Category / Damansara/Uptown
Tonkatsu remains to be one of the latest Japanese foods to be introduced in Malaysia. For those who aren’t familiar with this Japanese dish, it is basically a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet served with shredded cabbage. In fact, this dish is originated in Japan in the 19th century, so even in Japan it isn’t a particularly old dish.
Tonkatsu at Ma Maison, at One Utama shopping mall
My first time trying tonkatsu was at the version by Wa Kitchen at Pavilion, then probably the first and only tonkatsu restaurant in Malaysia in 2011.
Fast forward a few years later, we have another worthy contender in the tonkatsu landscape – Tonkatsu by Ma Maison. We tried to 1 Utama branch (they just opened another branch at Publika) after hearing good things about this place.
so this is how you use those condiments
The set up is slightly different from their counterpart at Pavilion, with clear instructions on how to enjoy the dish printed on a little instruction panel on every table. There’s a choice of salt, sweet, and spicy sauce on the side, and of course there’s a sesame grinder and peanut sauce for cabbage as well. You’re also encouraged to consume the accompanying rice with pickle.
Wafu Negioroshi Rosu Katsu and Hire Katsu
The menu at Ma Maison is rather extensive (check their menu online). There’s the traditional hire (pork filet) and rōsu (pork loin) sets with a few variations, plus deep fried oyster, crab croquette, jumbo prawn, chicken, and so forth.
I tend to stick with the pork, and in particular, pork loin, only because of the layer luxurious pork fat accompanying the meat.
salad, deep fried pork, miso soup, perfect
Every set comes with pretty good quality miso soup, pickle, and refillable cabbage that goes very well with their version of peanut sauce.
As for the pork, they are glorious. It is lightly salted with very crispy yet light breading and always piping hot when served. Dipping the meat in either the sweet sweet, spicy sauce, or mustard and any pork lover will be in ecstasy. The experience is like the first time you have KFC as a kid.
KY & Haze, after a satisfying dinner
So if you find yourself at 1 Utama, this is definitely a place worth checking out. Average meal would be around RM 30+ per person including drinks.
Tonkatsu by Ma Maison @ Eat Paradise
Level 2, Isetan, 1 Utama Shopping Centre,
1, Lebuh Bandar Utama,
Petaling Jaya, 47800 Selangor
GPS: 3.149080, 101.615896
Tel: 03-7727 3337
Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 11.00am – 9.30pm; Friday to Saturday, 11.00am – 10.00pm
A few weeks ago we were invited to sample some drinks and food at The Roof & Stratosphere in One Avenue.
I must say that I’m perhaps one of the very few people who didn’t realise that there’s such a happening place at around One Utama area. My memory of “happening” and “One Utama” was still stuck in 1997 where there were clubs blasting “Lemon Tree”. When you’re drunk and can’t remember where you park your car in the maze that is One Utama car park, you would have quite a situation. Anyway, I digressed.
The Roof at One Avenue’s top floor
The Roof is located at the top floor of One Avenue, which is located next to One Utama. With an underground car park and a pretty high speed elevator system that gets you on top rather quickly, it is rather convenient.
There are a few hang-out places at The Roof, and the one we checked out was Signature by The Hill, a restaurant with a full bar and pretty interesting menu.
Hawaii 5-0, The Fish Bowl with Deep, and Milo Ais with Haze
The cocktail menu at Signature is contemporary and playful. I tried Hawaii 5-0 (RM 40) that’s laden with Smirnoff vodka, Frangelico, organic raspberry jam all housed within a hallowed out pineapple. It was very sweet, refreshing, and easy to drink. I really liked it.
Haze tried the Milo Ais (RM 28), our local favorite breakfast chocolate drink but infused with rum, baileys, and kahlua. Rich and silky.
The other cocktails we tried at Signature were really impressive as well, perfect compliment to the food we were ordering next.
Pan Seared Foie Gras, Black Angus Carpaccio, Caesar Salad, Chicken Fingers
The food menu isn’t particularly extensive, but covered all the bases.
With about 10 items to choose from, we picked pan seared foie gras (RM 48), black angus carpaccio (RM 32), caesar salad (RM 22), and chicken fingers as starters.
I liked that the foie gras was served with caramelised fig, and the carpaccio too was sliced to perfection. Chicken fingers made for perfect beer companion as well. Would love to their their salmon & maguro (tuna) tartar (RM 25) and escargot (RM 28) next time.
Wagyu ribeye, black cod, king prawns
For mains, I picked Wagyu Ribeye (RM 138) with a pretty simple presentation of baked sweet potato and sautéed seasoned vegetable. The beef has a marbling no. 7 rating. The only complain I have with this dish is that it came in a hot plate, and thin cuts don’t work particularly well with hot plates. I’d order this with normal plate instead.
Black cod (RM 50) turned out to be one of the best dishes we tried. Perfectly seared and served with braised leek & fennel topped with tomato jam, it was excellent. That perfectly prepped fish skin, I can have it all day!
King prawns (RM 55) came with creamy pasta, and I thought the presentation was particularly clever. The prawns served in a jar making it a less messy affair. Deep who had this was happy about the dish.
Other dishes to check out would be Black Angus tenderloin (RM 88), seared duck breast (RM 45), and perhaps the ultimate gourmet burger that’s priced at RM 200!
Stratosphere – where drinks are served on a helipad
After dinner, we adjourned to the Stratosphere, which is actually a helipad on top of the roof of… well, The Roof.
This was one of the bars with the best ambiance in town, with 360 degree uninterrupted view of Selangor and KL, you can see all the way to KLCC, the whole of Bandar Utama, Kota Damansara, and TTDI.
There were 10 different cocktails to choose from here, and all priced at RM 40 nett. I wasn’t particularly impressed with the couple drinks I tried to be honest, and this is perhaps due to the fact that I’ve had those excellent cocktails just a couple hours prior, but the view was able to make up for it.
I think the cocktail department is something that they will be able to correct, and I certainly hope so. Regardless, it is still most definitely worth checking out.
Thank you Kim for the invitation and a great night.
First Avenue, Bandar Utama,
Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.146684, 101.617005
Tel: 012-6910628 (Stratosphere)
Several weeks ago we were invited to Private Kitchen at Damansara Uptown. From the outside, this looks to be a very modest little restaurant not unlike many other eateries at the area – air conditioned, clean, and with a contemporary furnishing that seems to focus on function than pure aesthetics.
Private Kitchen at PJ Uptown
This is, however, not just another local restaurant. The kitchen is led by Chef Lam Fai, an experienced Hong Kong chef who was trained both in Western and traditional Hong Kong cuisine, and it is this unique background of Chef Lam that results in some rather creative dishes we sampled during this food review session.
While waiting for food to be served, we snacked off long spring roll with shrimp paste (RM 10). The taste of shrimp paste is not unlike shrimp balls, and the deep fried spring roll skin gives it some crunchiness. A different interpretation of spring roll, easy to eat off your fingers, and I believe, would make excellent beer food.
beef with strawberry sauce, shredded chicken and cucumber, soup of the day
Our first dish then, was shredded chicken with Private Kitchen “ma la” sauce (RM 12). The shredded chicken sits atop cucumber that’s seasoned with vinegar, a decent cold dish to prepare the stomach, but not one that I’m overly impressed with though.
Like any Chinese/HK restaurant, soup is a must in any meal. The soup of the day was carrot & radish with lean meat soup (RM 6). Very homey, flavorful, and certainly excellent value for money for this type of setting.
Then came one of my favorite dishes of the night – stir-fried prime beef fillet in strawberry & black pepper sauce (RM 28). According to the chef, the beef is prepared and tenderized using Western cuisine techniques, and he chose strawberry to add a different dimension to this black pepper beef dish after some experiments (Chef Lam jokingly said that banana wasn’t a good idea). The result was excellent, if you are “elite” and like to dismiss fusion food, this dish may very well change your stance.
HK style ginger chicken, panfried pork chop with lemongrass
Hong Kong style sand ginger chicken (RM 25 for half bird) went through some half a day’s work of preparation (boiling in broth, preparing the skin with a bit of turmeric for that color, etc) and was delicious and smooth. I especially enjoy the ginger + spring onion sauce that came with this dish.
The next dish looks almost like mantis prawns, but was actually strips of pan-fried pork chop with lemongrass (RM 25). The pork carries pretty strong lemongrass and ginger taste, and tasted pretty decent with chili sauce, but I thought is one of the weaker dishes in this session.
typhoon shelter tiger prawn, sauteed Chinese chives with pork belly in XO sauce
No HK cuisine is complete without typhoon shelter dishes, and at Private Kitchen, we were served typhoon shelter tiger prawn (RM 38). The preparation method was as I remembered the last time I had typhoon shelter crab at Causeway Bay Spicy Crab at Hartamas – plenty of garlic and chili, the aroma was superb, and the prawns did not disappoint. Now I wonder if this would be a good way to prepare squid, hmm.
Sauteed Chinese chives with pork belly in XO sauce (RM18) was our token vegetable dish, even though there’s pork belly in it. I thought it was slightly sinful, but pretty tasty though.
amaranth with minced chicken in superior soup, Portuguese style fried rice
Another soupy vegetable dish that we had was amaranth with minced chicken in superior soup (RM 16). Most of us would recognize it by the common name Chinese spinach. This is another very homey type of dish, a comfort food.
The Portuguese style fried rice with braised pork belly & seafood (RM 16) wasn’t a dish that looked very good in its presentation, it was sorta brownish overall with little color contrast, but don’t let the apparence fools you. The fried rice was very flavorful, and with prawns, squid, and pork belly, they didn’t skimp on ingredients at all. I had a bowl even though I was already stuffed by then, highly recommended.
deep-fried pork ribs with special salad sauce, typhoon shelter noodles with pork chop
The deep-fried pork ribs with special salad sauce (RM32) is another unique fusion food by Chef Lam that works well. The ribs were tender and juicy, and the slightly sourish and fruity salad sauce, while a bit unorthodox, worked well in this instance. I really enjoyed it too.
Our last “extra” dish of the night was a bowl of typhoon shelter noodles with pork chop in chili & garlic soup (RM15). This is a dish fit for single person consumption and comes with a generous portion of pork chop and the noodle in a soup that has some kick. I tried a spoonful (was stuffed already), and from what I could tell it was pretty decent.
Cheesie, chef Lam Fai, Suanie, Joyce, KY, Dennis & Evelyn, Haze
Most of the dishes we had at Private Kitchen were pretty consistent and for the lack of a better description – tasty. The prices are reasonable as well. The only downside of the place is, well, the location and challenging parking situation at times. Saying that this place is sort of a poor-man’s Elegant Inn would not be incorrect. Worth visiting though, for sure.
Private Kitchen Hong Kong Cuisine
103 Jalan SS21/37
Damansara Utama (Uptown)
47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.13451, 101.62378
Tel: 03-7728 8399
Hours: 11:30 am – 3 pm, 6 pm – 10 pm, closed on Mondays
Hokkaido Ichiba at One Utama and Mid Valley Gardens are two of the latest restaurants to be opened up by one of the largest Japanese restaurant chains in the country – Super Dining.
The group started out with their Raku Zen restaurants at SS 15 and other locations, then ventured into lower end conveyor belt style restaurants in Sushi Zanmai, a Japanese pasta chain in Pasta Zanmai, a higher end hotel-restaurant in Kura, and now, sitting between Zanmai and Raku Zen – Hokkiado Ichiba.
Hokkaido Ichiba, One Utama branch
The menu at Hokkaido Ichiba is rather extensive, there are sushi, sashimi, various bento, maki, ramen, udon, and even small side dishes that you normally wouldn’t find in ordinary Japanese outlets.
California temaki, anglerfish liver, spicy oyster ramen
For the two of us, we ordered an oyster ramen, a chirashi sushi, California temaki, and something that I haven’t eaten since 5 years ago in Vietnam – anglerfish liver.
The service was pretty brisk on a weekday night at One Utama, and we got our dishes within 15 minutes or so upon ordering.
The California temaki was Haze’s appetizer and reportedly quite tasty. The anglerfish liver though, was a tad too dry for me, though still retaining that distinctive taste that I can only describe as a blend of liver with a fishy (in a good way) undertone and has a texture between that of foie gras and pork liver. If you haven’t tried it before, this is a place to do so in an affordable way.
The spicy oyster ramen was a pretty decent dish as well, spicy and rather flavorful, though slightly lacking when compared to dedicated ramen shops such as Santouka or Marutama. This is perhaps due to the home made ramen used in other outlets, or the amount of effort poured into the making of ramen broth.
chirashi sushi, with scallops, amaebi, salmon, ikura
My chirashi sushi though, was a steal at RM 30. It has two amaebi (sweet shrimps), hotate (scallops), ikura (salmon roe), salmon, and a couple crab sticks. The ingredients were pretty fresh and I thought it was a very good bowl of chirashi sushi especially considering the price point.
Haze and KY at Hokkaido Ichiba Japanese restuarant
Overall, Hokkiado Ichiba really does find a niche in this pretty saturated Japanese restaurant market. The food is pretty good, prices reasonable (RM 77.70 for everything, including green tea). If you are at One Utama or Mid Valley Gardens looking for reasonably affordable Japanese food and not wanting to fight with the crowd at Sushi Zanmai, this is a place worth checking out.
Lot T-201, 3rd Floor, The Gardens,
Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200 KL.
Tel: 03-2283 1060
Lot LG 101, Lower Ground Floor Promenade,
1 Utama Shopping Centre, No 1, Lebuh Bandar Utama,
Bandar Utama Damansara, 47800 PJ.
Tel: 03-7727 0020
While I love to eat, I”ve also at the same time, known to be a relatively cheap drunk – ie: it doesn’t cost much to get me drunk. My usual tolerance is about 3-4 glasses of alcohol on a good night.
Then again, those who are regarded as connoisseur does not necessarily eat a lot, audiophiles aren’t someone who must have their music super loud, so why must a “good drinker” be one that drinks a lot? To me, it should just be one who knows how to enjoy their alcohol, be it beer, spirit, whisky, or tapai (ok maybe not the last one :D)
FA, Michael, KY & Haze at Craft Brews
Having said that, I don’t consider myself at all skilled in alcohol tasting, I can’t describe the subtle hint of chocolate aroma or certain type of truffle smell in some aged whisky, but I do know what I like and what I don’t like. In another word, like most everyone else, I assume.
A week or so ago I was invited to Craft Brews at Kota Damansara for their Rogue beer launch – there were altogether 8 types of beers, with four available on tap and the other four in bottles.
my favorite fried roast pork is awesome as always
The Rouge beers come with weird names – Brutal IPA, Mom Hefeweizen, Chocolate Stout, Dead Guy Ale, Juniper Pale Ale, Mocha Porter, OREgasmic Ale and Hazelnut Brown Nectar.
I can’t pretend to remember the tastes of all the 8 beers I’ve tried (of course some only a sip or two), not taking notes did not help either, but I remember I don’t care much about Chocolate Stout (still love my Guinness).
The Hazelnut Brown Nectar really does carry a hint of hazelnut aroma in it, slightly sweetish at the end and quite drinkable, if not tasted a bit unconventional.
8 types of Rogue beer, plenty to go around
The memory on other beer were a bit of a blur, though I remember enjoying most of them, and especially like the Dead Guy Ale, creamy and richer in flavor.
Oh, and there were food too. Craft Brews still serve one of the best tasting fried roast pork out there, I took quite a few helpings. The teriyaki style sausage were yummy too.
Haze and I also won a couple t-shirts (XL in size, WHY!?) in beer pouring contest after being push up the “stage” by host of the night – Linora.
It was a fun night, good beer, good food, and great company in Michael, FA, Deep and the like.
Jalan PJU 7/2,
47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.161031, 101.613761
Tel: 03-7722 3000