A couple weeks ago I was invited to a short weekend trip to Johor by some blogger friends. I gotta admit that I’m absolutely not familiar with the food scene in JB, having only been there a few times mainly for work where mobility for meals is pretty restricted.
October Japanese Restaurant, JB
Our first destination of the trip was October Japanese Restaurant, located near Mount Austin, a more upscale area in Johor Bahru. The restaurant is a converted residential unit with nice lush lawn and plenty of parking spots at the back.
While we may still be in December, October Japanese Restaurant already came up with their Chinese New Year dishes, and we were lucky enough to sample some of them.
Prosperity “Yee Sang” Assorted Sashimi with Wasabi Sauce
We started out with the Prosperity “Yee Sang” Assorted Sashimi with Wasabi Sauce (RM 68/RM 108 nett) that came with generous slices of – Norwegian Salmon, Maguro (Tuna) and Hamachi (Yellow Tail). They’ve also added fried Gyoza Skin and Roasted Almond Flakes to give the dish more crunchiness. A good alternative to consider for your “lou sang” session.
Auspicious Flaming Nabe
Then there’s the Auspicious Flaming Nabe (RM68.80 nett), with Norwegian Salmon and chicken breast mixing in with Shitake mushrooms, leeks and carrots to make a pretty sweet tasting miso based soup. Generous amount of “KaoLiang” Rice Wine and sake were used in this pot as well, which contributes to the whole flaming spectacle.
Fortune Sushi & Sashimi Platter, maki
For those who likes it raw, there’s the Fortune Sushi & Sashimi Platter (RM58.80 nett). The dish is beautifully presented on a wooden platter and came with rather generous amount of fresh seafood including Maguro, Hamachi, Unagi, and Salmon.
We also tried the Flaming Salmon Aburi Maki (RM29.90++), with salmon and special crab stick plus spicy sauce.
Grilled Edamame, October Special Bento, Kushiyaki Moriawase
Grilled Edamame (RM9.90++) is a good starter if you like your edamame with a kick, which I think will go really good with beer.
For those who likes bento, October Special Bento (RM59.90++) is a worthy option and comes with a little bit of everything, including salmon sashimi, unagi, and more.
And if you like it grilled, Kushiyaki Moriawase (RM44.90++) comes with scallops, Shitake Mushroom, Enoki Niku Yaki and other greeneries on skewers, and you’ll also find bacon in this platter as well, which makes this one of the few non-halal Japanese Restaurants in JB.
Address: October Japanese Restaurant No. 6a, 1, 8, Jln Jaya Putra 3/15, Bandar Jaya Putra, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor GPS: 1.574499, 103.776892 Tel: 011-1426 5993 Hours: 12pm – 11pm daily
Izakaya, or Japanese gastro pub, is a relatively new type of Japanese restaurant in Malaysia. It is basically a pub with a proper bar and a full kitchen. You want to have a few beer or sake? Sure. You want a full meal? They’ve got that covered too.
Robataya Izakaya at Publika
Robataya Izakaya is a relatively new comer of such restaurant in KL. Located in Publika, they have a pretty extensive menu offering raw fish, ramen, rice dish, tempura, salad, grilled items, and more.
A week ago, we headed there on an invitation to try out what they’ve got to offer.
Okan Sashimi, they have air flown seafood too
We started with Okan Sashimi (RM 70), a sashimi platter with 5 different types of fresh seafood carefully arranged on ice. During our session, we had salmon, salmon belly, sweet shrimp, tuna, and I believe, butterfish.
While it may not be the super premium quality sashimi, (that’ll be their air flown, LIVE seafood as displayed by Haze) the portions were generous and it was actually quite a treat for the price.
Una Chizu Roll, Robataya Teppan Roll
For those wholikes rolls, The Robataya Teppan Roll (RM 28) is one you should try. There’s salmon inside, mayo, and grilled bacon on top! The taste was rather unique, and of course, anything is better with bacon.
Una Chizu Roll (RM 25) is a slightly more creative interpretation of your usual unagi roll, as they’ve decided to add cheese to the mix. I think the result was pretty good to be honest.
Salmon Oyako Sarada
Salmon Oyaka Sarada (RM 26) turned out to be one of our favorite dishes of the night. Laden with plenty of crispy salmon skin, the salad also have quite a generous portion of raw salmon in all those mustard leaves & cherry tomato in the rather awesome sesame dressing. I’d have this for lunch anytime.
various kushiyaki (skewers) & gyoza
You can’t have a proper review of an izakaya without having some skewers. We tried teba (chicken wings, RM 6), buta (pork belly RM 6), uzura bacon (quail egg bacon, RM 6), banana bacon (RM 6), tomato gyumaki (tomato wrapped with beef, RM 7), tsukune (chicken meatball, RM 5), momo tama (chicken thigh wrapped with egg, RM 6), and negima (chicken with leeks, RM 5).
While these are some pretty good skewers, the one that stood out the most was the momo tama, the egg was prepared to a rather soft consistency and for some reason worked really, really well with the chicken thigh. We gobbled that up pretty fast.
San Ten Zeppin – pork belly, bacon, Australian beef
If you enjoy BBQ, there’s only one way to improve the experience – by having it indoor, with air conditioning. The San Ten Zeppin sumiyaki (RM 55) gave us just that. There’re pork belly, bacon, and Australian beef. The meat are pretty thinly sliced so they cook rather quick, if you mess it up, it’s your own fault.
As if those weren’t enough food for 4 skinny Asians, we also tried their Teppan Ika Geso (cuttle fish, RM 15), Spare Pork Ribs Teriyaki (RM 33), and Akaebi Olive (RM 42).
The cuttlefish should make for a very good side dish for beer, and while I thought the ribs were a bit dry, I did enjoy the olive shrimp quite a fair bit, the olive gave it a bit of sweetness that complements the spicy deep fried shrimp quite well.
Haze, Calvin, Haze, Sim
Overall, we did enjoy our dinner at Robataya. There are actually 2 other izakaya at Publika, and it’ll be tough to try to put a ranking on the list as they each have their strength and offers quite a different set of menu. You can’t realy go wrong if you pick Robataya for a meal, or some sake.
A couple days prior to General Election 13, we were invited to a food review session at PLOY to sample some dishes from their new menu.
According to their website, PLOY means Gem in Thai. It is then this pretty unique contemporary fine dining restaurant’s aim – to have their dishes be true gems of Japanese and Thai cuisine.
PLOY at Clearwater, Damansara Height
PLOY is located at Clearwater Residence in Damansara Heights. Parking is a pretty painless affair, there’s an underground car park in the building, and it also seems like you can park on the streets just outside of it, though legality in that is questionable.
The restaurant itself is tastefully decorated and has two separate dining halls, a fully air conditioned area, and another half outdoor for alfresco dining.
there are some interesting drinks on the menu
There’s a full bar at PLOY. Beer, liquor, cocktails, coffee, and several other rather interesting drinks can be ordered. My drink for the night was Apple Sour, basically fresh apple juice with sour plum in it, very refreshing. Fraps, cappuccino, and Thai ice tea were reportedly pretty good as well.
tuna wakame salad, golden needle salad
Dinner started out with a couple different types of salad. Tuna Wakame Salad (RM 23) comes with chunks of tuna cubes, avocado, and sesame in shoyu dressing, while Golden Needle Salad (RM 15) with tofu, avocado, broccoli, and wafu dressing.
Due to the pretty distinct taste of avocado, the two salads ended up more similar than different, but not in a bad way. I love the way they deep fried the string mushrooms, and if you were to choose a salad, I’d recommend the golden needle, tastes as good, and cheaper too.
tempura surprise, kabocha tempura
Tempura Surprise (RM 15) is a dish with questionable usage of one of my favorite fish – seabass. The fish is wrapped in oba leaf, and then deep fried. It was a surprise alright, but not exactly in a commendable way. The combination did not work well even though I’m a fan of both major ingredients. I think they should re investigate this dish.
On the other hand, Kabocha Tempura (RM 8.50), or salted egg pumpkin tempura, fared much better. The pumpkin were delicious, and would scored even higher marks if those salted egg yolk sticks to the gourd better. I like it.
crab in wrap – a maki with a hint of tropical influence
Most of us have tried Spider rolls, or soft shell crab maki in Japanese restaurants, this is PLOY’s interpretation with their Crab in Wrap (RM 28). Other than soft shell crab, avocado, sushi rice, and spicy kani, mango can be found in this roll.
To me, this is a perfect blend of Thai & Japanese influence, and one that works very well. I love the taste of Thai in the maki, very well executed.
magic puff – with goat cheese, truffle oil, and wild rocket
Magic Puff (RM 32) does not come cheap, but it’s got truffle oil and goat cheese in the homemade crispy pastry with wild rocket. This is a dish that had to be consumed ASAP before the cheese melts into the pastry, and oh it tastes very good! Truffle oil, made all the difference, yums!
the godfather special, pasta from heaven, smoked duck breast with chicken ham pizza
The trio of main dishes we shared were the Godfather Special (RM 22), Pasta from Heaven (RM 28), and Smoked Duck Breast with Chicken Ham Pizza (RM 28).
Godfather Special is a fancy name for a salmon ikura don with avocado, royu and nori (seaweed) in tempura flakes. The flakes gave it a crispy texture in an otherwise pretty average dish. It felt.. healthy.
Pasta from Heaven is angel hair spaghetti with sakura ebi (small shrimps) and flying fish roe in truffle oil. Again, the truffle oil proved to be the salvation in this one, and I love angle hair pasta, so it worked for me. Though I’d love to have chunks of something else in it, like prawns or .. just something.
The pizza was awesome, I really loved the pizza! For RM 28 this is the real deal, plenty of real yummy duck breast on the really thin crust pizza with avocado sauce. The sprinkle of flying fish roe gave it that extra pop. It was delicious, if you love duck breast, you’ll absolutely enjoy this pizza. I wanted to have more!
sticky date pudding, durian panna cotta, creme caramel
When we thought the dinner was over, our host brought out these three types of desserts.
The sticky date pudding was alright, the creme caramel will satisfy anyone with a sweet tooth, but the durian panna cotta is what I really want to talk about.
It might look uninspiring, but the durian panna cotta was awesome. It’s rich, it’s pungent, and it’s an absolute must for anyone who even remotely like durian. It’s the stuff that should make some people go to PLOY just for the dessert. Try it!
Ivy, Haze, KY, chef Daniel, Marc, Hitomi and others having a good time
So if you’re up to something slightly out of the ordinary, PLOY is a definitely a place to check out. While I can’t say that everything is awesome, there are quite a lot of bright spots in their latest menu. I would also say that prices are pretty competitive for the setting PLOY offers.
A couple weeks ago we were invited for a food review session at Armada hotel’s Shokudo Japanese restaurant. We were checking out their “Speedy Lunch” menu which promises lunch sets that are served within 15 minutes and priced only at RM 15++ per order.
This type of deal from a hotel restaurant? I was curious to say the least.
temaki, Haze & KY at Shokudo, Armada Hotel
Shokudo at Armada turns out to be a pretty small Japanese restaurant. With maximum capacity of some 20 odd people, the restaurant on 1st floor has a very homey ambiance to it. A place that is well suited for a quiet dinner for two. (as such, if you are coming with a big group, do call ahead)
My favorite of the lot was the soft shell crab maki and chawan mushi set. RM 15 for the set is definitely a great value, and it tastes as good as anywhere, but if you have a big appetite, this might not fill your stomach all the way up.
Unagi set comes with about half an eel instead of the whole fish, understandable for this price point. Chicken and beef katsudon though, do come with very generous serving of meat.
For those who likes it light, the soba/udon dish would be a good option. The lightly battered tempura vegetable does go well with either udon or soba.
cod fish teriyaki, gyoza, california maki
Other than the Speedy Lunch dishes, Shokudo does offer a pretty comprehensive menu. There are good choices for sashimi, sushi, maki, temaki, teppanyaki, don buri (rish dishes), udon, and some side orders (like grilled salmon belly, shishamo etc).
The cod fish teriyaki and gyoza was fantastic, and california maki we tried did not disappoint too.
chicken kara-age, sashimi, tempura
Oddly enough, the dish that I can’t get my hands off from was the chicken kara-age (chicken skin RM15). This an a pint of beer would be perfect. Sashimi and tempura too were of pretty good quality.
Overall, the experience at Armada’s Shoduko was a positive one. Although food did not blow us out of the water, they were consistent and did not disappoint at all considering the price point.
If your office is not far form the heart of PJ, the Speedy Lunch here would be something to check out.
Address: Shokudo Japanese Restaurant Hotel Armada Petaling Jaya Lot 6, Lorong Utara C, Section 52, 46200 PJ, Selangor GPS: 3.104199, 101.640964 Tel: 03-7954 6888
Last Friday we braved the traffic and traveled to Solaris Mont Kiara for a lovely dinner at Shuraku thanks to the invitation from Mei.
The quaint Japanese restaurant is located just above Maybank on level 2, with the ambiance that is only made possible by the inclusion of Japanese diners in addition to Japanese magazines, old clocks, hanging ropes, and the sound and smell of a yakitori bar.
Shuraku at Solaris Mont Kiara
The dishes for the night were already chosen for us so the six of us just sat back and relax. We started the night with some Asahi beer and a couple glasses of Japanese cocktails that were served from this portable carbonated dispenser, we had a pear flavored cocktail, it was lovely.
salmon tamago, beef steak salad, unagi
Appetizer, if you would, were seared salmon on tamago (sweet egg omelet), the sweet and savory unagi on tofu, and some tasty beef steak salad.
What we really came here for though, were the yakitori. While yakitori literally meant grilled fowl, at Shuraku, they also serve it with yummy pork belly too.
Of course, we also had chicken thigh with leek, chicken wings (I must say the way Japanese grill their chicken wings is a lot better than our Malaysian style, much easier to eat and much less messy), and my favorite – chicken gizzards.
soba salad, roast eggplants
Soba salad was refreshing but slightly awkward, I still prefer the good old cha soba, this is a bit too fusion for me.
The roast eggplants however, was super awesome. There’s a type of sweet (peanut/mayo?) sauce they add to it that made it so rich and really made my taste buds happy. Kim and I devoured the whole thing, including skin!
salmon and tuna maki
We shared a salmon and tuna maki too, so yah, they do have raw fish and do a very fine job preparing the maki. Great in both presentation and taste, I must say.
We ordered several more yakitori of various flavored and had an awesome night. Prices at Shuraku are reasonable and doesn’t vary much from other similar Japanese outfit. Do check the place out if you love authentic Japanese food that isn’t just confined to sushi and sashimi
Address: Shuraku 13-2, Jalan Solaris Mont Kiara 1, Solaris Mont Kiara, off Jalan Duta 50480 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.174049,101.660037 Tel: 03-6203 0561