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Tag / beef

The name Kampachi is not foreign to fans of Japanese cuisine in Malaysia, especially to those who gravitates towards the higher end establishments. Starting as restaurants within Equatorial hotels, the Kampachi brand now spread outside from its confine and can be found at several other locations.

The latest branch being at Plaza 33 in Petaling Jaya, and we were lucky enough to to sample the food and drinks at this fine restaurant a couple weeks ago in a private food review session with a few other like minded bloggers.

Kampachi at Jaya 33, check out the sake ball
Kampachi at Jaya 33, check out the sake ball

Right by the side of the restaurant main door hung a ball of something that can be easily assumed as a hive of geometrically evolved species of bee, but is in fact, a “sake ball”. A ball made of cedar twigs traditionally hung over the door of sake breweries to signify new arrival of (high quality) sake to customers.

Appropriate here as Kampachi prides itself in stocking one of the largest selections of Japanese sake, including some hard to find “cult” sakes from exceptional breweries that are made available in Malaysia exclusively by Kampachi.

open kitchen concept, with plenty of wine and sake
open kitchen concept, with plenty of wine and sake

Kampachi has certainly spent a lot of effort in creating a very striking interior of the 198 person capacity  restaurant. A lot of traditional Japanese materials, such Japanese paper, imported floor and wall tiles, and more are applied in a contemporary way to make up a sophisticated and modern look.

I especially like the bamboo seating pods that can seat maybe up to 5-6 person that can be rotated for added privacy.

In the interest of not bothering paying customers with camera flash & loud chatters, we had the session in one of the three private rooms. Interestingly, these rooms come with a private sushi kitchen of sort, concealed by a movable panel that kinda reminds me of those cabinets that conceal TVs in the 80s.

shima aji sashimi (raw striped jack)
shima aji sashimi (raw striped jack)

Our review session was of the omakase meal (priced at RM 220), which means “I’ll leave it to you”, or degustation menu in Japanese. Typically you get the freshest seasonal ingredients and chef’s favourite dishes this way.

Our first dish was the Shima Aji Sashimi, or raw Striped Jack.

Chef Looi, who carved the fish right before our eyes behind that private kitchen, told us that the very fish beautifully presented to us was still in Japan the very same morning.

To describe the fish as merely “fresh” would be an understatement. I can’t criticise any aspect of the sashimi - taste, fat content, and visual appeal were all simply spot on.

the sashimi, shake kawa salad (green vege with crispy salmon skin & salmon roe)
the sashimi, shake kawa salad (green vege with crispy salmon skin & salmon roe)

Cold sake is dispense from a special holder that keeps ice separate as to not dilute the drinks. While the mechanism is visually similar to milking a cow, you don’t need to squeeze or suck, just a gentle tap will do.

Our second dish was Shake Kawa Salad, green vegetable with crispy salmon skin and salmon roe. I particularly like the very thinly sliced crispy salmon skin, made available from the 2-3 whole salmon consumed here each day.

wagyu teppanyaki (grilled Australian wagyu beef)
wagyu teppanyaki (grilled Australian wagyu beef)

Before continuing with more seafood, we were served with Wagyu Teppanyaki, the beef sourced from Australia, grilled medium rare, and served with the unique Kampachi truffle sauce.

The sauce is a blend of Tosa Shoyu and mushroom broth with a hint of black truffle and olive oil. I usually don’t have my beef with any condiment, but this sauce managed to make it just that much better. My only complain is that they don’t sell the sauce in bottles.

unfiltered sake, ankimo beko an (pan-seared anglerfish liver with simmered radish)
unfiltered sake, ankimo beko an (pan-seared angler fish liver with simmered radish)

In French cuisine, foie gras often signifies luxury, and in Japanese food, the equivalent would be Angler fish liver, or Ankimo Beko An.

The liver makes up quite a large part of the fish, has a very rich texture. Simmered radish is used to expertly mask any fishy taste the liver might carry to balance this unique ingredient. This was the 3rd time I had ankimo, first was in Vietnam, and second at Hokkaido Ichiba restaurant.

Following the cold sake, we were served warm, unfiltered sake. The milky color is pretty unique for usually clear looking sake, and yet was definitely smooth and leave a feeling of warmth and comfort in the stomach.

aburi sushi (seared sushi) - anago (conger eel), shake harasu (salmon belly), hotate (scallop)
aburi sushi (seared sushi) – anago (conger eel), shake harasu (salmon belly), hotate (scallop)
miso soup with striped jack bones

What’s a omakase dinner without sushi?

Three types of Aburi Sushi (seared sushi) were chosen for the night – Anago (conger eel), Shake Harasu (salmon belly), and Hotate (scallop). Each were seared just very lightly and still partially raw at the bottom, the first time I tried sushi prepared this way and I liked it.

Miso soup was made with the bones from our first dish, and the striped jack definitely contributed to the extra sophistication in the soup that would have been quite boring otherwise.

garlic fried rice, Japanese peach, and ciki
garlic fried rice, Japanese peach, and ciki enjoy the fruits

We specially asked for garlic fried rice just cause Ciki needed some carb for her half marathon preparation, and I was glad to go along with one as well. Most definitely the best garlic fried rice I’ve had, it’s hard to explain, there weren’t any magical ingredients, just plain old rice, garlic, eggs, and such. Execution was the key, great job by the chefs.

Instead of fancy desserts, we had a couple slices of Japanese peach.

These fruits were priced at RM 66 per peach, and “WHAT?!!!??” was my initial reaction. Then I took a bite, and it was a realization and instant understanding on why and how a fruit barely the size of my fist can cost more than 4 hours of solid domestic housework. You get what you paid for, it was excellent and now I’m staring at this piece of apple on my desk while writing this and dreading it.

Haze, KY, and our parting drinks - sake bomb
Haze, KY, and our parting drinks – sake bomb

As for drinks, we started out with the pink colored cocktail - Blushing Maiko (trainee Geisha) to get us started prior to dinner.

After the cold and warm sake, it was a mixture of green tea with Hakushu Single Malt Whisky, interpretation of Baileys the Japanese way perhaps?

We concluded the night with Sake Bomb - shot glasses of sake lined up atop beer glasses and knocked down with Domino effects, it was quite a show and I suspect the bartender has done this a hundred times probably with water and tea before perfecting the skill. We were well impressed, and of course, had one for the road.

It was a great dinner, and I want to go back.

P/S: The famous Kampachi Sunday Buffet is back and now available exclusively at the Plaza 33 outlet, priced at RM 118++ for adults and RM 68++ for children below 10.

Map to Jaya 33, Petaling Jaya

Address:
Kampachi
P1-02, First Floor
Plaza @Jaya 22
Jalan Kemajuan, Seksyen 13
Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS3.10988, 101.63787
Tel : 03-7931 6938
Emailkampachi@equatorial.com
Hours: 12-3pm  for lunch, 6-11pm for dinner

I love me some good steaks, and while we have plenty of awesome affordable good foods in Malaysia, steak isn’t exactly one of them. Good steaks are often rather expensive, and the cheaper ones usually left me thinking if I should have been chewing my shoes instead. Hence, we don’t end up having steaks nearly as often as we want to.

My last steak dinner was at Las Vacas at Kelana Jaya, a restaurant with minimal frill and good steak, and it was also where I found out about El Fresco at Jaya Grocer from Lance & Enoch (hello neighbour!) from feedbacks on facebook and Instagram

El Fresco at Jaya Grocer, pick your meat
El Fresco at Jaya Grocer, pick your meat

El Fresco is located at Subang Empire Mall’s Jaya Grocer, and yes, a restaurant within the big grocery store where the tables and seats are arranged pretty close to isles where you find racks of .. well, groceries.

The concept is simple, go to the meat section (or fish if you want to have salmon steak, for example) and pick your steak, then proceed to El Fresco’s counter and hand the meat over and have them cook it. There is no cooking charge for anything over RM 20, and just like Air Asia, if you want extras, you can always add on (salad, mixed vegetable, fries etc)

Angus tenderloin, one with salad, the other with mixed vegetables
Angus tenderloin, one with salad, the other with mixed vegetables

Standard cut for steak is usually at around 250-300 gram here, and prices stated at the butchery is by the kilogram. We chose Angus tenderloin (mid-high in price, RM 189/KG) and each slab cost us just under RM 42.00.

In a way, you can go expensive, or you can go much cheaper as well. Lamb rack at RM 85.90/KG, and beef anywhere from RM 99/KG to RM 359/KG for some Wagyu with good marble ratings.

I like mine medium rare, and they executed it perfectly
I like mine medium rare, and they executed it perfectly

I had my Angus tenderloin medium rare with mixed vegetable, and Haze ordered hers prepared rare with salad. While wait time was a little long (25 minutes) when we were there, it actually wasn’t too bad, you can even walk around and shop a little bit in the mean time.

The steak came out excellent and I really liked my steak pure as is and without any sauce or extra seasoning. The meat tender and juicy, and for under RM 50? An awesome value.

The pizzas & salmon steaks from El Fresco looks good too, and I have a feeling we will be back there pretty soon.

Empire Mall map

Address:
El Fresco
Jaya Grocer, Empire Shopping Gallery

47500 Subang Jaya
GPS3.082109, 101.582716
Webjayagrocer.com/fnd_elfresco.php

Haze and I both knows how to enjoy a piece of good beef, but unfortunately good beef are usually only available at very up class restaurants (such as Prime or Mandarin Grill); and speaking from experience, those from the more affordable places often disappoints.

Then there’s Las Vacas, a no-frill restaurant and retail that offers prime cuts of beef and lamb at very decent price.

Las Vacas at Kelana Jaya
Las Vacas at Kelana Jaya

Las Vacas is basically a meat shop with professionally trained butchers and a kitchen. They stock a wide selection of meat and you can either buy raw to grill at home, or dine in.

There’s Angus, Wagyu, grain fed, tenderloin, ribeye, sirloin, lamb shoulder, and even salami, sausages, and burger patties.

grain fed tenderloin and wagyu ribeye
grain fed tenderloin and wagyu ribeye

We went there for the first time a few weeks ago, I ordered a medium rare tenderloin, while Haze asked for her Wagyu ribeye  to be prepared rare. Prices of meat is indicated at the display per 100 gram, and normal cut is usually 280-300 grams, though you can always choose a bigger/smaller portion according to appetite.

There’s a cooking fee (RM 15 if I remember correctly) on top of the price of the meat, and you get a small serving of salad (quite forgettable) and a piece of pretty decent garlic bread on the side.

love that my tenderloin was cooked to perfection - medium rare
love that my tenderloin was cooked to perfection – medium rare

The meat did take a while to get prepared, and I believe it was because they actually let it sit before serving to ensure they are properly moist. There’s Dijon mustard and A1 steak sauce if you like, but I love my steak as is with nothing but basica salt & pepper seasoning to fully enjoy the unadulterated taste of meat.

The result was excellent, and we thoroughly enjoyed our meal. Dinner ended up at around RM 180 including a couple bottles of premium carbonated drinks. Pretty reasonable for what we got, will visit again.

map to Las Vacas, Kelana Jaya

Address:
Las Vacas
No.23, Jalan SS5A/11 Kelana Jaya 
47301 Petaling Jaya 
Selangor, Malaysia
GPS: 3.095934, 101.604719
Tel: 03-7874 0711
Weblasvacasmeat.com
HoursTues – Sunday, 10am – 10pm

Las Vacas Meat Shop

Happy Chinese New Year to everyone and may you have blessed Snake year ahead. Not coincidentally, Valentine’s day is also just around the corner and we had the chance to sample one of the many Valentine’s day menus around town at the Renoma Cafe Gallery at Bukit Bintang the other day.

For those of you who are looking for a romantic night out with love ones, this is a place worth considering. Read on.

Renoma Cafe Gallery, Jalan Bukit Bintang (by Jalan Delima)
Renoma Cafe Gallery, Jalan Bukit Bintang (by Jalan Delima)

Renoma Cafe Gallery is opened by the very same person that brought you the famous underwear (and fashion) brand, and in fact, this is the second of such cafe in the world, with the first one being at Paris.

The place serves modern Western food with a heavy influence in French cuisine. There’s a dining hall with a stage and live music on weekends, alfresco dining areas, as well as a big private dining room upstairs. Interior decoration is a bit quirky but tastefully done.

Lets get on the 4 course Valentine’s Day menu (priced at RM 388++ for two person) that includes all the dishes described below as well as two glasses of champagne.

consomme of kangaroo island marron; veloute of crustacean & stone crab
consomme of kangaroo island marron; veloute of crustacean & stone crab

The gentleman starts with Veloute of Crustacean & Stone Crab, basically a cream of shellfish with stone crab meat, blue mussel, brown clam and XO chili oil. A pretty hearty way to start out  dinner, the soup was delicious and packed with plenty of crab meat as well as shellfish. Just this alone filled up almost 1/3 of my stomach space already.

Consomme of Kangaroo Island Marron is the lady’s first dish and it’s packed boullion of seafood with grilled crayfish, blue mussel, brown clam & petit pois. Crayfish isn’t something you get very often in Malaysia, and it tasted a bit like a cross between crab and lobster. The consomme is a bit lighter in taste but not lacking in character.

surf & turf; earth & ocean
earth & ocean (top); surf & turf (bottom)

For the second dish, surf and turf is in store for the guy, while the lady enjoys a dish called earth and ocean.

Surf and turf includes medallion of medium lamb loin & rock lobster, sauteed baby spinach and smoked chili coulis. I love the lamb loin, and I think the shelled rock lobster is something that you can appreciate even just by looking at the photo. Oh, that massive scallop was excellent too!

Earth and Ocean comes with tataki maguro akami, caramelized foie gras pate, chargrilled portobello mushroom and wild berries. The tuna fish was perhaps slightly too done for my liking (but I’m nitpicking), the mushroom soft and full of flavor, and the foie gras pate did not disappoint either. We were quite impressed with the food at Renoma Cafe Gallery by this point.

black Angus tenderloin, wild caught red emperor
black Angus tenderloin, wild caught red emperor

For the main course, there’s a choice of black Angus tenderloin or wild caught red emperor.

The beef dish comes with char grilled black Angus beef tenderloin that’s prepared to your choice, pomme dauphine, duck fat baby carrot, and morel ragout. The tenderloin was top notch, with the scallops and shellfish complimenting the beef perfectly.

If the beef was good, the fish was perhaps even better. Oven baked dried sole crusted red emperor, butternut squash puree, nai pak, and salted yolk emulsion made up this dish. The photo might not look like much, but the skin of the fish was really something that you need to taste for yourself. It was crunchy and salted just nice, with the seafood not overcooked. I took a bite and wished I could have the whole dish to myself.

chocolate sunrise; strawberry sunset
chocolate sunrise; strawberry sunset

The three excellent dishes were then followed by two desserts, again one for the guy and another for the lady.

Chocolate sunrise comes with guanaja chocolate with mango lavender coulis, coffee ice cream and hazelnut crumble. I love the ice cream, but though the chocolate was pretty average, perhaps the other dishes has set too high a standard to keep up.

Strawberry sunset comes with strawberry fraiser mosse cake with passion fruit and mango coulis, raspberry sherbet and praline croustillant. Again, we enjoyed the ice cream a bit more than the other part of the dessert.

KY & Haze at Renoma Cafe Gallery
KY & Haze at Renoma Cafe Gallery

Overall, I rate Renoma Cafe Gallery pretty high based on what we were served. The place also has lively music and serves a full range of cocktail and other drinks. I’d love to return sometimes to try their other offerings.

If you have a private function, this is also a potential place to check out, but for those who’re looking for a good Valentine’s dinner, if the budget fits, this is a place to go.

Renoma Cafe Gallery KL map

Address:
Renoma Cafe Gallery
Lot 510, Jalan Bukit Bintang,
Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.147212, 101.720814
Tel: 03-2143 9919

Renoma Cafe Gallery

Suki-Ya Shabu Shabu at Pavilion has been one of the more busy restaurants located at Pavilion’s Tokyo Street ever since it’s inception a couple years ago. I’ve meant to give it a try for the longest time, but it’s always been packed, and I’ve only recently lunched there thanks to arrangements (ie: advanced booking la) by my colleagues.

Suki-Ya at Pavilion, there's almost always a queue
Suki-Ya at Pavilion, there’s almost always a queue

Suki-Ya brands itself as a restaurant that offers modern healthy choices. The outlet at Pavilion isn’t exactly big, but I like the cozy ambiance and the very clean interior.

They have an ala-carte menu on top of shabu-shabu (or Japanese steamboat), but we stuck to the basic this time and only tried the default buffet, priced at RM 29.80 per adult for a maximum of 2 hour dining period. Dinner would cost an additional RM 10. Any extra time over the 2-hr block is priced at RM 3.50 per 15 mins.

Kinda sounds like paying for parking.

there are 4 types of soup to choose from
there are 4 types of soup to choose from

Like many steamboat places, Suki-Ya offers several choices of soup – the classic shabu-shabu that is light, sukiyaki that carries a hint of sweetened soya sauce taste, miso which is a little on the saltier side, and kimchi, one that carries a bit of a kick.

We chose shabu-shabu and kimchi since you’re allowed to split the pot.

Pro tip: Always start off with milder tasting soup so as to not overwhelm your palate too early.

beef, lamb, chicken, and the "healthy bar" full of veges and more
beef, lamb, chicken, and the “healthy bar” full of veges and more

There are three choices of meat you can choose, and the waitress will happily serve as many plates of them to your table as you request. Do note that any wasted food carries additional charges though.

The chicken, beef, and lamb were all thinly sliced and served frozen. The beef only requires a quick 10 second dip to the boiling soup, while I’d advice to leave beef and chicken in for a little bit longer. They tasted pretty good with some dipping sauce.

we had a great time, thank you for lunch, HL
we had a great time, thank you for lunch, HL

The “healthy bar” offers some 30 types of vegetables, tofu, mushroom, fish balls, and even clams. These are really mainly the healthier choices – food with less fatty contents. They are somewhat less luxurious, but for less than RM 30 I think it’s plenty good value for money, and you’d likely not over eat that much.

It’s not difficult to see the success of Suki-Ya and that long queue outside the restaurant on daily basis. If you are to visit them, I’ll advice to call and book ahead.

Other than Pavilion KL, Suki-Ya branches can be found at Paradigm and Mont Kiara Mall.

map to Pavilion KL

Address:
Suki-Ya @ Tokyo Street
6.24.04, Level 6, Pavilion
Jln Bukit Bintang
Kuala Lumpur

GPS3.148872, 101.713368
Tel03-2141 4272
Website: www.suki-ya.com

Suki-Ya Shabu Shabu

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