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Tag / Japanese

While Japanese affair at higher end restaurants can be pretty damaging to the pocket, many of those places also offer a lunch menu with much better deals. One of the places we visited a couple times for lunch over the past few months was Hanare Authentic Japanese Cuisine at The Intermark.

Hanare at The Intermark
Hanare at The Intermark

The restaurant is located on the ground floor, just below the lobby of Double Tree by Hilton. The interior is tastefully decorated, with open kitchen, a sushi/sashimi bar, and a teppanyaki bar.

This place has a great ambiance, but terrible cell data service. Luckily, wifi is available for those of you who can’t eat without staying online with your smartphone.

combination set - sashimi and kakiage prawns
combination set – sashimi and teppanyaki ebi hotate

One of the more popular lunch options here is the combination menu. For RM 48++, you get to choose from any of these two options:

  • sashimi mori (3 kinds of sashimi)
  • shake sashimi (salmon)
  • yaki sakana (grilled fish – cod, mackerel, or salmon)
  • unagi kabayaki
  • tori katsu (deep fried breadcrumb chicken)
  • tempura mori (assorted tempura)
  • kakiage (deep fried kakiage prawns and vegetables)
  • teppanyaki ebi hotate (teppanyaki prawn & scallops)
  • tori teriyaki (chicken teriyaki)
  • kaki fry (deep fried oyster)

The set also comes with appetizer, salad, chawanmushi, and a dessert. This is pretty similar to the deals at Ozeki Tokyo Cuisine and Coco-Tei Japanese Restaurant.

chicken teriyaki, grilled cod, sashimi, custard
chicken teriyaki, grilled cod, sashimi, custard

While the portions look rather small individually, the combination of them really does fill up the stomach.

Other than the combination set, there are sushi bento (RM 70), makunouchi bento (RM 55), a light salad lunch (RM 38), and dedicated lunch sets with sushi (RM 70), sukiyaki (RM 75), mixed fried seafood (RM 48), steak teppan (RM 80), and more.

bara chirashi sushi, one of my favorites
bara chirashi sushi, one of my favorites

Another entry in the menu I tried here was the bara chirashi sushi (RM 45). It is similar to the basic chirashi sushi but with the seafood usually cut in cubes instead of the traditional sushi/sashimi cuts. The choice certainly did not disappoint.

Prices at Hanare is actually a little on the higher side when it comes to lunch sets, but for the quality of food as well as the ambiance of the restaurant, I think that this is a fine option.

map to The Intermark

Address:
Hanare
Lot G 06, Ground Floor
The Intermark

348, Jalan Tun Razak
Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.16154, 101.71996
Webwww.globalfoods.com.my

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

For a very long time the section of Pavilion KL on the 6th floor right above Harvey Norman was sealed off for renovation. The site is now reopened to public in a pretty radical transformation that is Tokyo Street, with 32 new outlets of Japanese themed products and services.

Tokyo Street at Pavilion KL
Tokyo Street at Pavilion KL

With this, I think Pavilion has successfully beefed up the previously lackluster 6th floor. It now at least sits on even keel with the dining options at basement, albeit catering to a slightly higher market.

One of the new restaurants at Tokyo Street is none other than Hokkaido Santouka Ramen, the famous ramen chain hailed from Hokkaido and was previously only available closest to us in Singapore. I had it there a couple years ago and at the time. It was a … “life changing” experience that left me wondering why we don’t have them here.

Well, now it is here, so I just had to check it out.

Santouka Ramen, now in Pavilion KL's Tokyo Street
Santouka Ramen, now in Pavilion KL’s Tokyo Street

I guess I was not alone, there seems to be quite a lot of people who are dying to get a taste of Santouka’s famous ramen. Over lunch time, the line just for getting into the restaurant can be quite daunting.

As of 2nd August, 2011, Santouka was still operating with limited menu, but the dishes that I was eyeing was there – the pork ramen, of course.

pork ramen with salt & miso pork broth
pork ramen with salt (left) & miso (right) pork broth

There were four types of pork ramen with different broth (all pork base) – shio ramen (salt flavor), shoyu ramen (soya sauce flavor), miso ramen (soyabean flavor), kara-miso ramen (spicy soybean paste flavor).

The ramen comes in 3 sizes, S, M, and L. We were advised to pick M size since it was only RM 2-3 more at RM 25 and comes with 2 pieces of pork instead of one. Not too sure if L size comes with even more pork, hmmm…

check out the pork, the ramen, and of course, naruto
check out the pork, the ramen, and of course, naruto

I had the classic shio ramen that came with the sliced pork (not chasiu), bamboo shoots, leek, narutomaki, and ramen noodle soaked in the salt flavored pork broth. There’s also a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and that is all, no eggs, no fried garlic, or any other condiments.

The verdict – wow, the soup, and the pork, they were superb! I probably still favors the hand made noodle from Ton Chan at Wisma Cosway just across the road, and kinda miss the fried garlic and egg at Marutama, Fahrenheit 88 (also just across the road), but as far as soup goes, Santouka takes the crown for me right now, though I would still continue to visit the other two outlets.

The more choices the better. Bukit Bintang area now has at least 3 pork ramen places within a stone’s throw away from each other.

KY & Sheng at Santouka Ramen, Pavilion KL
KY & Sheng at Santouka Ramen, Pavilion KL

Note: I was wrongly given only 1 piece of sliced pork for my M size ramen, but upon notifying the waiter, I was given 2 replacement pork instead! Service – *like*!

map to Pavilion KL

Address:
Hokkaido Santouka Ramen
6.24.03, Level 6, Pavilion
Jln Bukit Bintang
Kuala Lumpur

GPS3.148872, 101.713368

SS15 in Subang is seriously shaping up as the premier one stop center for Japanese food. Years ago, there was Rakuzen, and now, the number of restaurants at this little area has blossomed to double digit. One of the latest installment being Yamada.

Having blogged about Rakuzen, Hyotan, Jyu Raku, and Sumi Ka, I guess it make sense to pay a visit to Yamada as well.

Yamada Japanese restuarant at Subang SS15
Yamada Japanese restuarant at Subang SS15

Yamada is located right across the road from SJMC, just a few doors down from Jyu Raku and Rakuzen. Whenever a restaurant opens among the more established and still able to attract customers, you know they must be at least decent.

The crowd at weekend night when we were there mainly consists of Japanese expats, and the chef himself is an old Japanese guy, that’s always a good start.

Yamada Bento
Yamada Bento – fried chicken, sashimi, tempura, unagi, and more

I went for Yamada Bento (RM 60) that came with quite a lot of stuff, chicken karaage (fried chicken), tempura, sashimi, unagi, potato salad, saba, and miso soup.

The sashimi tasted pretty awesome, with hotate (scallop), salmon, surf clam, yellow tail, and one of the better cuts of tuna. Chicken was pretty good if not slightly oily. I don’t have any negative feedbacks for the tempura, unagi, or potato salad, but I thought the saba (i think it was saba fish) was a little over cooked to be honest.

potato salad, california handroll, saba, torikara bento
potato salad, california handroll, saba, torikara bento

Haze ordered a serving of potato salad (RM 12), a california handroll (RM 8), and the saba, torikara bento (RM 48). That was of course, a bit too much food. The bento came with saba that tasted nicer than mine, the same chicken, and a bowl of ramen that I thought tasted rather good. Instead of avocado, the california roll curiously had mango in it, a little strange but it worked.

map to Yamada Japanese restaurant

Compared to some the competitors, the price at Yamada seems a bit steeper. As for food wise, the quality is there but I didn’t think it was always spot on. Next time I’m gonna spy on the Japanese customers to see what they order. I suspect most of their raw stuff must be very good, as I can attest with the serving of sashimi in my bento.

There’re still a handful of Japanese restaurants at the area I haven’t been too, next time then!

Address:
Yamada Japanese Restaurant
No. 5, Jalan SS15/5A,
47500 Subang Jaya,
Selangor Darul Ehsan

GPS: 3.078895, 101.592711
Tel: 03-5635-2574

Last week I went to Japan… or a restaurant in Subang that felt like it belongs somewhere in a Tokyo suburb.

Together with Haze, Cheesie, and Taka, we went to Sumi Ka at SS 15, a yakitori place swore by Taka, who is actually a Japanese and not some Malaysia with a foreign name (such as Gareth, for example).

Sumi Ka Yakiniku Japanese Restaurant
Sumi Ka Yakitori, with more Japanese than Malaysian customers

It was a Wednesday evening, so we did not bother to call up for a reservation. After all, how many people could possibly go to a restaurant that’s located on 1st floor in the middle of SS 15 on a weekday?

Big mistake, the place was packed, and all but a couple tables were occupied by Japanese. The place is filled with smokes not only from the grill but from the tobacco loving people, it had the smell of a proper Japanese restaurant, the cacophony of chatters in Japanese completes the foreign ambiance. I loved it.

We waited at the stairs for a good 20 minutes before getting a table by the corner. It was the correct decision despite the look of protest in cheesie’s eyes.

quail egg, chicken cartilage, gizzard, chicken butt
uzura tamago (quail eggs), sunazuri (gizzard),
nankotu (cartilage), bonhiri (chicken butt)

Since the language on the menu wasn’t very agreeable with me, I left the task of ordering to the pro. Taka got  us 7 different types of yakitori, 3 rice bowls, potato salad, and the customary cabbage salad too.

The yakitori were insanely good. We started out with uzura tamago (quail eggs, RM 3 each) and some sunazuri (chicken gizzard, RM 6). They were really good, but not exactly the type of ingredients that are difficult to grill well.

Then came nankotu (chicken cartilage, RM 4), which is actually the piece of “soft bone” from the center of chicken breast. The texture was superb, slightly crunchy and mixed perfectly with the little bit of meat on it.

Then there’s the bonhiri (chicken butt/bisho’s nose RM 3) that was just out of this world. There wasn’t any gross splashing of liquid fat in your mouth, it was just a mixture of fat, salt, skin, and meat that came together like an awesome symphony. You gotta try this one even if you aren’t particularly a big bishop nose’s fan.

chicken skin, grilled lamb, gyutan (ox tongue)
kawa (chicken skin), lamb yakitori, gyutan (ox tongue)

Kawa (chicken skin, RM 3) was up next, again I failed to understand how massive amount of salt on grilled chicken skin could taste so good, but it was exactly the case. Baffling. I need more!

We also had beef and mutton yakitori (RM 4) that Haze described as the most awesome yakitori she has ever tasted. The gyutan (ox tongue, RM 6) was also one of my favorites. Just the right texture and that ox tongue flavor that carries the taste not particularly related with french kissing a cow.

potato salad, rice bowls
potato salad, oyakodon (chicken & egg), yakitori don, tea rice thingy

Other than the yakitori, we had some yummy potato salad (RM 12) and a few rice bowls to help fill up the stomach. These tasted rather good too, authentic and true to the taste.

I learned that the chicken and egg rice bowl is called oyakodon (RM 14), which directly translate to “parents and children”. Chicken and egg, whole family murdered, just for our consumption, ahh, I love being a human.

Yakitori don (RM 14) proved slightly redundant, it was good but I think on hindsight we should have tried something else. The tea rice bowl thingy that Cheesie ordered was perfect to sorta wash off the greasy taste after all those grilled food though.

cabbage salad, cheesie, taka, KY, haze
Cheesie, Taka, KY, Haze at Sumi Ka Yakitori

The meal was excellent, and I am going to get the list of restaurants to go to from Taka. This dudes really has good taste. By the way, don’t go to this restaurant, it is already packed as is, and Cheesie won’t be happy if she has to wait again, she’ll blame me. FML

You can instead go to Yakiniku at Cheras which is quite a lot cheaper to get your fix, they serve pork there. Go there instead, the food tastes decent, don’t go to Sumi Ka, leave the empty seats for me instead :D

sumi ka yakitori map

Address:
Sumi-Ka Restaurant
No. 19, Jalan SS 15/4
47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor

GPS: 3.075327, 101.588677
Tel: 03-5632 9312/016-224 9312