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Tag / chirashi

A couple weeks ago a few of us were fortunate enough to get a taste of ten different dishes at Senya Izakaya at Publika for their upcoming Aomori Fair that runs from 15th February to 29th February 2016.

For those who aren’t familiar with Senya Izakaya, they are from the same group that runs Ten Sushi, Sushi Ichiro, and Menya Ramen. Izakaya is basically a type of informal Japanese gastropub, a place for after-work dining and (sometimes plenty of) drinking.

Senya Izakaya at Solaris Dutamas
Senya Izakaya at Solaris Dutamas

The Aomari Fair is basically an initiative to introduce the produce from Aomori Prefecture, which is situated at the northernmost area of Japan’s main island, just South of Hokkaido. The prefecture is famous for apple, in fact, 50% of all apples produced in Japan is from Aomori prefecture, and 90% of all apples exported out of Japan is Aomori apples.

Seafood, squid, and scallops are also among the exported produce from the area.

In conjunction to the Aomori Fair, Senya Izakaya is running a competition with the winner getting an RM 100 voucher, just vote for the most popular dishes out of the ten below on their FB page and in the restaurant. Check it out!

Now, here are the ten dishes that will be available during the fair, though the actual number of dishes is actually slightly more than these presented to us, but we had to be somewhat realistic in the ability to sample all these in one seating, isn’t it?

Aomori Apple with Pork Belly Skewer
Aomori Apple with Pork Belly Skewer

One of my favorite of the day, and probably the best beer food I’d like to have with me – Aomori Apple with Pork Belly Skewer (RM6). Made from preserved Aomori apples wrapped with sliced pork belly and grilled in charcoal, this was just the perfect blend of savory and sweetness in a mouthful, absolutely beautiful.

Fried Aomori Baby Scallop & Long Bean Sprout
Fried Aomori Baby Scallop &  Long Bean Sprout

Fried Aomori Baby Scallop &  Long Bean Sprout (RM25) looked a bit like fried noodle in a glance, but those are actually really long bean sprouts that is packed with vitamin C, E, and B (twice as much as normal bean sprouts, I was told).

Those baby scallops pack a punch in flavor as well, mostly due to the smallish size which tend to condensed the natural sweetness of scallops.

Grilled Aomori Squid with Guts
Grilled Aomori Squid with Guts

The Grilled Aomori Squid with Guts  (RM22) is a traditional dish that may take a bit of getting used to for some of us. Whole squid is used in this dish, and since innards aren’t removed, the squid used must be really fresh, often at sashimi quality. This dish is usually enjoyed with shochu or sake.

Aomori Baby Scallop Kakiage Tempura
Aomori Baby Scallop Kakiage Tempura

If you like deep fried food, Aomori Baby Scallop Kakiage Tempura (RM19.80) is not to be missed. This tempura is almost like a really luxurious version of our local prawn fritters, but with baby scallops, onion, carrot, and mitsuba leaves. I really liked it.

Vinegared Saba Sushi
Vinegared Saba Sushi

No Japanese menu is complete without sushi, and I was glad when we were served with Vinegared Saba Sushi (RM22.80). Made with Aomori saba that is harvested during winter time when they’re packed with more fat, this pressed sushi (oshizushi) also comes with egg, cucumber, and sakura denbu to give it that extra character.

Nanbu Aomori Senbei Hot Pot
Nanbu Aomori Senbei Hot Pot

Nanbu Aomori Senbei Hot Pot (RM19) is a dish that’s perfect for cold weather, and I guess for here too when it rains or the aircond is particularly cold. It is a traditional local dish famous at the Nanbu area. The soup is a blend of shoyu and chicken broth and accented by Nanbu Senbei, a type of local rice cracker (an award winning one at that.)

I really like the rice cracker when it soaked up the broth, not entirely unlike how we have fuchuk in BKT soup, if you know what I mean.

Aomori Seafood Barachirashi Don
Aomori Seafood Barachirashi Don

Then there’s the Aomori Seafood Barachirashi Don (RM33.80), a dish that I’d most likely order if I was completely oblivious to the menu, just because chirashi and barachirashi sushi are some of my favorite Japanese dishes.

This version uses boiled Aomori baby scallop, raw scallop, Aomori squid, Aomori vinegared saba, tuna, garlic, and Aomori yam. It certainly packs a punch with all the flavors in a bowl. Not disappointed at all.

Pork Don with Preserved Aomori Apple
Pork Don with Preserved Aomori Apple

If you can only order one dish from this list of ten, my recommendation will go to the Pork Don with Preserved Aomori Apple (RM23.80). This is Senya Izakaya’s signature dish, a fairly simple pork don with preserved Aomori apple. The apple with lemon flavor balance the rich taste of those perfectly prepared pork belly, it is basically just heaven in a bowl if you love pork like I do. Don’t miss this.

Aomori Baby Scallop Miso Curry Milk Ramen
Aomori Baby Scallop Miso Curry Milk Ramen

For those who like ramen, you’re covered. We sampled the Aomori Baby Scallop Miso Curry Milk Ramen (RM22.8), which interestingly, is an invention by the children of Aomori by putting milk and curry into ramen. It is a little creamier than usual, and still packed with plenty of ingredients, most notably those baby scallops. I find the soup base perhaps a little too creamy for me, but your mileage may vary.

Cream Cheese Snow Mountain & Aomori Apple Sorbet with Cinnamon Cookie
Cream Cheese Snow Mountain & Aomori Apple Sorbet with Cinnamon Cookie

Then of course, we had dessert. The Cream Cheese Snow Mountain & Aomori Apple Sorbet with Cinnamon Cookie (RM16). It is a cream cheese moose with Aomori apple ice cream and cinnamon cookie. This dessert is most popular at Hiromae-shi Ringo Park, which is at Hiromae-shi, a place where the best quality of apple is produced in all of Aomori.

The dessert proved to be a great ending to this overly lushed tasting session. I feel like I need to go back for some of those pork & apple dishes now.

map to Solaris Dutamas

Address:
Senya Izakaya
D5-G3-5,
Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.171465, 101.667620
Tel: 03-6205 4999

One of the little secrets every food lovers should know is that the way to enjoying awesome meals without breaking the bank is to just do it during lunch. Many higher end or even fine dining restaurants usually have a rather affordable lunch menu that offers dishes that are of very high quality but at substantially chaper price tag than after sun down.

Update 10/7/2018: This place is now permanently closed

Ten Japanese Fine Dining at Marc's Residence
Ten Japanese Fine Dining at Marc’s Residence

Hence, my favorite time to visit good Japanese restaurants is during lunch time.

Today, lets look at Ten Japanese Fine Dining’s offering.

I’ve been to Ten for an invited food review but was never a paying customer until recently when I was told that they serve lunch. See, even though I really loved what they do, fine dining prices just isn’t something I can afford often.

Assorted Sushi & Ten Special Bento
Assorted Sushi & Ten Special Bento

Ten offers about two dozen different dishes priced from RM 28++ onwards for lunch. There are also four different omakase courses priced at RM 100, RM 118, RM 148, and RM 240++ per person.

So far my friends and I have tried about half a dozen of the set lunches.

The Assorted Sashimi (RM 60++) and Assorted Sushi (RM 60++) featured some of the freshest seafood ingredients anywhere, with grated wasabi and chawamushi that’s packed of ingredients on the side.

Interestingly, they also have a Vegetable Sushi (RM 28++) option that Jean tried, and according to her, it was very unique and absolutely awesome. Instead of fish you get asparagus, tomato, baby corn, mushroom, cucumbers and so on presented in a way that’s not unlike seafood.

Assorted Sashimi, Saba Shioyaki, and Vegetable Sushi
Assorted Sashimi, Saba Shioyaki, and Vegetable Sushi

Other dishes we tried were Bara Chirashi (RM 48++), Saba Shioyaki (RM 35++), and Ten Special Bento (RM 55++). None of these disappoints and I wouldn’t hesitate to order any of them again.

The only item that’s still at fine dining price would be their green tea at RM 6++ with unlimited refill. I guess you somehow have to pay for the great ambiance and excellent service somehow.

Haze, Sophia, and Jean all agreed the lunch sets were awesome
Haze, Sophia, and Jean all agreed the lunch sets were awesome

So now I have Ten Japanese Fine Dining together with Fukuya and Ozeki as the few Japanese restaurants that serves really good and value for  money lunch sets.

map to Marc Residence

Address:
Ten Japanese Fine Dining
A-G-1, Marc Residence, Ground Floor,
No.3 Jalan Pinang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.155396, 101.710203
Tel03-2161 5999
Hours: 11:30 am – 2:30 pm, 6 pm onward, closed on Mondays
Webtenrestaurant.com.my

Japanese cuisine in Malaysia has come a long way, from simple conveyor belt sushi and high end traditional Japanese restaurants in hotels, we now have a wide variety of price point and different variations to choose from.

Senjyu is one of the newer Japanese outfit that tries to carve a niche in this rather mature market by trying to infuse a little bit of contemporary taste into traditional Japanese cuisine, while maintaining a pretty affordable pricing. At least that’s what is claimed.

I was invited to Senjyu at Bangsar Village 2 for a session of food review a couple weeks ago, and I gotta say their claims weren’t far off.

Senjyu Japanese restaurant, at Bangsar Village 2
Senjyu Japanese restaurant, at Bangsar Village 2

Senjyu, which means “eternity of life”, is located at 3rd floor of Bangsar Village 2 and took over the former location of Sakei Sushi, which is the chain that is owned by the same operator. I wasn’t a huge fan of Sakei (or most conveyor belt sushi restaurants), so I had a bit of a doubt at first when receiving the invitation.

The restaurant is decently decorated though table arrangements could perhaps use a little bit of imagination. Having them all lined up in grids isn’t very exciting, even with beautifully placed paper cranes at the sushi bar.

carpaccio mori and iso moriwase sashimi
carpaccio mori and iso moriwase sashimi

Anyway, lets get on with the food.

We started out with the Carpaccio Mori (RM 22) – thinly sliced raw tuna, salmon, and butter fish that is served with 5 types of sauces and a bit of sesame and thinly sliced vegetable. It is an inspiration from Italian cuisine perhaps, but with Japanese ingredients. The sauce has a slight spicy taste to it, pretty exciting and the end result was actually very good. I like it.

Iso Moriwase Sashimi (RM 68) is good for 3-4 person, and comes with yellow tail, salmon, octopus, sweet shrimp, butterfish, surf clam, and one raw oyster. Fresh grated wasabi is served with the sashimi, which makes a big difference if you love wasabi. The seafood too were very fresh. For the price, this is a great value.

toro (tuna belly)
toro (tuna belly)

One of the most sought after sashimi cuts – Toro, is available with a price. For RM 70 you get three pretty thick slices of these air flown fatty tuna belly meat. They are like the grade 12 wagyu of the tuna world, and absolutely yummy. If you are to splurge, this wouldn’t be a bad option.

salmon ikura hana, soft shell crab and unagi mentai maki
salmon ikura hana, soft shell crab and unagi mentai maki

Salmon Ikura Hana (RM 16) is prepared by air flown raw salmon and topped with mayonnaise and salmon roe. A winning combination if not for the little problem of having a bit too much rice in them. Wasn’t very easy to have everything in your mouth at one go, and there isn’t any graceful way to not do that either. Tastes pretty good though.

Have you ever had the problem of wanting to order a maki (sushi roll) but did not want to commit into eating 6 or 8 pieces of sushi that has the same ingredients? Well that happened to me a lot, and it is refreshing to see that Senjyu offers maki that comes with two different ingredients in one order, in this case, the Soft Shell Crab and Unagi Mentai Maki (RM 28).

I love the soft shell crab maki, it was crunchy, rich, and has an explosion of taste that leaves you wanting more. The unagi mentai maki, on the other hand, sounds like a good promise, I like unagi and I love mentai, but the combination somehow came out to be a bit less than the sum of two, maybe it is the way they chop up the eel? But don’t get me wrong, it is not bad at all, just not as good as I’d anticipated.

chirashi-jyu, closer look at unagi mentai maki
chirashi-jyu, closer look at unagi mentai maki

They serve one of my go-to Japanese dish too – Chirashi-Jyu, and at RM 30 per pop, a great value for money. There’s salmon, butterfish, tuna, octopus, and of course, tamago (sweet egg omelete). I haven’t seen this much seafood in a bowl of chirashi sushi priced RM 30 and under.

trio oyster - mentai, fresh, and simmer in broth
trio oyster – mentai, fresh, and simmer in broth

According to the PR ladies, Senjyu has gained a reputation for its live Canadian oysters, and we sampled this via the Trio Oyster dish (RM 48) – mentai oyster (cod fish roe), fresh live oyster sashimi, and simmered oyster in broth.

I love all three versions, the freshness of live oyster clearly give it a superior taste. To be honest, I probably would like them best just fresh, the extra preparation though, is good for those who doesn’t really like this shell fish raw.

wagyu beef shioyaki
wagyu beef shioyaki – chef showing us how to get it done

Wagyu Beef Shioyaki (RM 68) is another premium item on Senjyu’s menu. If you’ve had wagyu, you know what to expect. Slightly salted wagyu beef served raw in a DIY cooking style. If you like wagyu, you will enjoy this.

giant ebi tempura (prawn), gindari nitsuke (codfish)
giant ebi tempura (prawn), gindari nitsuke (codfish)

Next was tempura in the form of Giant Ebi Tempura (RM 38). Now these prawns are huge, and there were some half a dozen or so of them. Crunchy, succulent, and fresh, I wish I wasn’t so full by then.

Our last dish of the tasting session was Gindara Nitsuke (codfish, RM 40). A more subtle tasting dish, served with assorted mushroom and vegetables that could be better if the fish was slightly less cooked.

And yes, that was a lot of food for two person. Haze and I were over stuffed for the night, but we left with satisfaction. Not everything is 100% awesome, but they were quite a bit above average, and priced very competitively.

set meals, inaniwa noodle, foie gras and oyster mentai maki
set meals, inaniwa noodle, foie gras and oyster mentai maki

Which is also why we went back. This time with Kerol, Horng, and Yuki too. We tried some of their set meals, inaniwa noodle and cha soba, and I took the opportunity to order the foie gras maki as well.

The girls enjoyed the set meals. Portions were pretty big, and our noodle were pretty decent as well.

The foie gras & oyster maki, well, lets just say the foie gras was a bit too thinly sliced to properly satisfy my craving for the goose liver. It was okay, but I think to really enjoy foie gras, you gotta have it pan seared.

KY, Haze, Kerol, Yuki, and some desserts at Senjyu
KY, Haze, Kerol, Yuki, and some desserts at Senjyu

Senjyu does offer pretty interesting desserts too, there’s the frozen mango+orange sorbet, the macha pudding with ice cream (RM 10), and parfait too. There were pretty decent, and if you still have room to spare by the end of dinner, well, try one.

Good eats!

map to Bangsar Village 2

Address:
Senjyu
2F-27 & 28, 2nd Floor
Bangsar Village 2,
2, Jalan Telawi Satu,
Bangsar Baru,
59100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.13071, 101.67146
Tel: 03-2287 1535

Senjyu

Like many rakyat of Malaysia, one of my favorite foods hail from the land of the rising sun, sushi, sashimi, udon, ramen, soba and the like. The cravings would come up from time to time, and it happened again last week, just before lunch time on a working day.

Munakata Ramen Japanese Restaurant
Munakata Ramen, Chirashi & Udon set

Since I work at KLCC and there isn’t any good Japanese food joints worth spending money on in Suria, I often would go to Ozeki right across the road at Menara TA. They offer good lunch sets at very reasonable prices (around RM 30+), not to mention a decent variety too.

But when I arrived outside Ozeki, I thought on this particular day I’d walk further down and see what else is around the vicinity. A few minutes later I saw a signboard displaying Munakata Ramen outside Life Centre, and I said to myself, why not?

chirashi sushi from munakata
the best Chirashi sushi I had!

The menu for lunch consists of varies ramen, udon, and the like (apparently their specialty), but I had my stomach prepared for some raw fish already, so I picked the Chirashi Sushi and Udon set.

The set was priced at RM49, that’s quite a lot to spend for a lunch set. In fact I asked the server if I could just have the chirashi sushi without the udon since I knew I wasn’t able to finish everything.

“It’d still be RM 49 anyway”, she said.

I took the deal, I was already seated in the restaurant and gotten myself comfortable anyway.

munakata chirashi and udon lunch set
green tea, salad, and a bowl of very good udon

Salad came, it was pretty ordinary, I prefer the version served at Ozeki to be honest. Then came the udon and chirashi sushi, accompanied by a serving of chawanmushi and some fruits.

The udon was very good, texture of the noodle and the subtle taste of soup topped with some crunchy bits of tempura-ish stuff on top, one of the bests I had. The real crown jewel though, was the chirashi sushi.

Just look at the picture. Prawns, salmon, ikura, octopus, high grade tuna, unagi, tamago, sanma, and a couple other types of raw fish meticulously cut into tiny pieces served on top of sushi rice. This dish definitely had the most ingredients ever, and the combination yield the best chirashi sushi I’ve ever had. It was excellent!

map to Munakata Japanese restaurant at Life Centre

Now was the set a tad too expensive?
Yes.

Was the serving size a bit too much?
True.

Choices of raw dishes in set lunch rather limited?
Absolutely

Would I have this again?
Definitely! I need to have this chirashi sushi again!

P/S: Munakata also offer ala carte buffet dinner at RM 60 or RM 70+

Address:
Life Centre 20 Jalan Sultan Ismail
50540 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

GPS: 3.15378, 101.70870
Tel: 03-2166 7441

Hyotan was discovered accidentally during a fateful night. It was drizzling, and I had Japanese food in mind. I wanted to go to either Rakuzen or Jyu Raku at SS15.

As usual, there were no parking spot along S15/5A where those two restaurants are located. We were steered further and further away from where we wanted to be, and came up to an empty parking space right outside Hyotan that happens to be on the same road, another Japanese restaurant at SS15 that I somehow failed to notice all these while.

Hyotan at Subang SS15
Hyotan Japanese Restaurant

Since we were already facing Hyotan and that the exterior looks pretty good, I thought we should just give it a try, judging book by the cover might not work, but judging restaurant by the exterior usually has a slightly higher hit rate.

My confidence level went up a notch when an old Japanese chef greeted us on the way in, always a good sign.

Chirashi Sushi
chirashi sushi, always one of my favorites

I ordered Chirashi sushi (RM28), basically a collection of seafood items sitting on top of a bed of sushi rice in a friendly bowl. Hyotan’s version includes butter fish, sake (salmon), unagi (eel), maguro (tuna), hamachi (yellow tail), tamago (sweet egg), and ebi (shrimp), and crab sticks. There’s also a bowl of miso soup despite this not being a set.

It was good, the fish was fresh and I particularly like the unagi here. That said, I still think rakuzen’s chirashi sushi with it’s excellent ika  (squid ) edges out this one slightly.

yakitori and bento set at Hyotan
yakitori and bento set at Hyotan

Haze ordered some set of which name I couldn’t remember. It came with sake, unagi, salad, tempura, chawanmushi, saba, bamboo shoots, and some other smaller dishes to go with rice. It was a pretty big set and judging by the look on her face while she was noming in, she was definitely happy with it.

Haze and KY at Hyotan
Haze and KY at Hyotan

On top of that, we ordered 10 sticks of assorted yakitori to share (RM 48), while this isn’t Sumi Ka, the yakitori were still plenty awesome!

We had chicken liver, genko nuts, okra, quail’s eggs, chicken skin, chicken, mushroom, gizzard, some spring onion look alike thingy, and a hot dog thingy. Most items were at least on par with some of the bests I had, and for RM 48 it was a very good value too.

map to Hyotan japanese restaurant

Hyotan is definitely a place worth revisiting. The ambiance is nice, the dishes I tried were good, and well, it’s easier to find parking compared to the other 2 outlets mentioned too. Just about the only complain I have for Hyotan was the fact that yakitori took a bit longer to served compared to the other dishes. Perhaps that’s just a one time thing.

One more places for Japanese food at SS15 for you!

Address:
Hyotan
63 Jalan SS15/5A,
47500 Subang Jaya,
Selangor

GPS: 3.081059, 101.592636
Tel: 03-5636 0326

Hyotan Japanese Restaurant at Subang Jaya