If you’re a fan of Japanese food, you should know about J’s Gate Dining at Lot 10 KL – a concept that is unlike any other when it comes to Japanese cuisine offering in Malaysia. As one of those fans myself, I was glad to be invited to the launch event and be one of the firsts to get a taste of what this place has to offer.
J’s Gate Dining, Level 4, Lot 10 KL
J’s Gate Dining is located on level 4 of Lot 10 in Bukit Bintang. Head up the escalator now and you’d see 18 different Japanese restaurants taking up almost the entire floor space offering various different types of Japanese cuisine,centered around the concept of authentic Japanese cuisine and services.
J’s Gate Dining launching, Lot 10 Level 4
The grand opening was officiated by Mr. Makio Miyagawa, Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia and Mr. Joseph Yeoh, Vice President of YTL Land & Development Bhd and YTL Hotels & Properties Sdn. Bhd., together with Mr. Naoki Yokoyama, Executive Officer of Sojitz Corporation, Chief Operation Officer of Retails & Lifestyle Business Division.
The opening ceremony is followed by a carving session of a 40.8 KG cultivated Bluefin tuna specially air flown by Sojitz Corporation all the way from Japan. We were then served the fatty tuna in the form of sushi after the event, and I may have returned for more than a few servings!
Bluefin tuna carving demonstration
J’s Gate Dining is separated into two “sections”, with one side a food court type of set up offering all pork free Japanese dishes, and another section with individual restaurants, some with non halal dishes.
Here is the list of restaurants:
Seafood rice bowls
Fuji no Sakura
Eel rice bowls
Traditional Kyoto cuisine
Umai Sushi Kan
On the same evening, a few of us were also invited to an exclusive tasting session to sample dishes from some of the restaurants at J’s Gate Dining. In the span of some 2.5 hours, we managed to visit these five restaurants:
Umai Sushi Kan – Sushi restaurant (pork free)
Umai Sushi Kan offers sushi & sashimi, perhaps the most familiar type of Japanese food for many of us. Again we got to have more of that cultivated Bluefin tuna sushi & sashimi, simply heaven. The rolls were pretty on point as well.
Torikin Yakitori (non halal)
Next up was Torikin Yakitori. There’s a good selection of different skewers to choose from, from chicken tail all the way to pork belly, priced at RM 4 to RM 7 per stick. These makes for some really good beer food.
Kushiage Kinme – deep fried skewers (non halal)
If yakitori isn’t your cup of tea but you still love things in skewers, hop over to Kushiage Kinme. Over here you get fresh ingredients deep fried with light batter in skewers. There’s prawns, quails’ eggs, pork, and even asparagus, my favorite is gindara (cod).
I highly recommend some cold sake with these, which was what we did.
Hachi Traditional Kyoto cuisine, we had waygu beef here (pork free)
If you prefer traditional Kyoto cuisine, Hachi could be your destination of choice at J’s Gate Dining. We sampled the wagyu set here that came with wagyu steak, roast beef, wagyu cutlet, bulgogi, roast vegetable, and rice, miso & edamame. A complete meal that should satisfy any beef lover.
Vito Cafe & Gelato (pork free)
Our fifth and final stop for the night was Vito Cafe & Gelato, where we had a sweet ending to the day. Vito also serve coffee in addition to gelato.
Japanese cuisine started in Malaysia with sushi and sashimi, and thankfully over the years, we are introduced to more and more different Japanese dishes to the country. Now we have Japanese bakery, cafe, egg tarts, teppanyaki, tendon, izakaya, ramen, pasta, pizza, and of course, one of my favorites – tonkatsu restaurants.
For the uninitiated, tonkatsu is basically breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet that is usually served with shredded cabbage. For those who are in low carb or keto diet (not that I am), this would make a fine meal.
salt, sweet, or slightly spicy sauce?
Tonkatsu by Ma Maison is one of the few Japanese restaurants serving tonkatsu in the country at the moment, and they’ve opened up a branch at Main Place in Subang, which is quite a fair bit closer to home for us than their 1-Utama or Publika branches.
Furthermore, I’ve recently being introduced to the ENTERTAINER Malaysia Appwhich offers a buy 1 main and get 1 free offer for Tonkatsu, so why not?
Yep, we only paid for 1 main out of the two, more on this below
pork loin has that perfect amount of fat I love
If you’re not familiar with Tonkatsu, there are basically two cuts you should concentrate on – pork loin, or rosu katsu is the version with a layer of rich fat, and hire katsu, pork fillet, which will be less fatty. I almost always went for rosu katsu.
miso katsu anyone?
At this restaurant there are a few sauces available, and here’s how you use them – the sesame sauce is for the cabbage, raw sesame for rice, sweet, or spicy sauce for the meat, as with the salt as well. Additionally, they also provide mustard on the side (feel free to ask for more). I find myself enjoying the combination of mustard and salt with the meat the most.
Rice, shredded cabbage, and even the miso soup is bottomless here, so knock yourself out.
The Entertainer app, buy one tonkatsu, get another free
Now about the ENTERTAINER Malaysia app. Well, it is basically an Android and iOS application that is full with buy one get one free offers. You browse through the offer via current location or by searching, click on the offer and redeem it at the venue (other services and attractions too, not just food).
The application is priced at RM 145 for the Malaysia version. If you’ve used it at a decent restaurant a couple times (or even just once at a higher end place), you’d have gotten your return of investment already.
Furthermore, if you purchase it with Promo Code KYSPEAKS2017, you get RM 50 off, just cos you hear it for me. Yah, RM 95 for all those deals is really quite a steal.
If you type Omakase in google, this is what you get:
(in a Japanese restaurant) a meal consisting of dishes selected by the chef.
So then, SOU Omakase is exactly what the name of the restaurant suggests – a Japanese outfit at Mid Valley Gardens that prides itself on their Omakase menu.
sou omakase mid valley gardens
Lunch starts at RM 98++ per person, and dinner comes with a choice of 4 different course –
SOU dinner course – RM 220
starter, chawanmushi, Japanese garnish food, sashimi, grilled dish, mouth wash, main course, rice course with miso soup, dessert with Japanese tea
Special dinner course – RM 320
starter, special fresh oyster, Japanese garnish food, special sashimi, grilled dish, mouth wash, main course, rice course with miso soup, dessert with Japanese tea
Special abalone course – RM 370
starter, Japanese soup, Japanese garnish food, special sashimi moriawase, special grilled abalone, mouth wash, main course, sushi 3 kinds with miso soup, home made dessert with Japanese tea
Tasting menu – RM 450
degustation menu offered by chef FUKUCHI, 10 courses.
foie gras salad
For the purpose of our review, we went for the tasting menu.
But first, if you’re heading to SOU Omakase, do note that it is located near the entrance of the Gardens Hotel, accessible via the Mall but through a tricky back door, with the restaurant facing Bangsar area of the building. It is much easier if you choose to valet park at the Gardens.
I won’t with fancy Japanese lingo for these dishes, since I assume many of you are like me who are heaps better in your command of English language than Japanese, we’ll stick with simple descriptions.
The dinner started with a beautiful dish of foie gras salad, a small chunk of perfectly seared goose liver with some greens and caviar. The ingredients itself speaks business.
Netherlands oyster with homemade tabasco
Second course was Netherlands oyster with homemade tabasco, one of the best ways to get more zinc to your system. I do like the taste of their homemade tabasco sauce, slightly milder yet more complex in texture.
snow crab with Spanish mackerel and Japanese winter melon soup
Then there’s snow crab with Spanish mackerel in Japanese winter melon soup, our first warm dish of the night. The dish reminds me of some high end Chinese soup dishes, but one with unmistakenly Japanese ingredients. Warm and comforting.
mini sushi with chopped tuna belly and sea urchin
Then it was a mini sushi to get our palette going for more raw seafood. Chopped tuna belly with sea urchin, two of the more premium sushi ingredients that packs a punch in savory index, perfectly balanced with freshly grated wasabi, a few slices of seaweed, and expertly prepared sushi rice.
butter fish with eel in yam paste
Butter fish with eel in yam paste was next. This is a dish that I think some may have trouble getting used to the texture, it was soft and slightly slimy in texture from the eel and yam, but does provide an interesting experience especially when feeling it in the mouth.
We then had an aperitif, simple yuzu with soda to get our taste buds afresh for the next course – sashimi.
Sashimi part 1, served with shoyu moose and hand grated wasabi
– octopus, yellow tail, mackerel
This was undoubtedly the highlight of the omakase course to me. The sashimi came in two parts, and served with shoyu moose (soya sauce in moose form) and freshly grated wasabi.
Part one was octopus, yellowtail, and mackerel. Merely saying they are “fresh” would be doing these dishes a disservice. The sashimi were paired with different combination of seaweed to compliment its natural tastes, and those shoyu moose provides an interesting, if not very convenient way of handling the amount of soya sauce you want in the sashimi. A new experience to me.
Sashimi part 2 – the fat stuff, Otoro and salmon belly
Part 2 of the sashi were the fatter stuff – otoro (tuna belly), and salmon belly. Both premium cuts were beautifully presented, and tastes even better than they look. The otoro with its special condiment was especially delicious, I can definitely do this again, and again, and again.
cod with miso stew
Then it was time for a table top hot pot experience that came in the form of cod with miso stew. Cod never disappoints, and with high quality miso, certainly makes for a bullet proof dish. I can have this with a bowl of rice and call it a meal and be perfectly content.
beef, braised tuna collar, or lamb as choices of main
Main course came in the form of either braised tuna collar, sliced wagyu beef, or lamb cutlets. Each were pretty rich in taste but not entirely too different from each other in terms of theme. The braised tuna collar was a first for me, and turned out to be probably too heavy to be part of a ten course meal. I was stuffed by the end of this, in a good way.
Inaniwa udon and salmon sushi
Penultimate dishes were a simple salmon sushi, and inaniwa udon. I had thought I’d never finish the udon due to how stuffed I was, but somehow there were no trace of udon left a few minutes later. When the food is good, you tend to negotiate extra space in the stomach somehow.
jelly, mochi, and coffee ice cream
Dessert came in the form of jelly, mochi, and coffee ice cream. They were beautifully presented, and while did not disappoint, I did not think that they stand out among the other dishes in the course. It was an adequate ending to the 10 course menu, an certainly an omakase experience that is worthy of the restaurant’s name.
Horng, Yuki, & Haze at SOU Omakase
I’m really intrigued to try their lunch menu and see how they stack up to the likes of TEN & Oribe at similar price point.
Address: SOU Omakase Lot G247, Ground Floor The Gardens, Mid Valley City Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.118658, 101.675286 Tel: 03-2202 1133 Hours: 11:30 am – 3 pm, 6 pm – 10 pm
Several weeks ago I was invited to Kurata Japanese Restaurant to preview their Okayama Fruit Fair. Fine Japanese food is among the top of my list, so obviously I accepted the invitation without hesitation. Furthermore, the invitation was referred to by Ringo, a dear friend, which made it all the better.
Okayama fruit fair at Kurata Japanese restaurant, Parkroyal KL
Kurata is located at the lower lobby of PARKROYAL Hotel, which itself is situated right across from Sungai Wang. While being quite familiar with Bukit Bintang, I must say that this was the first time I stepped foot into this restaurant.
First timer to the restaurant may find it a little bit difficult to find, and this is because for some reason unknown to me, Kurata is located WITHIN another hotel restaurant, but trust the signs, and you shall get there.
Shine Muscat, White Peach and New Pione,
sesame short bread with fruit topping, macaroon
Okayama, a prefecture in Chugoku, Japan, is also regarded as the “Kingdom of Fruits”. The region is known as the birthplace of some of the finest fruits Japanese has to offer, including the white peach.
Since this post is about Okayama, lets start with the fruits & desserts (although we were served with them last).
The fruit platter comes with shine muscat, white peach, and new pione. The muscat is seedless and has very high sugar content with low acidity, while the new Pione (also called black pearl) is so rich in flavor it’s almost like biting into wine, I love it. White peach needs no introduction, each bite is so delicate and juicy it’s unlike any peach I’ve ever had. Fantastic.
You can also have the fruits served on sasame short bread, with the pastry providing a contrast to bring out the sweetness of fruits even more. Alternatively, for macaroon lovers, how about some beautifully crafted macaroon stuffed with fresh Okayama fruits?
white peach roll cake in vanilla sauce, Peach and Tofu Parfait, Ringo & Haze
For those who like something richer, the white peach roll cake in vanilla sauce will certainly fit the bill, though you do lose the taste of freshness from the peach that some of us love so much.
The peach and tofu parfait is yet another way to enjoy the white peach, this dessert is delicate and doesn’t come with strong artificial sweetness like most parfait do, so for those who doesn’t like their desserts too sweet, this is perfect.
The fair run till end of August, 2015. (yeah, this post is a little late).
appetizer for Sushi Course at Kurata
Prior to all the Okayama goodness, we were also treated with the Sushi Course at Kurata (RM 190).
The course comes with appetizer in the form of beans, tofu, and angler fish liver with jelly. I can’t exactly remember the details of each ingredients, but they made a pretty good combination to kickstart the meal.
sashimi on ice
Next up was air flown sashimi – and no expenses were spared. We had kanpachi, otoro, and sake (salmon). The fresh fish were accompanied with grated wasabi, and if you haven’t had otoro with high grade soya sauce and grated wasabi, you haven’t experience the finest of sashimi. It was as good as any.
grilled alfonsino, wagyu beef, miso soup
The course next switched to something more savory, in the form of grilled alfonsino fish with a side of pickled bamboo shoots.
To be honest, I think grilled alfonsino is perhaps a dish that requires a bit of an acquired taste. This is not the first time I had it, but I still think the rather firm texture and sweetish taste isn’t something that “blows my mind”, so to speak. It was nice, but it wasn’t great.
We were then served with miso soup.
assorted sushi, including my favorite – uni (sea urchin)
The main dish of assorted sashimi were then served, and it was among some of the best I’ve had. The presentation was basic and straight to the point, but the sweet shrimp, sea urchin, salmon, kanpachi, salmon roe, and even the sushi roll were really well crafted and more than meet expectations.
Food at Kurata is certainly worth exploring, and for those who like a quiet and romantic ambiance, this may fit the bill perfectly.
Address: Kurata Japanese Restaurant Lower Lobby, PARKROYAL HOTEL. Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.144423, 101.712351 Tel: 03-2110 0226 Hours: Wednesday and Thursday Lunch close, Sunday dinner close
Getting to Maruhi Sakaba isn’t a problem, but identifying the exact shop lot proved to be a bit of a challenge. For some strange reasons, the owner decided that a Kanji signboard designed for ants would be sufficient. Nonetheless, if you walk towards the center of the shop lots (Faber Plaza) from Public Bank at the corner, you won’t miss it.
chicken sashimi, baby intestine carpaccio, organ meat stew
There are two menus at Maruhi Sakaba, the laminated version showcase over two dozen dishes, while another portable white-board menu gives you an additional 15-18 dishes that aren’t as “permanent”.
We ended up ordering over 3 quarters of what they offer.
Lets start with the non-grilled items. Chicken sashimi (RM 15) is something that we haven’t tried before, it tasted a bit like tuna carpaccio with a slightly more chicken taste, not particularly impressive but rather interesting for a first timer. Baby intestine carpaccio (RM 10) was crunchy and rich, goes well with beer. Then there’s the organ meat stew (RM 10), with the broth so sweet we just had to order a few more bowls, you need to order this if you’re there.
pan fried egg on rice, grilled pork rice, and cold appetizers
For those who want to fill up their stomach quicker, there are rice dishes such as the medamayaki (fried egg on rice, RM 7) or yakibula don (grilled pork & vege on rice, RM 20), both versions were pretty tasty according to those who ordered.
There are also some vegetarian appetizers here, including tofu and wakame salad, (RM 8), pickled cucumber (RM 5), Hiyashi tomato (RM 5), and shio cabbage (RM 5). I recommend not having these as appetizers but use these dishes as refreshers for your tongue in between the yakitori sticks that tends to be a bit more oily and savory.
chicken, pork, mushroom, tomato, okra, and even brinjal yakitori
Then the question is, how are the yakitoris?
Well, for the most part, they are pretty darn good. Prices per stick ranges from about RM 3 to RM 5, and service was rather fast. We never had to wait for more than 10-15 minutes for our dishes to come, so ordering in the middle of eating won’t really interrupt the “flow” at all.
I liked their chicken wings, chicken skin, and pork belly sticks, and also particularly happy that they have quite a few choices of vegetable yakitori as well. The brinjal and lady’s fingers were quite awesome too.
we sure had a great time at Maruhi Sakaba, it was Suan’s birthday!
Maruhi Sakaba also serves a few types of Japanese beer and sake.
Of course, this place is not without flaws, for one, it would be great if there’s air conditioning and maybe better chairs. But for the price and quality of food and services, we’re not going to complain much. Filling up our belly with plenty of meat and a few glasses of beer totaled up to RM 40-50 per pax. Would go again.
Address: Maruhi Sakaba 6A, Faber Plaza, Jalan Desa Jaya, Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.102578, 101.682947 Hours: 6 pm-11 pm daily, closed on Mondays