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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.

Level 4 at Lot 10 is now J’s Gate Dining, home to 18 of Japan’s best restaurants. We were at the launch event with Mr. Miyagawa, Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia delivering his speech for the grand opening & ribbon cutting ceremony. . Also during the event was the carving session a 40.8kg cultivated maguro. Of course, we also got to sample many of the dishes from the various restaurants, and most importantly the otoro sushi from the freshly carved tuna. I may have helped myself too many times with those tuna sushi. So good! . Lot 10 is transforming to this Japanese food heaven, it’s great! #kyeats #jsgatedining #lot10 #toro #tuna #jsgate @jsgatedining

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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

These are the 5 out of 18 restaurants we managed to try during the special tasting session at J’s Gate Dining, Lot 10 4th floor. . Umai Sushi Kan for more of those tuna belly & other sushi, Torikin for yakitori with a kick, Kushiage Kinme for deep fried skewers, Hachi with traditional Kyoto cuisine (Wagyu beef for us in this case), and also Vito for some galato to end the night. . This place has got to pack the most variety of Japanese food in one location, with reasonable pricing as well. . #kyeats #jsgatedining @jsgatedining #japanesecuisine #wagyu #kinme #sushikan #torikin #hachi #halal #nonhalal

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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.

Shoya sushi bar at Isetan The Japan Store KL. Small selection in the menu but taste is on point and value is pretty good. Makes for a good quick meal option #kyeats #halal #sushi #salmon #isetan @isetanthejapanstore @carolkoh

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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

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 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
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)
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, 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
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
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
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)
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
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
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.

Good eats!

map to Bangsar Village 2

Address:
Senjyu
2F-27 & 28, 2nd Floor
Bangsar Village 2,
2, Jalan Telawi Satu,
Bangsar Baru,
59100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.13071, 101.67146
Tel: 03-2287 1535

Senjyu