Tel: 03-2202 1133 Hours: 11:30 am – 3 pm, 6 pm – 10 pm
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).
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
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
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 GPS: 3.118675, 101.676085 Tel: 03-5501 7368