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.
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
If there’s a Japanese food I have to choose to go with cold beer, there’ll be no doubt in my mind that it has to be yakitori, so when I got the invitation to review the offering at Torii at TTDI thanks to Kirin Ichiban, I was obviously more than happy to oblige.
After all, a premium Japanese beer with one of the higher end yakitori restaurants, you’d be foolish to not do it.
Kirin Ichiban promotion at Torii, TTDI
The reason we were here was to try the pairing of Kirin Ichiban with the dishes. Kirin is made with 100% malt, and brewed with an innovative “First Press” method by extracting the malt liquid from only the first press. Perhaps a little bit like “extra virgin olive oil” (I may be a bit off here), this is what contributes to the smoothness and premium taste.
At Torii, there’s also a promotion going on every Wednesday and Thursday night, with a glass of Kirin going for only RM 10.
veal chunk, squid tentacles, and crispy cheese beef yakitori
The restaurant is located at the inner, slightly quieter part of TTDI that isn’t plagued with crazy parking problems like some of the busier areas a couple minutes away. It is simple, elegant, and exude a very classy, fine dining feel without having a menu that is, I think, quite accessible to many of us.
broiled lobster chowder, bonded unagi & foie gras, upper thigh
Like its name suggests, yakitori is the speciality here at Torii. We tried wings (RM 8.90), squid tentacles (RM 10.90), sweet potato (RM 5.90), upper thigh (RM 6.90), rock lobster (RM 11.90), crispy cheese beef (RM 12.90), and veal chunk (RM 15.90). None of these disappoint, but if I have to pick, upper thigh, rock lobster, and cheese beef would be those you should try.
If you’re having these with beer, the chef will usually make the yakitori just a tad saltier, which really enhances the tasting experience, and Kirin with it’s crisp and refreshing taste provides excellent contrast to the strong tasting yakitori.
If you like something soupy, go for the broiled lobster chowder with crab croutons (RM 18.90) that also prepared with porcini mushroom, shallot, and olive oil. I’d love to have this on rainy days.
triple peaks – uni, amoebi, toro sushi
Perhaps surprisingly, cold beer goes rather well as a stand-in for green tea when paired with sushi. The triple peaks (RM 26.90) is a plate of three premium sushi with uni (sea urchin), amoebi (sweet shrimp), and toro (tuna belly). For under RM 30 this is not only awesome, but also provides very good value for the ingredients provided.
Then there’s Autumn risotto (RM 27.90), a deceptively simple dish with crab claw, egg yolk & asparagus. Beautifully presented and equally satisfying in the taste department. This dish would not disappoint any Italian food connoisseur.
wings, avocado de la mer, sweet potato, green tea creme brulee, nutella gyoza
Other dishes we sampled include the bonded unagi & foie gras (RM 29.90), kampachi uni jalapeno (RM 34.90), and avocado de la mar (RM 19.90). These aren’t exactly yakitori nor are they strictly traditional Japanese dishes, but they went so well with Kirin and left us wanting for more even as our stomach was filling up to the brim.
Of course, no fine dining meal is complete without desserts. For this we had green tea creme brulee with white chocolate lavender ice cream (RM 24.90) and nutella gyoza with chocolate ganache & whisky raisin ice cream (RM 24.90). I like the creativity in nutella gyoza, and while the desserts may not stand out as much as their yakitori and other delicacies, they were certainly more than decent.
Yen & hubby, KY & Haze enjoying some awesome food and Kirin Ichiban
If you love yakitori, a fan of beer, or just generally love some good food in fine dining environment without breaking the bank, this is definitely one of the places worth checking out.
Also get more information on Kirin Ichiban at their FB page at https://www.facebook.com/kirinmalaysia
18, Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 1,
Taman Tun Dr Ismail,
60000 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.148787, 101.629781
Tel: 03-7733 9309
Japanese cuisine in Malaysia has come a long way, from simple conveyor belt sushi and high end traditional Japanese restaurants in hotels, we now have a wide variety of price point and different variations to choose from.
Senjyu is one of the newer Japanese outfit that tries to carve a niche in this rather mature market by trying to infuse a little bit of contemporary taste into traditional Japanese cuisine, while maintaining a pretty affordable pricing. At least that’s what is claimed.
I was invited to Senjyu at Bangsar Village 2 for a session of food review a couple weeks ago, and I gotta say their claims weren’t far off.
Senjyu Japanese restaurant, at Bangsar Village 2
Senjyu, which means “eternity of life”, is located at 3rd floor of Bangsar Village 2 and took over the former location of Sakei Sushi, which is the chain that is owned by the same operator. I wasn’t a huge fan of Sakei (or most conveyor belt sushi restaurants), so I had a bit of a doubt at first when receiving the invitation.
The restaurant is decently decorated though table arrangements could perhaps use a little bit of imagination. Having them all lined up in grids isn’t very exciting, even with beautifully placed paper cranes at the sushi bar.
carpaccio mori and iso moriwase sashimi
Anyway, lets get on with the food.
We started out with the Carpaccio Mori (RM 22) – thinly sliced raw tuna, salmon, and butter fish that is served with 5 types of sauces and a bit of sesame and thinly sliced vegetable. It is an inspiration from Italian cuisine perhaps, but with Japanese ingredients. The sauce has a slight spicy taste to it, pretty exciting and the end result was actually very good. I like it.
Iso Moriwase Sashimi (RM 68) is good for 3-4 person, and comes with yellow tail, salmon, octopus, sweet shrimp, butterfish, surf clam, and one raw oyster. Fresh grated wasabi is served with the sashimi, which makes a big difference if you love wasabi. The seafood too were very fresh. For the price, this is a great value.
toro (tuna belly)
One of the most sought after sashimi cuts – Toro, is available with a price. For RM 70 you get three pretty thick slices of these air flown fatty tuna belly meat. They are like the grade 12 wagyu of the tuna world, and absolutely yummy. If you are to splurge, this wouldn’t be a bad option.
salmon ikura hana, soft shell crab and unagi mentai maki
Salmon Ikura Hana (RM 16) is prepared by air flown raw salmon and topped with mayonnaise and salmon roe. A winning combination if not for the little problem of having a bit too much rice in them. Wasn’t very easy to have everything in your mouth at one go, and there isn’t any graceful way to not do that either. Tastes pretty good though.
Have you ever had the problem of wanting to order a maki (sushi roll) but did not want to commit into eating 6 or 8 pieces of sushi that has the same ingredients? Well that happened to me a lot, and it is refreshing to see that Senjyu offers maki that comes with two different ingredients in one order, in this case, the Soft Shell Crab and Unagi Mentai Maki (RM 28).
I love the soft shell crab maki, it was crunchy, rich, and has an explosion of taste that leaves you wanting more. The unagi mentai maki, on the other hand, sounds like a good promise, I like unagi and I love mentai, but the combination somehow came out to be a bit less than the sum of two, maybe it is the way they chop up the eel? But don’t get me wrong, it is not bad at all, just not as good as I’d anticipated.
chirashi-jyu, closer look at unagi mentai maki
They serve one of my go-to Japanese dish too – Chirashi-Jyu, and at RM 30 per pop, a great value for money. There’s salmon, butterfish, tuna, octopus, and of course, tamago (sweet egg omelete). I haven’t seen this much seafood in a bowl of chirashi sushi priced RM 30 and under.
trio oyster – mentai, fresh, and simmer in broth
According to the PR ladies, Senjyu has gained a reputation for its live Canadian oysters, and we sampled this via the Trio Oyster dish (RM 48) – mentai oyster (cod fish roe), fresh live oyster sashimi, and simmered oyster in broth.
I love all three versions, the freshness of live oyster clearly give it a superior taste. To be honest, I probably would like them best just fresh, the extra preparation though, is good for those who doesn’t really like this shell fish raw.
wagyu beef shioyaki – chef showing us how to get it done
Wagyu Beef Shioyaki (RM 68) is another premium item on Senjyu’s menu. If you’ve had wagyu, you know what to expect. Slightly salted wagyu beef served raw in a DIY cooking style. If you like wagyu, you will enjoy this.
giant ebi tempura (prawn), gindari nitsuke (codfish)
Next was tempura in the form of Giant Ebi Tempura (RM 38). Now these prawns are huge, and there were some half a dozen or so of them. Crunchy, succulent, and fresh, I wish I wasn’t so full by then.
Our last dish of the tasting session was Gindara Nitsuke (codfish, RM 40). A more subtle tasting dish, served with assorted mushroom and vegetables that could be better if the fish was slightly less cooked.
And yes, that was a lot of food for two person. Haze and I were over stuffed for the night, but we left with satisfaction. Not everything is 100% awesome, but they were quite a bit above average, and priced very competitively.
set meals, inaniwa noodle, foie gras and oyster mentai maki
Which is also why we went back. This time with Kerol, Horng, and Yuki too. We tried some of their set meals, inaniwa noodle and cha soba, and I took the opportunity to order the foie gras maki as well.
The girls enjoyed the set meals. Portions were pretty big, and our noodle were pretty decent as well.
The foie gras & oyster maki, well, lets just say the foie gras was a bit too thinly sliced to properly satisfy my craving for the goose liver. It was okay, but I think to really enjoy foie gras, you gotta have it pan seared.
KY, Haze, Kerol, Yuki, and some desserts at Senjyu
Senjyu does offer pretty interesting desserts too, there’s the frozen mango+orange sorbet, the macha pudding with ice cream (RM 10), and parfait too. There were pretty decent, and if you still have room to spare by the end of dinner, well, try one.
2F-27 & 28, 2nd Floor
Bangsar Village 2,
2, Jalan Telawi Satu,
59100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.13071, 101.67146
Tel: 03-2287 1535