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Shogun Japanese Buffet is a brand name that is no stranger to many buffet lovers, in fact, someone like me, who isn’t exactly a huge fan of buffet, have heard quite a lot about the few Shogun and it’s sister (or mother) restaurant – Saisaki. All of which is owned and operated by the Grand Saisaki Group.

Shogun Japanese Buffet at Solaris Mont Kiara
Shogun Japanese Buffet at Solaris Mont Kiara

A couple weeks ago I was invited to the launch of Shogun’s 5th and largest outlet at Solaris Mont Kiara.

Shogun has basically taken over the premise where the ill fated Tenji used to be, and looking at the similarity of the interior layout & furnishing, I suspect that the Saisaki group probably just bought over everything lock stock & barrel, did some minor tweaking, and there you are – a brand new Shogun.

All of which is actually a very savvy business move that probably allows Shogun to price their buffet meal cheaper than competition. (prices can be found on http://www.saisaki.com.my/ maximum of RM 53.80++ for lunch and RM 63.80++ for dinner but there are always various discounts)

Haze & I behind the 100 kg tuna
Haze & I behind the 100 kg tuna

The Shogun outlet at Solaris is huge. The premise can accommodate 500-600 guests at any one time. The group also plans to open at least another 5-7 outlets nationwide by 2014. So if you’re from Penang or JB, chances are there’s a Shogun or Saisaki coming to you within a couple years.

tuna cutting ceremony, after the speech by Datuk Michael Chong
tuna cutting ceremony, after the speech by Dato’ Michael Chong

The evening got started with a speech by the energetic Dato’ Michael Chong, Managing Director of Grand Saisaki Group, then it was the cutting ceremony of the massive 100 KG maguro (tuna) led by Chef Zainurin bin Mohd Salleh, an expert in Japanese cuisine who is also the head chef at this Shogun outlet.

Then, it was my favorite time of the evening: the time to eat.

from the raw bar - sashimi, sushi, and more
from the raw bar – sashimi, sushi, and more

The selection at Shogun is actually quite impressive. It is claimed that about 65% of the menu is Japanese in nature while the rest a combination of Chinese, Western, and Thai fusion dishes.

Rule of thumb for buffet: always start at the raw bar and slowly work your way through stronger tasting dishes. This ensures that your palate is not saturated by heavy flavors too early.

tempura, dimsum, chawamushi, etc
deep fried food, tempura, chawamushi, lamb, dimsum, soft shell crab

At the (mostly) raw bar here you find a huge selection of seafood, sashimi, sushi, oysters, mussel, prawns, crab, and much more. These are mostly Japanese in nature, with some of the usual suspects (ie. raw oyster) you would expect from any international buffet.

Then there’s a whole selection of stuff that are deep fried, with a good selection of tempura and even soft shell crab.

In the warming trays, you find lamb chops, fried rice, fried noodle, beef, chicken, and many dishes that are common to international buffets (ie: not always Japanese in nature).

steamed soon hock, tomyam soup, herbal soup
steamed soon hock, various salad, tomyam soup, herbal soup

My favorite dish of the night was the steamed soon hock (marbled goby fish), a delicacy that has never been associated with buffet dining. The fish was gobbled up pretty quickly, but thankfully refilled quite swiftly too. I think they only serve this at Shogun Solaris and not other branches.

Among the selection of soup were herbal soup and tomyam soup, don’t mix them in a bowl. :D

ice cream, jelly, and other desserts
ice cream, jelly, and other desserts

Selection of dessert is perhaps not one of Shogun’s strongest area. While there are jelly, ice cream, mochi, tiramisu and various cakes, there wasn’t anything that really stood out, nor were there presented very well. Then again, we can’t really expect hotel standard pastries at this price point.

The buffet spread at Shogun is impressive for what you pay to get in. The food are for the most part, pretty good, and while you can certainly have a healthy meal (their motto), there isn’t anything that can stop you from going all sinful with plenty of meat, oysters, deep fried food here too.

Shogun’s price list can be found here.

Address:
Shogun Japanese Buffet
Solaris Mont Kiara,
No.2, Jalan Solaris, KL

GPS: 3.174689, 101.659595
Tel: 03-6205 1111

Whenever Brussels Beer Cafe is mentioned, most people immediately think of groups of people drinking a variety of mostly imported beer. The name “beer cafe” certainly contributes to that impression.

However, Brussels is more than just a place beer, as I found out on this invited food review session organized Michael, the dude who is known for his alcoholic beverages review column.

Brussels Beer Cafe, at Solaris Mont Kiara
Brussels Beer Cafe, at Solaris Mont Kiara

While waiting for the others to come, I noticed this little gadget they have at the bar – instant glass chiller (or whatever you call that).

This thing spews out really cold water and instantly chills beer glass to almost freezing temperature. Very nifty, there is no need to have tonnes of beer mugs kept in fridge all the time.

brussels summer fruit salad,  moules hoegaarden / mariniere
Brussels summer fruit salad,  moules Hoegaarden / mariniere

The first dish was Brussels Summer Fruit Salad, fresh tasting but otherwise not particularly special. It is a salad dish for those who really want a low calorie meal (sans the cheese, of course.)

Then came moules Hoegaarden / mariniere (mussels marinated with Hoegaarden). I thought it is a bit of an overkill to imported beer for marinate, but the mussels really does taste very good. The serving isn’t exactly big though, and the dish came across a bit pricey (close to RM 50 if I remember correctly, well, did I say imported beer?)

prawn bisque, potatoe skin, blind finches, chicken waterzooi
prawn bisque, potatoe skin, blind finches, chicken waterzooi

I thought prawn bisque is like the poor man’s lobster bisque, but it turned out to be pretty much a thicker, cream version of Penang prawn noodle soup. It’s pretty interesting to be honest, but I reckon not everyone’s taste.

Potato skin goes well as beer food, I thought blind finches (beef with ham all rolled up, Dutch dish) was pretty good too, if not just a little bit too strong a taste in the beer gravy.

The chicken waterzooi, a traditional Belgium dish, did not click with me. I thought it was just buttery breast meat without much kick in it. Your mileage might vary.

roast pork - one of my favorites!
roast pork – one of my favorites!

The roast pork at Brussels has got to be my favorite dish. The style differs from traditional hawker version (ala Wong Kee), the skin is a lot less crispy but instead the overall texture much softer. Flavor is quite intense and I love it with mustard, very lovely actually!

pork knuckle - fit for a group!
pork knuckle – fit for a group!

The pork knuckle, ironically, tastes pretty close to traditional roast pork instead of what you’d expect from normal pork knuckle ala German style. It was pretty good! Though I think the gravy could be improved a bit, perhaps chicken rice style chili paste?

brussels style pork bacon cheese burger, grilled baby beef ribs, the big one
brussels style pork bacon cheese burger, grilled baby beef ribs, the big one

I didn’t try the pork bacon cheese burger, but those who did liked it. The grilled baby beef ribs was juicy and sumptuous, and the big one brought really did make a big impact on its size, but I think you’ll need about 4 hungry souls to finish one serving.

we were obviously having tonnes of fun at Brussels
we were obviously having tonnes of fun at Brussels

As for beverages, Brussels of course never disappoint. We had Hoegaarden, Blackthorn cider, and Paulaner Konig Ludwig and Franzkainer too.

It was overall a very enjoyable session, chef Pele (what a name, right?) and Mike Chang the manager were very friendly chaps whom I’d hope to meet again.

Address:
Brussels Beer Café, Solaris
Lot K-OG 13 & 14, SoHo KL,
No. 2, Jalan Solaris, Mon’t Kiara

50480 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.174689, 101.659595
Tel: 03-6205 2999

After having rojak opposite Taman Bahagia LRT station at 5pm (I really should blog about that stall) on Saturday, I kinda forgot about dinner till it was past way past 9 pm. Logged onto MSN and saw Haze online, so I asked what she was up to. Her reply “emoing cos no one eating dinner with me“.

So I asked her to join me for late dinner, and by the time we got started it was already way past 10pm.

While most restaurants have closed and started cleaning up already, the night is still young at Berlin Biergarten. That was the first reason I chose to go there, secondly, they sells non-halal bratwurst, and thirdly, the Guinness promotion is on-going.

Having the promotion is definitely one of the biggest reasons I chose Berlin Biergarten instead of other outlets. I’ve done quite a few Guinness food reviews and they’ve always been good experiences.


Berlin Biergarten German Bar & Restaurant

Berlin Biergarten is located on the first floor at Solaris, just a stone’s throw away from the now pretty famous Tenji Japanese buffet. While the name translate to beer garden, it actually does offer a pretty comprehensive food menu too.

While there are some tables inside the smallish outfit, almost everyone chooses to dine al fresco style here, and like most outlets of this type, there’s a projector screen showing live sports too. A pretty chilling environment.


free pork balls with Guinness, Farmer’s Bratwurst

The Guinness promotion at Berlin Beirgarten is pretty simple:

  • 4 perfect pint (330ml) of Guinness for RM 60
  • get a free finger food/appetizer from the menu

I chose the pork ball (worth RM 19.90 if I remember correctly). They were pretty firm and rather flavorful, the sweetish sauce and the pork went really well with the slight after taste of bitterness of Guinness that I love so much. It was the yums!


Berlin rosemary lamb

Upon recommendation from the server, I chose the Farmer’s Bratwurst (RM 28). The two German sausage doesn’t look big here, but they were actually quite a decent portion. It was a good thing I didn’t ended up ordering the Berlin Sausage Selection (RM 59) that comes with 7-8 bratwursts.

The pan fried sausages were very very good, with the accompanying gravy and dill potato salad being very good side kicks. However, I have to say that german bread dumpling (looks almost exactly like wedges) did taste a bit weird to me though.


Haze the awesome artist, and KY with some Guinness

The other dish we ordered was the Beriln Rosemary Lamb (RM 48). Stripes of lamb with plenty of mint sauce resting on mash, steamed vegetable, and surrounded by chili paste and bits of bell pepper. The presentation definitely scores an A. Thankfully, the taste department is in sync with how well the dish looked.

Other than the carrot being a bit raw, the lamb was soft and flavorful, with plenty of mint sauce to give it that aroma and if you so prefer, the spicy chili sauce to add some kick too.

There are interesting dishes in the menu like Scotch Egg (with pork!), carrot in beer, and sundried tomato with mussels that look pretty promising. I shall return to this place for a second round.

The Guinness promotion of St Patrick’s Finger Food Festival runs from now until 31st of March, 2010 with more than 100 outlets nationwide, don’t miss out! Other outlets that are participating in this promotion includes, but not limited to:

Besides Finger Food Festival, there’s also the St. Patrick’s Hat promotion. A 13oz pint is a stamp, and 20oz pint 2 stamps, collect 12, send the redemption card in, and get a free St. Patrick’s Hat.

If you can’t wait, the Instant Reward gives you a Guinness St. Patrick’s luggage lock with every 3 pints of Guinness Draught or a bucket of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout. There are three designs in all!

There’s also the St. Patrick’s Day celebration at 1 Utama on the 19th of March from 6pm onwards! Check out guinness.com.my/stpatricks for more.

Address:
Berlin Biergarten
Lot J-01-04
Solaris Mont Kiara
50480 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.174689, 101.659595
Tel: 03-6203 0958

After hearing so much about Tenji from friends and other food blogs, Suan, Horng, and I decided to give it a try almost 2 months ago. One of the reasons it took us so long to finally go there was to actually avoid the madness during their half price promotion (which still runs once in a while, check their website).

note: this place is closed and now replaced by Shogun, a Japanese Buffet

Tenji Japanese Buffet
Tenji Japanese Buffet at Solaris

Tenji is often compared with Jogoya, the first premium Japanese buffet restaurant not in a hotel to hit KL in early 2006. Personally I think that the comparison is justified as both Tenji and Jogoya caters for slightly higher end market and offers dishes that are quite similar, and more importantly, they’re priced competitively with each other at full price.

At Tenji, lunch is priced at RM77++ while dinner and supper at RM88++. Jogoya’s buffet is RM78++ for lunch, RM68++ for late lunch, RM88++ for dinner, and RM78++ for late dinner. (Jogoya pricing, Tenji pricing)

fresh oyster at Tenji
ohh, the oysters!

Located at Soho Solaris, Tenji is a much friendlier place for those who drives. Parking is a breeze if you don’t mind paying a couple ringgit for the underground carpark, on the other hand, Jogoya is accessible via public transport since it is located at Bukit Bintang.

As for the restaurant itself, Tenji is huge, with both air conditioned indoor area as well as quite a bit of alfresco dining, especially for those who wish to punctuate an extended buffet session with some nicotine.

KY, Suan, and Horng at Tenji
KY, Suan, and Horng

I started off the late lunch with some oysters, steamed prawns, and sashimi.

The oysters here were pretty big and certainly fresh and juicy, the good thing is that the oyster bar is always being refilled anytime it is less than half filled. I am very very annoyed at places that takes forever to refill their most sought after ingredients/dishes (like Yuen steamboat‘s chicken wings, or Talipon‘s prawns).

sashimi, oysters, at Tenji Japanese Buffet
always start with raw or lightly cooked food

I like their surf clam, scallop (albeit a bit small) and their rather fatty salmon sashimi, the butter fish was pretty decent too but I would stay away from tuna and squid sashimi if you’re particular about quality. As with most buffet places, the tuna served are of pretty inferior quality. This is due to the insanely high price of tuna these days I suppose.

There are also plenty of pre-cooked items on the buffet spread, the Singapore chili crab was actually very delicious, and there’s always the added advantage of choosing only the pincers (who cares about other customers, right? hehe). Other dishes include grilled vegetable, squid with dark sauce, fish, lamb, beef, and dozens more I can’t recall.

buffet spread at Tenji
buffet spread, including drinks and dessert area

Like Jogoya, Tenji also employs the clips system whereby you drop a clip with your table number at the bowl indicating certain dishes, wait for a few minutes, and they will be served freshly cooked. The downside is that you might end up waiting for quite a bit if the restaurant is particularly busy, but since it wasn’t when we were there, we didn’t need to wait for more than a few minutes before our orders were served.

The steamed cod with soya sauce was good, but the serving was rather miserable so it’s best advised that you order 2-3 at one go. Another more memorable freshly prepared dish was the soft shell crab and this vegetable (a type of beans?) with black beans. We also ordered steak, some teriyaki dishes, mushroom, fish filet, and so on. In general they tasted pretty good and very few of them were disappointing (for eg. the soup with razor clam).

Singapore chili crab, soup, steamed cod
Singapore chili crab, soup, steamed cod

In the drinks department, you have fresh brewed coffee, cappuccino, latte, quite a selection of fruit juice, soft drinks, and my favorite – chilled fresh coconut. I think I had about 4 of those.

Haagan Dazs ice cream was what I had for dessert while the huge selection of pastry and other desserts lay sitting in front of me. We were simply full to the brim after spending about 2 hours having the late lunch. If I remember correctly, we skipped dinner.


Tenji is located at SOHO, Solaris Mont Kiara

Compared to my last 2 visits to Jogoya, I would personally prefer Tenji. Although the buffet spread is smaller, the food quality reminds me of the earlier days of Jogoya. Fresh, tasty, and with good service, they just somehow managed to aged in the last 4 years to a point that I stopped going there, hopefully Tenji never follow the same path.

Address:
Tenji Japanese Buffet
Lot L-01-01, Soho KL,
Solaris Mont Kiara,
No.2, Jalan Solaris, KL

GPS: 3.174689, 101.659595
Tel: 1700-80-1818