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Tag / Japanese-Food

A week or so ago, I was lucky enough to get invited to one of the more exclusive dinner previews in town – to sample the All Kansai Festival dinner at Kampachi Pavilion KL.

The festival runs from 15th – 23rd of February 2014, including traditional street performances, takoyaki workshop, stage performances, and of course, Kaiseki dinner, which happens on 19, 20, & 21 February 2014 (priced at RM 300+)

All Kansai Festival, only at Kampachi, Pavilion KL
All Kansai Festival, only at Kampachi, Pavilion KL

The festival is exclusive only to Kampachi at Pavilion. For the tasting session, we had a subset of the menu. Instead of the full 9 course dinner, we sampled 6 dishes, mainly due to the fact that certain ingredients for other dishes will not arrive until the slated days to ensure freshness.

Anyway, lets get started.

Fresh Oyster with Ponzu Vinegar Gelée, Clear Soup with Clam
Fresh Oyster with Ponzu Vinegar Gelée, Clear Soup with Clam

Our first course was Kaki no Ponzu Jure (Fresh Oyster with Ponzu Vinegar Gelée). Served on a bed of ice, the oyster was huge and succulent, with the ponzu gelée giving it that extra sophistication. This version is the best way I’ve had oyster yet, beats the usual lemon or worse, tabasco sauce by a mile.

Next up was Hamaguri, Uguisuna, Harinegi, Kinome (Clear Soup with Clam, Japanese Mustard Spinach, Julienned Leek & Young Japanese Pepper Buds). This was not your ordinary miso soup, it was subtle and very refreshing. The huge clam certainly provided an unmistakable seafood sweetness to the clear soup.

Slices of Raw Fish – Tuna, Ark Shell & Yellowtail
Slices of Raw Fish – Tuna, Ark Shell & Yellowtail

No Kaiseki menu is complete without sashimi. We had Maguro, Akagai, Hamachi (Slices of Raw Fish – Tuna, Ark Shell & Yellowtail). The premium raw seafood was served on a bed of ice with grated wasabi. My favorite out of the three was the ark shell, fresh, crunchy, with a blend of sweetness and savoury taste. Excellent.

Grilled Yellowtail with Teriyaki Sauce
Grilled Yellowtail with Teriyaki Sauce

Tennen Hamachi Teriyaki Manganji Togarashi Syoyuzuke (Grilled Yellowtail with Teriyaki Sauce garnished with Marinated Manganji Green Pepper) came next. While it was a more than decent dish on its own, I believe that with wild Amberjack (as intended during the festival) would elevate this dish to a new height as the texture of Amberjack would be superior to Yellowtail when grilled.

Boxed Sushi with Seabream, Prawn, & Conger Eel
Boxed Sushi with Seabream, Prawn, & Conger Eel

Sushi came next, in the form of Sanshoku Oshizushi (Box Sushi with Sea Bream, Prawn & Conger Ee). To be honest, this was the first time I had pressed sushi, the texture is a quite a bit different from the usual nigri sushi (hand made rice ball with raw seafood on top), maki (rolled sushi), or temaki (hand roll). The rice in boxed sushi is a bit denser, providing a different experience.

Yuzu Mousse, Kampachi Signature Peanut Mochi
Yuzu Mousse, Kampachi Signature Peanut Mochi

Our dessert was Yuzu Mousse (Japanese Citrus Mousse), refreshing and perfect for a sweet ending.

We couldn’t help ourselves and asked for Kampachi’s Signature Peanut Mochi as well. The mochi is served warm and covered with mountain of crushed peanut and sugar, similar with the traditional mochi found in Penang’s hawker scene, except more refined. I find myself enjoying this very much.

The seats for Kansai Festival dinner menu is fast selling out (I believe 21st Feb already sold out), so book yourself an awesome dinner if you’re a fan of Japanese food. Check their website for full menu and other information.

we had a great time sampling the Kansai Festival Menu
we had a great time sampling the Kansai Festival Menu

map to Pavilion KL

Address:
Kampachi
Level 6, Pavilion
Jln Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur

GPS3.148872, 101.713368
Tel03-2148 9608
Websitewww.kampachi.com.my
Hours: 10 am to 10 pm

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

Ten Japanese Fine Dining

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)

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.com.my
Tel03-2144 1022

Fukuya

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Now check this video with the latest update of the mysterious light captured in Hengstacker Tunnel, this is the latest update to the strange highway incident in Germany. It’ll be interesting to see the cargo and that chasing car actually are.

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