The name Isetan The Japan Store is often associated with very high end products as well as rather expensive price tags, but thankfully when it comes to their lower ground floor food offerings, the quality is still there, minus the overly crazy price tags.
The other day I took a detour and check out one of their many food stalls house within the departmental store’s grocery area and checked out Shoya Sushi Bar.
Shoya Sushi bar, at Isetan the Japan Store, Lot 10 KL
Shoya Sushi Bar takes up only maybe some 100 sq. foot of area and offers a relatively small menu consists mainly of sushi platter, hand rolls, and sushi don. A sushi don is priced from around RM 26.50 (Special Bara Chirashi Don) all the way to RM 90 (Omakase Shoya Kaisen Don), with nothing exceeding 3 digit price point.
We tried the Salmon and Salmon Ten-Don (RM 35) which came with four pieces of raw salmon as well as another four pieces of tempura salmon on a bowl of sushi rice. The salmon tempura required a little getting used to (slightly soggy texture), but the raw seafood was pretty fresh and tastes rather good.
Salmon and Salmon Ten-Don
I also decided to try one of their more expensive options on the menu – Chef’s selected sushi (special) priced at RM 85.
What came was a collection of sushi that really is right up there with some of the more expensive Japanese restaurants in terms of quality. There’s fatty tuna, tuna, squid, ikura, amaebi, salmon, yellowtail, mackerel, and tuna belly roll. I felt that this offers quite a good value despite its asking price.
Chef’s selected sushi (special)
If you find yourself in Bukit Bintang craving for some good sushi, this place should be in your short list.
Address: Shoya Sushi Bar Lower Ground Floor ISETAN The Japan Store KL Lot 10 Shopping Mall Jalan Bukit Bintang GPS:3.146462, 101.711758 Tel: 03-2141 7777
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.
Kame Sushi is one of the first Japanese restaurants in KL to offer omakase style dining. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, omakasesimply means “a meal consisting of dishes selected by the chef”, so basically you tell the chef what you don’t eat, or allergic to, and the restaurant decides the rest.
Kame Sushi, Sri Hartamas
So in essence, you never really know what you’re going to get. In a good omakase restaurant, the chef usually decides on the menu based on what’s in season, and what he or she deemed the best they can offer based on the price, availability, and the skill set of those in the kitchen.
We first go to know about Kame from Cheesie, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that Haze and I decide to head there for her birthday dinner.
fresh imported sashimi
Since we had the meal was some half a year ago, name and exact ingredients in the dishes have became a bit fuzzy. In this post I could only describe what I remember from looking at these pictures, but better late than never, right?
Our course was priced at RM 350 per person, it was the 2nd most expensive from the menu at the time.
The dinner consists of mainly top grade seafood selections, starting with some of the best sashimi cuts. The oyster was fresh, sweet, and alluring. There were also tuna otoro (fatty tuna), yellow tail, snow crab, amaebi (sweet shrimp), hotate (scallop), and uni (sea urchin).
Then came the grilled items with more seafood and mushroom wrapped with wagyu beef, simple yet exquisite.
warm dish, light battered fried fish
Stewed dish and a lightly battered deep fried fish dish came next, and frankly the exact name of the seafood content escaped my mind. They were done just right and quite delightful even if not entirely special.
tuna belly , uni, ikura on sushi rice
Our main dish came in the form of minced tuna belly, ikura (salmon roe), uni (sea urchin), and hand grated wasabi on sushi rice. As a chirashi sushi lover, this was rather delightful. This rice dish was very rich and did its job as a highlight to the evening.
natto beans, Japanese pear
Dessert came in a couple slices of Japanese pear. They were as good as any Japanese fruits – soft, sweet, and fresh.
Ultimately though, at RM 350++, this omakase dinner was good, but in today’s level of competition with the likes of Oribe, SOU Omakase, and Sushi Azabu, you may find similar or even better value hunting around.
Of the five restaurants recently opened at Isetan The Japan Store’s 4F The Table, Sushi Azabu would be the one that has the most prestige. An offshoot from the Michelin star restaurant from New York, Sushi Azabu promises authentic and intimate dining experience in its 40 seat set up.
Chef Saito, Sushi Azabu at Isetan The Japan Store KL
We sampled a 5 pieces of sushi from Chef Saito Makoto Sam during the launch and came away impressed. So a week after the event, we decided that a proper meal at Sushi Azabu was required.
The course menu here consists of three choices – Koi at RM 120 will get you appetizer, 10 pieces of sushi and miso soup. The Azabu course at RM 220 that promises the following:
2 kinds of sashimi
Nigiri 7 pieces
Or you could go all out with the Omakase menu for RM 420 and let the chef decides what you should have for dinner. Obviously, we went for broke.
nasu nibitshi – fried eggplant
So these are the dishes we had for dinner on the 1st of March 2017 off the Omakase menu at Sushi Azabu.
Nasa Nibitshi was our appetizer, a deceptively simple dish consists of fried eggplant in some very light broth/sauce and topped with finely shaved bonito flakes. Light with very subtle flavor, it does the job well to leave us wanting for more.
sashimi – kampachi, tai, aji
Next was sashimi in the form of kampachi, tai, and aji; or yellow tail, sea bream, and horse mackerel. The quality was top notch, and somewhat surprisingly our favorite was the horse mackerel. The freshly grated wasabi too was a treat in itself and we wasted none of it.
Chawanmushi was our next dish, the version here is simple, no fuss, but very well executed.
grilled Spanish mackerel
Grilled Spanish mackerel came next, we thought that chewing this together with the pickle yield the perfect combination of flavor that simply explodes in your mouth. This was a very well seasoned traditional dish.
stewed sword fish
Stewed sword fish came next, a dish that is new to me. The fish is topped with a piece of starchy cube that compliments this savory dish quite well, though I felt that perhaps the sophistication of this dish escapes me. Someone with more experience in Japanese cuisine will probably enjoy this more than me.
firefly squid with sweet miso
Then came the cutest dish of the night – firefly squid with sweet miso. A perfect balance of sweet, salty, and savory taste that is further accentuated by the freshness of firefly squid, this was one of my favorite non-sushi dish of the entire course.
The main dish was of course, sushi, and we got ten pieces of these goodness in the form of chutoro, cattlefish, snapper, golden eye red snapper, striped jack, sea urchin, fat tuna roll, and raw prawn.
At Sushi Azabu, they take the guesswork out of eating sushi. Chef Saito expertly apply the perfect amount of soya sauce on each piece, as well as the appropriate amount of wasabi his experience hands deemed worthy of the sea bounty. So you simply just.. eat, no dipping into the saucer or fiddling with wasabi, grated or otherwise.
sushi – chutoro, cattlefish, snapper, golden eye red snapper,
striped jack, sea urchin, fat tuna roll, prawn
The result was an experience worthy of the asking price. Each piece was perfect, and each offers an expression in some of the bests Japan has to offer. We thoroughly enjoyed and if I say I don’t miss it as I am writing this, I’d be lying.
miso soup & yuzu shaved ice
A relatively simple bowl of miso soup with prawn head helped wound us down, and we concluded the dinner experience with a simple dessert of yuzu shaved ice.
menu at Sushi Azabu KL
If you’re a sushi lover, this is surely a place to check out. I think I’m going to be back to try their more affordable menu one of these days.
Address: Sushi Azabu The Table, Level 4 ISETAN The Japan Store KL Lot 10 Shopping Mall Jalan Bukit Bintang GPS:3.146462, 101.711758 Tel: 03-2119 2624
A couple weeks ago we were invited to a special Japanese food event held at Yakitori Fukuda Dining at Evolve Mall, and since I had very good impression with their ten don (deep fried seafood with rice) dishes at Shitamichi Tendon Akitmitsu, it was a no brainer to participate. After all, these two restaurants share the same kitchen that is smacked right in between them.
Yakitori Dining Fukuda at Evolve Concept Mall, Ara Damansara
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Evolved Concept Mall, it is one of the newest malls in town and located right next to the Ara Damansara LRT station. You can walk to the mall from the station in 5 minutes. Occupancy at the new mall isn’t quite close to full yet but there’s Jaya Grocer as the anchor tenant, so I assume it’ll do fine.
somen with chicken, eel, shrimp & vege, somen with chicken and lime
We started the day with a demonstration of somen, these are wheat flour noodle that’s pretty fine, almost “mee suah” fine and usually served cold. That proved to be very appropriate on a hot day. It was a good blend of savoury taste with sourish freshness especially for the version with lime. I think I may actually like this more than cha soba, and I do like cha soba on a hot afternoon.
You can also buy these pre-packaged somen and the associated sauce to be cooked at home.
pressed sushi with grilled conger eel
Then there’s pressed sushi with grilled conger eel. Conger eel a different marine species of eel. The texture is a little more firm from unagi, though taste wise they do not differ very far. To be honest, I do like unagi just a little bit more, but anything with a dash of ikura never disappoint, as in this case.
deep fried Japanese yam with seaweed, chicken meatball with grated yam
Finally, we also sampled some of the dishes prepared using the imported Japanese yam. The deep fried Japanese yam with seaweed was my favorite, it was very light and packs a punch in flavors, which I suspect contributed by the seaweed. The deep fried yam in strips was much more muted in comparison.
The other yam related dish we tried was the bowl of rice topped with homemade chicken meatball and grated Japanese yam, which is served with a raw quail’s egg yolk, super creamy and perhaps a bit gooey if you’re not used to those type of taste.
and there’s me with cheesiepetite!
The food at this event was pretty decent, but I would certainly suggest that you try their ten dons first, especially if you’re those in favor for stronger taste. I’d want to go back to Fukuda to try their yakitori.
Yakitori Fukuda Dining EV-G-09, Ground floor Evolve Concept Mall Pacific Place @ Ara Damansara Petaling Jaya Selangor GPS: 3.110532, 101.586864 Tel: 03-7831 9929 Hours: Monday to Friday, 11am to 3pm and 6pm to 9pm; Weekends and public holiday, 11am-9pm