Izakaya, or Japanese gastro pub, is a relatively new type of Japanese restaurant in Malaysia. It is basically a pub with a proper bar and a full kitchen. You want to have a few beer or sake? Sure. You want a full meal? They’ve got that covered too.
Robataya Izakaya at Publika
Robataya Izakaya is a relatively new comer of such restaurant in KL. Located in Publika, they have a pretty extensive menu offering raw fish, ramen, rice dish, tempura, salad, grilled items, and more.
A week ago, we headed there on an invitation to try out what they’ve got to offer.
Okan Sashimi, they have air flown seafood too
We started with Okan Sashimi (RM 70), a sashimi platter with 5 different types of fresh seafood carefully arranged on ice. During our session, we had salmon, salmon belly, sweet shrimp, tuna, and I believe, butterfish.
While it may not be the super premium quality sashimi, (that’ll be their air flown, LIVE seafood as displayed by Haze) the portions were generous and it was actually quite a treat for the price.
Una Chizu Roll, Robataya Teppan Roll
For those wholikes rolls, The Robataya Teppan Roll (RM 28) is one you should try. There’s salmon inside, mayo, and grilled bacon on top! The taste was rather unique, and of course, anything is better with bacon.
Una Chizu Roll (RM 25) is a slightly more creative interpretation of your usual unagi roll, as they’ve decided to add cheese to the mix. I think the result was pretty good to be honest.
Salmon Oyako Sarada
Salmon Oyaka Sarada (RM 26) turned out to be one of our favorite dishes of the night. Laden with plenty of crispy salmon skin, the salad also have quite a generous portion of raw salmon in all those mustard leaves & cherry tomato in the rather awesome sesame dressing. I’d have this for lunch anytime.
various kushiyaki (skewers) & gyoza
You can’t have a proper review of an izakaya without having some skewers. We tried teba (chicken wings, RM 6), buta (pork belly RM 6), uzura bacon (quail egg bacon, RM 6), banana bacon (RM 6), tomato gyumaki (tomato wrapped with beef, RM 7), tsukune (chicken meatball, RM 5), momo tama (chicken thigh wrapped with egg, RM 6), and negima (chicken with leeks, RM 5).
While these are some pretty good skewers, the one that stood out the most was the momo tama, the egg was prepared to a rather soft consistency and for some reason worked really, really well with the chicken thigh. We gobbled that up pretty fast.
San Ten Zeppin – pork belly, bacon, Australian beef
If you enjoy BBQ, there’s only one way to improve the experience – by having it indoor, with air conditioning. The San Ten Zeppin sumiyaki (RM 55) gave us just that. There’re pork belly, bacon, and Australian beef. The meat are pretty thinly sliced so they cook rather quick, if you mess it up, it’s your own fault.
As if those weren’t enough food for 4 skinny Asians, we also tried their Teppan Ika Geso (cuttle fish, RM 15), Spare Pork Ribs Teriyaki (RM 33), and Akaebi Olive (RM 42).
The cuttlefish should make for a very good side dish for beer, and while I thought the ribs were a bit dry, I did enjoy the olive shrimp quite a fair bit, the olive gave it a bit of sweetness that complements the spicy deep fried shrimp quite well.
Haze, Calvin, Haze, Sim
Overall, we did enjoy our dinner at Robataya. There are actually 2 other izakaya at Publika, and it’ll be tough to try to put a ranking on the list as they each have their strength and offers quite a different set of menu. You can’t realy go wrong if you pick Robataya for a meal, or some sake.
Ever since Haze started her gallery shop GoJyu5at Publika (you should check it out), we’ve been sampling the restaurants there quite a bit, and since the Entertainment App has buy 1 free 1 deal for ANTE, we decided it was time to check it out a couple weeks ago.
ANTE, Publika Solaris Dutamas
ANTE is located on the ground floor (G1) of the Publika, one of the easiest location to find if you’re not familiar with the ever so confusing layout of Publika (as it’s built on a slope). If you’re going on busy weekends, it’ll be wise to make a reservation as the place can get really busy in a jiffy.
The interior is modern, comfortable, and has a dark-ish ambiance that’s probably very suitable for those who wants to bring your date for a nice dinner.
The claim of fame here are the pork steak, so that’s what we set out to try.
pork striploin black pepper sauce
One bite into those pork steaks, be it the ribeye (RM 52) I ordered or the striploin with black pepper sauce (RM 38) that Haze had, it became evident why the place was so packed. They were absolutely delicious.
They’ve managed to grill pork steak properly – juicy, well marinated, and done at what I can only describe as a perfect medium rare that is cook well enough to be safe for consumer and yet managed to not have it dry and stale. If you’ve tried cooking white meat on grill before, you know this really requires proper skills.
Then there’s the sauce, my ribeye came with truffle butter sauce that worked supremely well with the meat, and just perfect with a small cut of those charred pork fat in every bite. The caramelized onion and black pepper sauce was on point for the striploin too.
whole smoked duck breast as appetizer
Oh, by the way we also had a smoked duck breast (RM 25) as starter. It was basically a huge chunk of whole breast properly grilled and served with balsamic vinegar, simple yet delicious. I think you can have this and perhaps a dessert to make up an entire meal.
Well, looks like I’m going to revisit this place again soon. I’m already thinking of those pork!
By the way, if you
Furthermore, if you purchase it Entertainer App with Promo Code KYSPEAKS2017, you pay only RM 65 off instead of paying the full price of RM 145 (usual price)
Kame Sushi is one of the first Japanese restaurants in KL to offer omakase style dining. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, omakasesimply means “a meal consisting of dishes selected by the chef”, so basically you tell the chef what you don’t eat, or allergic to, and the restaurant decides the rest.
Kame Sushi, Sri Hartamas
So in essence, you never really know what you’re going to get. In a good omakase restaurant, the chef usually decides on the menu based on what’s in season, and what he or she deemed the best they can offer based on the price, availability, and the skill set of those in the kitchen.
We first go to know about Kame from Cheesie, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that Haze and I decide to head there for her birthday dinner.
fresh imported sashimi
Since we had the meal was some half a year ago, name and exact ingredients in the dishes have became a bit fuzzy. In this post I could only describe what I remember from looking at these pictures, but better late than never, right?
Our course was priced at RM 350 per person, it was the 2nd most expensive from the menu at the time.
The dinner consists of mainly top grade seafood selections, starting with some of the best sashimi cuts. The oyster was fresh, sweet, and alluring. There were also tuna otoro (fatty tuna), yellow tail, snow crab, amaebi (sweet shrimp), hotate (scallop), and uni (sea urchin).
Then came the grilled items with more seafood and mushroom wrapped with wagyu beef, simple yet exquisite.
warm dish, light battered fried fish
Stewed dish and a lightly battered deep fried fish dish came next, and frankly the exact name of the seafood content escaped my mind. They were done just right and quite delightful even if not entirely special.
tuna belly , uni, ikura on sushi rice
Our main dish came in the form of minced tuna belly, ikura (salmon roe), uni (sea urchin), and hand grated wasabi on sushi rice. As a chirashi sushi lover, this was rather delightful. This rice dish was very rich and did its job as a highlight to the evening.
natto beans, Japanese pear
Dessert came in a couple slices of Japanese pear. They were as good as any Japanese fruits – soft, sweet, and fresh.
Ultimately though, at RM 350++, this omakase dinner was good, but in today’s level of competition with the likes of Oribe, SOU Omakase, and Sushi Azabu, you may find similar or even better value hunting around.
A couple years ago when the topic of coffee came up, I believe it was probably David, an avid coffee drinker of mine who mentioned the name Podgy and the Banker as one of his favorite places for a good cuppa, and thanks to that rather unique name for a cafe, it stuck to me.
Fast forward to last week, we decided to give it a try. If a cafe manage to stay in business more than a couple years, it is usually at least more than decent.
podgy and the banker, sri hartamas
Podgy and the Banker is located at Sri Hartamas, the opposite side across from the much busier Desa Sri Hartamas. As a result, parking never takes more than 10 seconds to locate, and therefore the morning is never ruined from having to go round & round for 10 minutes prior to getting a spot (I’m looking at you, Jalan Telawi, Bangsar)
The cafe itself can be a bit tricky to locate though, from the front it looks almost like an office (or bank?), but if you were to look from the side you won’t miss it.
Haze & I both really enjoyed the latte here
First up, the coffee.
We both had latte and agreed that they were absolutely on point. Strong aroma, and really smooth steamed milk, no super fancy presentation or anything as such but such a really well prepared cup of coffee. Really one of the better latte I’ve tried.
poached egg with beef bacon
My choice of brunch was poached egg with bacon (RM 16). Presentation was quite minimalist but the two eggs were perfectly poached, only proper bacon would elevate this dish but the beef version did its job just fine here.
scrambled eggs with salmon, lemon meringue cake
The wife went for scrambled eggs with smoked salmon (RM 15), another simple yet properly prepared dish that received no complain from her. We complete the brunch by sharing a lemon meringue cake (RM 14) together, which turned out to be quite a lovely dessert.
I foresee us going back there again one of these days.
I’ve always had problems with parking and navigating within Publika. The place has the most confusing lettering/numbering system for floors. There are numerous different “ground levels”, and some parking lots aren’t connected to each other the way a logically sound person may expect.
That being said, the place is also packed with huge amount of restaurants offering various different dining concepts, and often in relatively affordable price range due to the immense competition. Today, we’re going to look at Tsubohachi Hokkaido Izakaya. One of the Japanese restaurants that is undoubtedly among one of my favorites in the area.
Tsubohachi Hokkaido Izakaya, Publika
Izakaya is basically an informal Japanese gastropub, a place caters for after-work drinking and dining session not entirely unlike many of the Western pubs/bars, but one that obviously serves Japanese cuisine.
Tsubohachi is a renowned chain with over 300 outlets in Japan since its inception 40 years ago at Hokkaido, and currently is one of the two izakaya outlets in Publika, the other being Senya Izakaya owned by the Sushi Train group.
Our first time visiting Tsubohachi Hokkaido Izakaya was with Cheesie sampling their normal menu, but this time around we were invited to try their special Zuwaigani (snow crab) menu. How could I say no?
zuwaigani nabe (snow crab hotpot)
The snow crab menu is available till late July, but do call up to make sure its availability. Then again, the usual menu is quite extensive and certainly worthy of a visit or three.
Our session started with zuwagani nabe, or snow crab hot pot (RM 79.90). Basically half a raw snow crab (male, female would have too little meat) with fresh vegetable, tofu, and mushroom in a hot pot. Certainly a luxury comfort dish that is perfect especially on a rainy day, or any day for that matter.
The crab made the soup oh so sweet, it was as good as I had hoped.
aburi zuwaigani, kani chawanmushi
For those who likes it grilled, aburi zuwaigani (RM 58) should satisfy your cravings. A no-nonsense and unadultered way of enjoying snow crab with maybe just a little squeeze of lemon. Snow crab has a much softer shell than our Malaysian mud crabs, so getting a “perfect” peel is an easier job.
Kani chawanmushi (RM 12.90) too is worth trying if you just want to lux up the ordinary Japanese steamed egg with some snow crab meat.
zuwaigani sarada, aburi zuwaigani hakozushi
Want more greens? Try zuwaigani sarada, or snow crab salad (RM 22.90), though all those mayonnaise may discount the perceived healthiness of this salad dish, but those savory taste combined with sweetness of snow crab makes it worth the extra calories.
Aburi zuwaigani hakozushi (RM 35.00) is another dish we tried that incorporate liberal use of those savory Japanese mayo. The pressed sushi was certainly delicious, though I always find mayo & wasabi sort of clashes a bit with each other.
Rice or porridge? Take your pick in ankake kani chahan (RM 22.90), or kani zosui (RM 29.90). Neither should disappoint as they were both expertly prepared and show cases the sweetness of snow crab through the simplicity of the dishes. I can have either of these for lunch and be a happy man.
If you like things in small packages, try the zuwaigani masu-zushi (RM 21.90). A tiny box of sushi rice with generous amount of snow crab meat on top. Just enough to taste, but unless you have had stomach stapling surgery, this can’t be your only dish for the night.
a selection of yakitori, chicken, pork, mushroom
All the trying pretty much all the snow crab dishes sans tempura & sushi, we got greedy and decided to sample some of their signature yakitori dishes.
We tried chicken skin, bishop’s nose, chicken soft bone, chicken neck, pork belly, and mushroom. They came in both salted or in teriyaki, and I wished I had enough stomach space left to order a beer to go with these. Yakitori dishes are priced mostly at RM 7.80 to 9.80 for two sticks, pretty decent deal if you asked me.
Johnny, KY, Kelvin, Haze, macha de roru
Our final dish of the night was macha de roru as dessert, a sweet ending to a satisfying review session. I certainly don’t mind coming back here again, good food, great value, and without fuss, there should be more izakaya around town!