Category / Bukit Bintang
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
Japanese restaurants are a dime a dozen in KL. Arguably one of the most mature foreign cuisine of all, you can find them in all price range and specializing in every sub-category. Today we’re going to look into Takumi Japanese fine dining, a pretty high end Japanese restaurant that emphasizes shabu-shabu and sukiyaki, among other dishes.
Update 16/4/2015 – This space is now replaced with Hanaya Japanese Restaurant
Takumi Japanese Fine Dining at Grand Millennium Hotel
Takumi is one of the restaurants located within Grand Millennium Hotel, which itself is directly next to Pavilion and opposite Fahrenheit 88. The interior is classy, and for lunch, you can find some pretty decent deals too (I’ve been a few times for Chirashi sushi etc).
Our food review session was arranged by HungryGoWhere Malaysia (where I am a contributor), so thank you Shing for inviting, and Ahfa for being my sit-in plan B partner of the day.
edamame and Kani Salad
We started the day with some greens in the form of edamame and Kani Salad (RM 18/28). The salad was refreshing, and I enjoyed the sesame dressing that’s been spiked up a little bit with wasabi.
The chef at Takumi likes to combine the traditional Osaka cuisine with a hint of boldness famous in restaurants at Tokyo, as we were told.
Sashimi platter (RM 180) was a work of art, with 18 pieces of fresh seafood served on a bed of ice with shiso leaves and even a bit of dried ice for mood. There were sawara (Spanish mackerel), maguro (tuna), kanpachi (amberjack), hotate (scallop), sake (salmon), and I believe, ohyuu (halibut).
Spanish Mackerel, grated Wasabi
The fish were fresh, delightful, and goes very well with grated wasabi. As always, remember that almost everything on a sashimi platter is designed to be consumed. For example, you can have mackerel with shiso leaf and a bit of daikon.
The shiso leaf is there to refresh your palate or to counter the “fishy” smell, getting your tongue ready for the next piece. Don’t waste them!
Next up was lobster mentaiyaki (RM 78 half), two of my favorite ingredients in the same dish – lobster and mentaiko.
The combination was perfect, the savouriness of mentaiko blends well with lobster meat, and if you’re one who can momentarily suspend the notion that cholesterol is bad for you, the lobster head is something you’ll absolutely enjoy.
Kawahagi, Chicken Curry Cutlet Maki
We also had steamed Kawahagi (seasonal pricing) or commonly known as threadsail filefish. It was prepared not unlike a Chinese dish, with mushroom, some leek, and a hint of soya sauce. To be honest, I find the taste a bit bland and texture to be average. This isn’t up to par with the likes of steamed pomphret in my opinion.
I view Chicken curry cutlet maki (RM 30) as an interesting experiment, combining ingredients that otherwise would not appear together. The result is a bit of a mix, those who are allergic to soft shell crab can use this as a substitute, but the rest of us should probably avoid.
I do applaud the chef for being brave in experimenting with new recipes such as this, without such moves culinary art would never advance. So don’t take this as a negative criticism.
A5 Wagyu Sirloin and Angus Beef Shabu Shabu
Then came the star of the night – A5 Wagyu Sirloin and Angus Beef shabu shabu.
Wagyu comes in many grades, with the alphabet denoting yield (A, B, C), and a number (1-5) indicating marbling score. Hence A5 is among the highest quality you can get, with fat contents equivalent to 8-12 BMS (Beef Marbling Standard).
The pricing at Takumi is as follow:
- Shabu – shabu (Angus beef) : RM88.00
- A5 Wagyu Roso : RM158.00
- A3 Wagyu Sirloin : RM180.00
- A5 Wagyu Sirloin : RM280.00
- Matsuza Beef : RM490.00
Certainly not cheap, but of decent value, and the quality is certainly there.
just dip it for a few seconds, melt in your mouth
For the wagyu, a dip in the boiling soup for just a few seconds is more than enough. We were supplied with a sort of ponzu mix but I love having the beef as is, the mixture of fat and beef melt in your mouth (pardon for the lack of a better description). It was so good!
The Angus beef was there just so we can make a comparison on the difference between a super high grade beef and a decent beef. To be fair, they were more than decent and would be of top quality beef on any menu without wagyu.
Ahfa, KY, Shing, Weizhi
We ended the night with some complimentary fruits, and coincidentally it was Weizhi’s (of KampungBoyCityGal) birthday too, so we had some cupcakes and sang a birthday song. It was a great night with awesome company. I can certainly do more of this.
Grand Millenium Kuala Lumpur
160, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.148006, 101.712225
A week or so ago, I was lucky enough to get invited to one of the more exclusive dinner previews in town – to sample the All Kansai Festival dinner at Kampachi Pavilion KL.
The festival runs from 15th – 23rd of February 2014, including traditional street performances, takoyaki workshop, stage performances, and of course, Kaiseki dinner, which happens on 19, 20, & 21 February 2014 (priced at RM 300+)
All Kansai Festival, only at Kampachi, Pavilion KL
The festival is exclusive only to Kampachi at Pavilion. For the tasting session, we had a subset of the menu. Instead of the full 9 course dinner, we sampled 6 dishes, mainly due to the fact that certain ingredients for other dishes will not arrive until the slated days to ensure freshness.
Anyway, lets get started.
Fresh Oyster with Ponzu Vinegar Gelée, Clear Soup with Clam
Our first course was Kaki no Ponzu Jure (Fresh Oyster with Ponzu Vinegar Gelée). Served on a bed of ice, the oyster was huge and succulent, with the ponzu gelée giving it that extra sophistication. This version is the best way I’ve had oyster yet, beats the usual lemon or worse, tabasco sauce by a mile.
Next up was Hamaguri, Uguisuna, Harinegi, Kinome (Clear Soup with Clam, Japanese Mustard Spinach, Julienned Leek & Young Japanese Pepper Buds). This was not your ordinary miso soup, it was subtle and very refreshing. The huge clam certainly provided an unmistakable seafood sweetness to the clear soup.
Slices of Raw Fish – Tuna, Ark Shell & Yellowtail
No Kaiseki menu is complete without sashimi. We had Maguro, Akagai, Hamachi (Slices of Raw Fish – Tuna, Ark Shell & Yellowtail). The premium raw seafood was served on a bed of ice with grated wasabi. My favorite out of the three was the ark shell, fresh, crunchy, with a blend of sweetness and savoury taste. Excellent.
Grilled Yellowtail with Teriyaki Sauce
Tennen Hamachi Teriyaki Manganji Togarashi Syoyuzuke (Grilled Yellowtail with Teriyaki Sauce garnished with Marinated Manganji Green Pepper) came next. While it was a more than decent dish on its own, I believe that with wild Amberjack (as intended during the festival) would elevate this dish to a new height as the texture of Amberjack would be superior to Yellowtail when grilled.
Boxed Sushi with Seabream, Prawn, & Conger Eel
Sushi came next, in the form of Sanshoku Oshizushi (Box Sushi with Sea Bream, Prawn & Conger Ee). To be honest, this was the first time I had pressed sushi, the texture is a quite a bit different from the usual nigri sushi (hand made rice ball with raw seafood on top), maki (rolled sushi), or temaki (hand roll). The rice in boxed sushi is a bit denser, providing a different experience.
Yuzu Mousse, Kampachi Signature Peanut Mochi
Our dessert was Yuzu Mousse (Japanese Citrus Mousse), refreshing and perfect for a sweet ending.
We couldn’t help ourselves and asked for Kampachi’s Signature Peanut Mochi as well. The mochi is served warm and covered with mountain of crushed peanut and sugar, similar with the traditional mochi found in Penang’s hawker scene, except more refined. I find myself enjoying this very much.
The seats for Kansai Festival dinner menu is fast selling out (I believe 21st Feb already sold out), so book yourself an awesome dinner if you’re a fan of Japanese food. Check their website for full menu and other information.
we had a great time sampling the Kansai Festival Menu
Level 6, Pavilion
Jln Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.148872, 101.713368
Tel: 03-2148 9608
Hours: 10 am to 10 pm
While still in the year of Snake, I got an invite to sample Chef Malcolm Goh’s dishes at Samplings on the Fourteenth at Berjaya Times Square.
For those who aren’t familiar with Chef Malcolm Goh, he is one of the chefs on AFC’s Great Dinners of the World (together with Johnny Fua and Sherson Lian of Elegantology). Pairing with popular Malaysian radio DJ and host, Tham Zher Peen, Chef Malcolm is now back on AFC’s Back to the Streets 2.
Chef Malcom Goh & host Tham Zher Peen (lower left) for AFC’s Back to the Streets
The show features chef Malcolm and Zher tracking down and replicate Malaysia’s outstanding street food at the BERJAYA University College of Hospitality kitchen, which was also where we had this dinner.
For more information of the show, check out asianfoodchannel.com/show/back-to-the-streets-2
roasted portobello with smoked garlic vinaigrette
We started the night with roasted portobello pave with garlic vinaigrette, mushroom tortellini with tomato fondue and herb salad. The portobello fashioned into a cube and was one of my favorite items from the whole night, nicely balanced by the freshness of salad and the more subdued taste of tortellini. Very nice.
salmon mi-cuit with pickled beets, cauliflower mousseline
Second course was salmon mi-cuit with pickled beets, cauliflower mousseline, potato chips and spiced butter sauce.
Mi cuit roughly means half cooked in French, which is a fine preparation method for salmon with its delicate texture that tends to become tough and harsh when overcooked. The accompanying pickle and potato chips compliment the fish well.
sous vide chicken with crispy skin, creamy leak stew
Third course was sous vide chicken with crispy skin, creamy leak stew, golden potatoes and red pepper emulsion.
Sous vide is a method of cooking where meat is sealed in a vacuum packed plastic bag, then dipped in a a water bath with accurately regulated temperature. By cooking chicken this way (which I didn’t realise then), chicken breasts remain moist while fully cooked to the internal temperature of 165ºF.
I love the leak stew, and absolutely enjoyed the crispy skin (needed more of that), and while I never liked chicken breast, this method made it pretty decent, but did not change my stance on chicken breast.
with Ahfa, Mei, Josen, Chengyi, Frank, and Kelly
We ended the night with coconut ice cream and blackcurrant sphere. The blackcurrant spheres were a jolt to my senses, absolutely delightful! I did like the coconut ice cream too, but left to wonder how it’d be if we had stuck to having gula melaka sphere instead.
It was a good dinner and more than validated the ability of Chef Malcolm Goh. Check out the show!
Samplings on the 14th,
Berjaya Times Square Hotel ,
14th Floor Berjaya Times Square,
55100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.14271, 101.71061
Tel: 03-2117 8000 ext 8131
Fax: 03-2117 8155
Located at Wolo Hotel in Bukit Bintang (just right across from Lot 10), Tous les Jours is the new kid in town with fancy dress and high society aura.
The location is great, and facade of this born in Korea French-Asian bakery rejuvenates this side of Bukit Bintang, upgrading it to be of equal to the Starhill/Pavilion area.
Tous les Jours, bukit bintang
Since it looked so beautiful from the outside, we just had to make a trip during lunch on a work week to see what this place is about.
The interior consists of area, an expansive ground floor offering coffee, cakes, and assortment of bread and pastry, with about half of the area spanning over two floors in terms of ceiling height.
bread, coffee, cakes, sandwiches, soup & salad
Upstairs, there are more seating areas and another bar in which you can order sandwiches, all-day breakfast, tartine, as well as soup and salad.
The product selection is immense, with the smell of freshly baked bread and coffee in the air, the ambiance is perfect.
lunch for three, covering most of the product type at Tous les Jours
We had Korean wheat and sweet potato cream bread, blueberry pastry, a cup of caramel latte, some cakes, macaroons, as well as a breakfast set and caramel latte.
Over all the quality of pastry and bread were very satisfying, and perfect for any carboholics. I was a bit impartial to the way the presentation of caramel latte, but the coffee did not disappoint.
Sheng, Joyce, and KY
Expect to spend about RM 20+ per person for enough food to fill the stomach, and for the quality and concept, I’d say this place is definitely worth visiting.
Tous les Jours
60000, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.14716, 101.71140
Tel: 03-2201 3526