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KL has seen a bit of a boom in premium Omakase style Japanese restaurants of late, I’m no historian, but it probably started out with Kame Sushi at Hartamas, then came Oribe at KL, Sou at Mid Valley, Sushi Azabu, and more.

Sushi Ryu, Platinum Park KLCC
Sushi Ryu, Platinum Park KLCC

With the increase in popularity of these restaurants, and perhaps a bit of a dip in our currency, prices for a meal of omakase course has been increasing as well. I remember paying RM 88++ for an unforgettable lunch at Oribe when they first opened, but now you’ll be hard pressed to find anything below RM 200 per pax for such treatment. Which begs the question, is it worth it to spend RM 500 or more for a dinner for two? And will these restaurant sustain?

Anyway, the topic in this article is my experience at Sushi Ryu with their omakase course priced at RM 279++ per person, their other option on the menu is priced at RM 579++ per person, additionally, there’s a limited time menu with Michelin star teppanyaki from Tokyo at RM 1588++ per person.

In my experience, the cheapest option usually gets you the best value per dollar spent. I enjoyed myself almost as much when I spent 88++ at Oribe compared to RM 230++ course at the same place at a different time.

seabream sashimi with ebiko and truffle oil as starter
seabream sashimi with ebiko and truffle oil as starter

Our dinner started out fantastically.

Tai sashimi with copious amount of ebiko and truffle oil. It was fresh, delicious, and really opened up my appetite for more, I really enjoyed it.

otoro sushi
otoro sushi

Next was otoro as their seasonal sashimi dish. It was two slices of tuna belly served on a piece of rock with grated wasabi. The accompanying shoyu tasted pretty premium, but I thought the sashimi was average for this cut. It wasn’t better than the ones we had at J’s Gate opening event…

chawanmushi as our hot dish
chawanmushi as our hot dish

Seasonal hot dish came in the form of chawanmushi. It was quite a busy dish, with more ebiko and crab meat. Execution was really good and this was my second favorite dish after the appetizer.

seven pieces of nigri sushi
seven pieces of nigri sushi

Seven pieces of nigri sushi made up of our main and served in three separate dishes. The server did describe to us what they were but I can’t really remember their names.

They were also supposed to have already been properly “seasoned” with the right amount of soya sauce and wasabi. To be honest, I found these sushi to be average-to-good, but did not have the wow factor I expect for something at this price point. More than once I was hoping for soya sauce and wasabi, and the squid was actually too chewy.

miso soup, dessert
miso soup, dessert

Soup in the menu was miso soup, it was an average bowl of miso soup.

Most disappointing for me though, was perhaps the dessert. It was the Japanese version of ice cream sandwich topped with chocolate. Yes the chocolate was fine, but the ice cream could probably be had from Family Mart.

platinum park klcc map

Address:
Sushi Ryu
Platinum Park, KLCC
50088 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.155168, 101.718929
Tel: 03-2181 1533

Lot 10 KL is one of the best places in all of KL if you are a fan of Japanese food, the lower ground floor the 4th floor of this building is home to some 2 dozens Japanese restaurants, serving up anything from shabu shabu, to omakase sushi.

Today, let’s look at one of their less glamorous outlets at Isetan the Japan Store’s supermarket section – Hirashima Sushi.

Hirashima Sushi, Isetan KL, Lot 10
Hirashima Sushi, Isetan KL, Lot 10

Hirashima Sushi is basically the sushi counter for the supermarket, with an open chiller section not unlike many grocery stores in the city – offering pre-packed sushi/sashimi cuts to go.

What’s different at Hirashima Sushi is that they happen to also have a small sushi bar offering sushi bowls and selected nigri sushi (menu below), priced from RM 36 to RM 88 and comes with free flow green tea.

toro kaisen don - tuna belly, uni, ikura
toro kaisen don – tuna belly, uni, ikura

Being a huge fan of toro (tuna belly), I went for the toro kaisen don (RM 88). The bowl of sushi rice comes with four slices of tuna belly, uni (sea urchin), and quite generous amount of ikura (salmon roe).

Quality wise it was rather decent, and definitely packs a punch above it’s asking price if you ask me. There aren’t many places you can have this sort of combination below RM 100. I was well satisfied.

hotate kaisen don, Elizabeth
hotate kaisen don, Elizabeth

My dinner date for the day, Elizabeth, chose the hotate kaisen don (RM 68), basically the same set with raw scallop instead of tuna belly. I had a piece of the scallop and was happy to say that it definitely did not disappoint.

I have a feeling I’ll be going back to this place again pretty soon.

menu at Hirashima Sushi

map to Lot 10, KL

Address:
Hirashima Sushi
Lower Ground Floor
Isetan the Japan Store

Lot 10 Shopping Mall
Jalan Bukit Bintang
GPS: 3.146462, 101.711758

If you’re a fan of Japanese food, you should know about J’s Gate Dining at Lot 10 KL – a concept that is unlike any other when it comes to Japanese cuisine offering in Malaysia. As one of those fans myself, I was glad to be invited to the launch event and be one of the firsts to get a taste of what this place has to offer.

J's Gate Dining, Level 4, Lot 10 KL
J’s Gate Dining, Level 4, Lot 10 KL

J’s Gate Dining is located on level 4 of Lot 10 in Bukit Bintang. Head up the escalator now and you’d see 18 different Japanese restaurants taking up almost the entire floor space offering various different types of Japanese cuisine,centered around the concept of authentic Japanese cuisine and services.

J's Gate Dining launching, Lot 10 Level 4
J’s Gate Dining launching, Lot 10 Level 4

The  grand opening was officiated by Mr. Makio Miyagawa, Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia and Mr. Joseph Yeoh, Vice President of YTL Land & Development Bhd and YTL Hotels & Properties Sdn. Bhd., together with Mr. Naoki Yokoyama, Executive Officer of Sojitz Corporation, Chief Operation Officer of Retails & Lifestyle Business Division.

The opening ceremony is followed by a carving session of a 40.8 KG cultivated Bluefin tuna specially air flown by Sojitz Corporation all the way from Japan. We were then served the fatty tuna in the form of sushi after the event, and I may have returned for more than a few servings!

Bluefin tuna carving demonstration
Bluefin tuna carving demonstration

J’s Gate Dining is separated into two “sections”, with one side a food court type of set up offering all pork free Japanese dishes, and another section with individual restaurants, some with non halal dishes.

Here is the list of restaurants:

Restaurant Name Category
Tendon Kohaku Tendon
Menya Ichiyutei Udon
Kaisendon Kinme Seafood rice bowls
Shinanoji Soba
Fuji no Sakura Japanese hotpot
Bonta Bonta Eel rice bowls
TSUJIRI Matcha sweets
Cravebit Bar Bar
Mo-Mo-Paradise Sukiyaki/shabu-shabu
Torisakaba Hanazen Chicken izakaya
HACHI Traditional Kyoto cuisine
ViTO Café, gelato
Torikin Yakitori
Umai Sushi Kan Sushi
OSAKA Kitchen Teppanyaki, okonomiyaki
Kushiage Kinme Kushiage
YAYOI Set meals
Kaguraya Chicken ramen

On the same evening, a few of us were also invited to an exclusive tasting session to sample dishes from some of the restaurants at J’s Gate Dining. In the span of some 2.5 hours, we managed to visit these five restaurants:

Umai Sushi Kan - Sushi restaurant
Umai Sushi Kan – Sushi restaurant (pork free)

Umai Sushi Kan offers sushi & sashimi, perhaps the most familiar type of Japanese food for many of us. Again we got to have more of that cultivated Bluefin tuna sushi & sashimi, simply heaven. The rolls were pretty on point as well.

Torikin Yakitori (non halal)
Torikin Yakitori (non halal)

Next up was Torikin Yakitori. There’s a good selection of different skewers to choose from, from chicken tail all the way to pork belly, priced at RM 4 to RM 7 per stick. These makes for some really good beer food.

Kushiage Kinme - deep fried skewers
Kushiage Kinme – deep fried skewers (non halal)

If yakitori isn’t your cup of tea but you still love things in skewers, hop over to Kushiage Kinme. Over here you get fresh ingredients deep fried with light batter in skewers. There’s prawns, quails’ eggs, pork, and even asparagus, my favorite is gindara (cod).

I highly recommend some cold sake with these, which was what we did.

Hachi Traditional Kyoto cuisine, we had waygu beef here
Hachi Traditional Kyoto cuisine, we had waygu beef here (pork free)

If you prefer traditional Kyoto cuisine, Hachi could be your destination of choice at J’s Gate Dining. We sampled the wagyu set here that came with wagyu steak, roast beef, wagyu cutlet, bulgogi, roast vegetable, and rice, miso & edamame. A complete meal that should satisfy any beef lover.

Vito Cafe & Gelato
Vito Cafe & Gelato (pork free)

Our fifth and final stop for the night was Vito Cafe & Gelato, where we had a sweet ending to the day. Vito also serve coffee in addition to gelato.

map to Lot 10, KL

Address:
J’s Gate Dining
Level 4
Lot 10 Shopping Mall
Jalan Bukit Bintang
GPS: 3.146462, 101.711758
Tel:  03-2110 6850
Webwww.js-gate.com

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, 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
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)
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.

map to Lot 10, KL

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

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
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
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
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 - toro, unagi, and amoebi sushi
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
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
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

Torii at TTDI map

Address:
18, Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 1,
Taman Tun Dr Ismail,
60000 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.148787, 101.629781
Tel03-7733 9309