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Tag / japanese cuisine

The first time I tried to go to Coco Tei, the Japanese restaurant formerly known as Hajime, was an exercise in patience. I took over 15 minutes driving around its previous location at Jalan Damai looking for the restaurant to no avail, there were no sightings of Hajime nor Coco Tei because well, it hasn’t been at Jalan Damai for over 2 years now even though Google map and some outdated blog posts tried to convince me otherwise.

Coco-Tei's set lunch menu
Coco-Tei’s set lunch menu

As it turns out, the new location is at Jalan Delima, sandwiched between the more glamorous Fukuya and the quirky Renoma Cafe.

Anyway, lets get back to Coco.Tei.

The restaurant is attached to a paid parking lot, but diners get complimentary parking, a feature that is always very useful especially if you’re going for weekday lunches. Who wants to spend 5 mins looking for a spot and walk another 5 under the hot sun?

every set comes with rice, miso, pickles, and chawanmushi
every set comes with rice, miso, pickles, and chawanmushi

The lunch combinations at Coco Tei is pretty special, you choose two dishes from three different categories and pay RM 30++ for category A+A, RM 33++ for A+B or B+B, and RM 36++ for A+C, B+C, or C+C. Adding an extra dish from category A is another RM 12++, or RM 15++ from category B/C.

Make sense?

Now here are what you can choose from (correct in time of writing)

  • Category A – salmon sashimi, tuna sashimi, salmon & tuna sashimi, raw salmon salad, crab stick with mayo roll, grilled mackerel, grilled giant mushroom, california, spicy tuna, or raw salmon roll, agedeshi tofu, lady finger & mushroom kimchi, mixed vegetable tempura
  • Category B – spider maki, soft shell crab salad, salmon with truffle oil dressing, salmon skin salad, raw salmon with garlic sauce, fried chicken cutlet with omelet, deep fried chicken, mixed/prawn tempura, california + salmon hand roll, mixed sushi (3 pieces), salmon cheese hand roll, salmon corquette, deep fried chicken teriyaki, deep fried oyster, deep fried squid, grilled scallop with butter
  • Category C – sashimi morawase, white tuna sashimi, mixed maki (3 pieces), salmon boxed sushi (3 pieces), salmon hana sushi (3 pieces), fried seafood with butter, unagi kabayaki, grilled cod fish, grilled salmon with teriyaki sauce, fried shrimp with garlic, shrimp tempura with mango roll, beef with ginger sauce, unagi with omelet

All lunch set also come with rice, miso, pickle, and chawanmushi.

If you’re fancy with math, a simple calculation shows that there are 1681 combinations from the 41 dishes you can choose. How many combinations fall onto each price group is left as your homework.

example of sashimi morawase + hotate butteryaki (category B+C)
example of sashimi morawase + hotate butteryaki (category B+C)

Anyway, during our visit, I had sashimi morawase and hotate butteryaki (B+C = RM 36++). The sashimi was pretty fresh and rather decent tasting, the cuttings were appropriately thick. The three pieces of scallops was of decent size as well. The serving was a bit small I thought, but with chawamushi, rice, and miso soup, it was actually sufficient.

Haze and KY enjoying a quiet lunch at Coco-Tei
Haze and KY enjoying a quiet lunch at Coco-Tei

Haze‘s set consisted two hand rolls and a serving of unagi kabayaki. The hand rolls were decent, and the river eel went well with rice.

While the food didn’t exactly wowed me, the ambiance was nice and service at Coco Tei commendable. It is a decent place to suppress your Japanese cravings, but for another RM 10-20, you could have quite a lot more at Fukuya just down the road, though at the expense of getting to choose from different categories.

The dinner menu looks to be quite impressive, so we might have to come back again one of these days.

map to Coco-Tei Japanese restaurant

Address:
Coco.Tei
No.5, GF-B, Jalan Delima, 55100
Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia
GPS: 3.146322, 101.720585
Tel: 1800-88-6655
Web: www.cocotei.com
Hours: 10:30am – 2:30pm, 6pm – 10:30pm

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 33 
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

Ten Fine Dining Restaurant is back, relocated from their previous location at Publika (where I got to meet Iron Chef Sakai in 2011). The new location at Marc Residence replaced the lot that Delicious used to operate. Right by KLCC, it has much better visibility than being in the maze that is Publika.

I was fortunate enough to be one of the few who was invited to a review session at Ten last week.

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

The floor plan isn’t exactly conventional. There’s a long dining hall with smaller private rooms on the sides, with another big classy private dining hall that can house some 20 people at right side of the entrance. The interior decoration certainly has a flavor of modern Japanese styling but one that does not stray too far from the tradition, as evident with the stone garden at the other end of the restaurant.

unique Japanese Dango, cocktails
unique Japanese Dango, cocktails

Our review is on the four course degustation lunch  menu that starts with the unique Japanese Dango made with seasonal vegetables filled with French foie gras.

The three dango (or dumplings) were made from carrot, sweet potato, and yam. The taste was subtle yet exquisite, with the bits of foie gras enhancing the overall flavor. Katsuobushi (smoked skipjack tuna) and leek shavings giving the soup an extra touch of sophistication, a good way to start our lunch.

assorted ocean fresh sushi & sashimi
assorted ocean fresh sushi & sashimi

The second course had a simple description on the menu – assorted ocean fish sushi and sashimi. On the plate these beautifully crafted delights:

  • grilled baramundi and sushi rice with salmon roe
  • slow cooked scallop with chili and plum paste
  • poached alfonsino fish marinated with natto soy sauce
  • simmered white clam with sticky egg sauce and grilled sushi rice
  • Otoro (tuna belly) sashimi and tuna tartar with a hint of truffle flavor
  • geoduck with Italian leaf soy
  • anago (salt water eel) with black garlic vinegar
  • Tasmanian salmon sushi with mascarpone sauce
  • Tasmanian lobster sushi with deep fried leek soy sauce

It was hard to choose a favorite, and if I had to pick one I’d probably choose the otoro, with truffle flavor really adding to the already superb cut of tuna belly. While I personally dislike natto somehow worked, and I even helped my table-neighbor finished hers.

This was by far the most sophisticated plate of sushi/sashimi I’ve ever tasted. If you’re a fan of Japanese food, this is a must try.

teppanyaki styled Miyazaki A5 wagyu beef
teppanyaki styled Miyazaki A5 wagyu beef

Our third course was another masterpiece. Teppanyaki styled Miyazaki A5 Wagyu beef served with Tasmanian garlic chips and daikon.

I asked for mine to be prepared rare (chef recommended only rare or medium-rare), and it was truly glorious. A bit of freshly grated wasabi complemented the meat beautifully. Teppanyaki and ponzu sauce is available, but to truly enjoy a piece of red meat, none were really required. The garlic chips were great to have in between those chunks of pure heaven.

Ten's specialty desserts
Ten’s specialty desserts 

The sad thing is, every meal has to eventually come to a conclusion, and the fourth course was a dual of Ten’s specialty desserts. It was perhaps impossible to keep up to the excellence of the previous three courses, but dessert lovers would not be disappointed with the bitter sweet chocolates and the sweet & sour combination of plumb and jelly.

Nana, Michelle, KY, Chenelle, Tian Chad
Nana, Michelle, KY, Chenelle, Tian Chad

Ten Japanese Fine Dining will have some pretty stiff competition in a few other restaurants within the vicinity. Ozeki Tokyo Cuisine offers great lunch value and is just a stone’s throw away at Menara TA, Fukuya at Jalan Delima can never be discounted for fine Japanese foods, and Fukuhara too is a fine alternative if you’re looking for a good evening of Japanese delights.

Ultimately though, I think Ten does manage to set itself apart with it’s modern offerings and pretty unique menu. Teppanyaki course is at RM 200 and RM 300, Sushi course at RM 300, and Omakase (degustation) course is priced at RM 300 per person.

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

I first discovered Fukuya Japanese restaurant while having lunch at the cheaper alternative that is Levain right next door (decent “Italian” food, great for lunch), and subsequently paid a visit all by myself a couple months ago when I was overcame by the craving for some good Japanese food.

I’ve been there a few more times since, this review is from 3 separate visits to Fukuya, twice for lunch and once over dinner.

Fukuya Japanese restaurant at Jalan Delima, KL
Fukuya Japanese restaurant at Jalan Delima, KL

Located at Jalan Delima, Fukuya is situated in a building that was most likely a posh single story bungalow in its previous life.

The restaurant is classy with minimalistic but tasteful decoration, and there’s also free valet service on premise.

Siero set with scallops
Siero set with scallops, RM 43++, lunch

The menu for set lunch includes some half a dozen sets ranging from RM 40 to 80, with a choice of main ingredients in many of them. (check out their website for menu)

Ya-bento at Fukuya Japanese Restaurant, bet you can’t find a RM 50++ for lunch that offers more than this. There’s salad, beef, tamago, salmon, prawn, fried chicken, miso soup, vege, sashimi etc. #kyeats #japanese #lunchset #halal #sashimi #fukuya

A post shared by KY (@kyspeaks) on

My first trial was the Siero set with scallops in favor of grilled eel or salmon. It came with tempura, sashimi, salad, miso soup, chawanmushi, pickles, and small dessert. While RM 43++ isn’t exactly a cheap lunch option, what you get is certainly value for money. Ingredients were fresh, and those four huge scallops? They were fat, juicy, and absolutely delightful.

The tempura, chawanmushi, sashimi, and even miso soup were all of quality and did not disappoint in my taste buds.

Wa-Sushi bento
Wa-Sushi bento, RM 58++, lunch

The next visit was also over lunch, this time with Horng and I ordered the Wa-Sushi bento (RM 58++). This had tofu, chawanmushi, salad, a selection of sushi, some grilled seafood, vege, miso, tamago, and more.

For those who kept complaining that we don’t get proper sushi here in Malaysia, this is the place to come. You get the raw fish touching the plate on both ends while sitting on the sushi rice. The ratio of fish vs rice was right, and everything else was again, top notch.

I have to go there again to try their other set lunches, for science!

sashimi set, RM 110++, dinner
Sashimi set, RM 110++, dinner

My most recent visit to Fukuya was with Haze over dinner. We ended up there due to my memory playing tricks on me thinking I had a food review at Renoma Cafe, which was actually happening only a week after.

I went for the plainly named Sashimi set (RM 110++). The set includes chawanmushi, miso soup, appetizer, pickles, desserts, and of course – those glorious raw fish. I’m usually not a huge fan of tako sashimi (octopus), but the version served here was so good I actually miss it now. Of course, like all proper Japanese restaurant, freshly grated wasabi is served.

Agedeshi tofu, Tempura, Karaage, Unagi rice
Agedeshi tofu, Tempura, Karaage, Unagi rice

Haze chose to order ala-carte instead of set and went for agedeshi tofu, tempura, karaage (fried chicken), and unagi don (grilled eel rice).

She gave nothing but glowing reviews of the dishes ordered. I particularly like the fried chicken, it was something simple but yet they just seemed to hit the right spot on its taste and texture. It might sound crazy, but I think this is a dish worth trying if you’re there.

Haze and KY, well satisfied at Fukuya
Haze and KY, well satisfied at Fukuya

Dinner ended up costing us over RM 200, but we left happy and I’m sure to return. Fukuya also serves wine, sake, and choices of desserts. One day when I hit the lottery or something, I shall try their chef’s recommendation seasonal kaiseki course *keeping my fingers crossed*

map to Fukuya Japanese restaurant, KL

Address:
Fukuya
No 9 Jalan Delima,
55100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.14629, 101.72064
Web: fukuya.net.my
Tel03-2144 1022

Japanese cuisine is perhaps the most mature foreign cuisine in the country, from PJ to KL, Penang to Johor, you’ll find them all over the place mostly serving sushi, sashimi, teriyaki, teppanyaki, soba, ramen, and more.

This is a good thing, it creates an environment with healthy competitive spirits among Japanese restaurants. Some strives to provide cheaper prices, some a great dining experience, and others come up with creative and delicious dishes not easily found anywhere else. Fukuharu at Terrace in Ampang got it right by managing to provide two out of the three points in this “measurement”.

Fukuharu at Terrace, Ampang
Fukuharu at Terrace, Ampang

Nestled in a classy bungalow just off Jalan Ampang, Fukuharu Japanese restaurant is unlike most .. well, restaurants. There’s lush green lawn and even a swimming pool by the side. Inside, the dining hall is tastefully decorated. On a sunny afternoon, the hall is mainly lit by natural sun light, giving it a bright yet cozy feeling that I really like.

Together with Evelyn and Veron, I was invited by Poesy to a review session at Fukuharu over lunch, hosted by the Japanese restaurant manager, Masamichi-san.

seafood korokke and tamago mentai sushi
seafood korokke and tamago mentai sushi

We started out with the specialty dish of the restaurant – Tamango Mentai Sushi (RM 15). Mentai is one of my favorite ingredients of all time, and the combination with one of the simplest ingredients in tamago (grilled egg) was surprisingly awesome. The soft texture gives way to the extreme savory taste from mentai, brilliant. This is a must order.

The Seafood Korokke (RM 22) wouldn’t be a dish unfamiliar to those who has had crab cakes, except this dish was a bit creamier and has more seafood ingredients in it. I like those tiny sprouts on top and thought it gives the dish more balance. You’ll find prawns, scallops, fish, and potato in this seafood “cake”.

chef's sashimi selection, salmon tataki salad
chef’s sashimi selection, salmon tataki salad

Chef’s Sashimi Selection (RM 38) isn’t a “big” dish for the price, but one with superior quality and a pretty interesting presentation. Instead of pure traditional style, this sashimi dish is served with truffle oil and wasabi dressing on top of some salad that’s more at home in Western restaurants. The interpretation does work very well and I love the combination of truffle oil with raw fish, wonder why it’s not done more often.

For those who wants to opt for a light healthy lunch, the Salmon Tataki Salad (RM 28) would be a good selection. Flash seared salmon with home made Caesar dressing, this salad is one that I wouldn’t mind having (in addition to other dishes tho, hehehe). I like the fact that they serve it with some ikura as well.

lamb moromisoyaki
lamb moromisoyaki – this is super delicious!

Lamb Moromisoyaki (RM 35) was probably the first Japanese lamb dish I’ve ever tasted, and incidentally it was also one of the best dishes on the afternoon. The lamb rack marinated with mori-miso and then carefully grilled to perfection. It was glorious, the slight saltiness of mori-miso together with the savory taste from lamb was perfect, I wish the serving was bigger.

Veron even ordered a portion to take away.

unagi kamameshi and hotate kamameshi
unagi kamameshi and hotate kamameshi

For those who likes clay pot rice, unagi kamameshi and hotate kamameshi (RM 35 each) will give you a taste of Japanese way of preparing these dishes. Both were served with generous amount of eel or scallops. If you love the slightly burnt taste of rice, don’t over stir it (I’m sure those with experience in clay pot chicken rice knows this trick already).

black sesame cheesecake, chawan mushi
black sesame cheesecake, chawan mushi

Fukuharu also serves their chawan mushi  (RM 12) slightly differently, a version that is a tad bigger in portion and quite a lot softer in texture. They’re also prepared fresh here, but to me, perhaps a dish that is priced a bit too high for what you get.

The black sesame cheesecake (RM 18) tho, is a combination of taste that’s new to me, and one that shouldn’t disappoint any dessert lover. I find myself enjoying this quite a bit more than I usually do with any desserts.

KY, Masamichi-san, Evelyn, Veron, Poesy
KY, Masamichi-san, Evelyn, Veron, Poesy

For ice cream lovers, you’d find black sasame, green tea, and a couple other types of ice cream around here as well. They tasted as these ice creams usually do, doesn’t disappoint, but not exactly special either.

Ultimately, Fukuharu is a Japanese restaurant that managed to carve a niche in this crowded market with the dishes they serve while being fairly competitive in pricing. I’d love to go there again.

Thanks for the invite and the ride, Poesy!

map to Fukuharu, off Jalan Ampang

Address:
Fukuharu Japanese Restaurant
Terrace Hock Choon
241-B, Lorong Nibong
Off Jalan Ampang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.159799, 101.728717
Tel: 017-209-8477