Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / tuna

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

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

If you type Omakase in google, this is what you get:

  1. (in a Japanese restaurant) a meal consisting of dishes selected by the chef.

So then, SOU Omakase is exactly what the name of the restaurant suggests – a Japanese outfit at Mid Valley Gardens that prides itself on their Omakase menu.

sou omakase mid valley gardens
sou omakase mid valley gardens

Lunch starts at RM 98++ per person, and dinner comes with a choice of 4 different course –

  • SOU dinner course – RM 220
    • starter, chawanmushi, Japanese garnish food, sashimi, grilled dish, mouth wash, main course, rice course with miso soup, dessert with Japanese tea
  • Special dinner course – RM 320
    • starter, special fresh oyster, Japanese garnish food, special sashimi, grilled dish, mouth wash, main course, rice course with miso soup, dessert with Japanese tea
  • Special abalone course – RM 370
    • starter, Japanese soup, Japanese garnish food, special sashimi moriawase, special grilled abalone, mouth wash, main course, sushi 3 kinds with miso soup, home made dessert with Japanese tea
  • Tasting menu – RM 450
    • degustation menu offered by chef FUKUCHI, 10 courses.

foie gras salad
foie gras salad

For the purpose of our review, we went for the tasting menu.

But first, if you’re heading to SOU Omakase, do note that it is located near the entrance of the Gardens Hotel, accessible via the Mall but through a tricky back door, with the restaurant facing Bangsar area of the building. It is much easier if you choose to valet park at the Gardens.

I won’t with fancy Japanese lingo for these dishes, since I assume many of you are like me who are heaps better in your command of English language than Japanese, we’ll stick with simple descriptions.

The dinner started with a beautiful dish of foie gras salad, a small chunk of perfectly seared goose liver with some greens and caviar. The ingredients itself speaks business.

 Netherlands oyster with homemade tabasco
 Netherlands oyster with homemade tabasco

Second course was Netherlands oyster with homemade tabasco, one of the best ways to get more zinc to your system. I do like the taste of their homemade tabasco sauce, slightly milder yet more complex in texture.

Snow crab with Spanish mackerel and Japanese winter melon soup
snow crab with Spanish mackerel and Japanese winter melon soup

Then there’s snow crab with Spanish mackerel in Japanese winter melon soup, our first warm dish of the night. The dish reminds me of some high end Chinese soup dishes, but one with unmistakenly Japanese ingredients. Warm and comforting.

mini sushi with chopped tuna belly and sea urchin
mini sushi with chopped tuna belly and sea urchin

Then it was a mini sushi to get our palette going for more raw seafood. Chopped tuna belly with sea urchin, two of the more premium sushi ingredients that packs a punch in savory index, perfectly balanced with freshly grated wasabi, a few slices of seaweed, and expertly prepared sushi rice.

butter fish with eel in yam paste
butter fish with eel in yam paste

Butter fish with eel in yam paste was next. This is a dish that I think some may have trouble getting used to the texture, it was soft and slightly slimy in texture from the eel and yam, but does provide an interesting experience especially when feeling it in the mouth.

We then had an aperitif, simple yuzu with soda to get our taste buds afresh for the next course – sashimi.

Sashimi part 1, served with wasabi moose and hand grated wasabi - octopus, yellow tail, mackerel
Sashimi part 1, served with shoyu moose and hand grated wasabi
– octopus, yellow tail, mackerel

This was undoubtedly the highlight of the omakase course to me. The sashimi came in two parts, and served with shoyu moose (soya sauce in moose form) and freshly grated wasabi.

Part one was octopus, yellowtail, and mackerel. Merely saying they are “fresh” would be doing these dishes a disservice. The sashimi were paired with different combination of seaweed to compliment its natural tastes, and those shoyu moose provides an interesting, if not very convenient way of handling the amount of soya sauce you want in the sashimi. A new experience to me.

Sashimi part 2 - the fat stuff, Otoro and salmon belly
Sashimi part 2 – the fat stuff, Otoro and salmon belly

Part 2 of the sashi were the fatter stuff – otoro (tuna belly), and salmon belly. Both premium cuts were beautifully presented, and tastes even better than they look. The otoro with its special condiment was especially delicious, I can definitely do this again, and again, and again.

cod with miso stew
cod with miso stew

Then it was time for a table top hot pot experience that came in the form of cod with miso stew. Cod never disappoints, and with high quality miso, certainly makes for a bullet proof dish. I can have this with a bowl of rice and call it a meal and be perfectly content.

beef, braised tuna collar, or lamb as choices of main
beef, braised tuna collar, or lamb as choices of main

Main course came in the form of either braised tuna collar, sliced wagyu beef, or lamb cutlets. Each were pretty rich in taste but not entirely too different from each other in terms of theme. The braised tuna collar was a first for me, and turned out to be probably too heavy to be part of a ten course meal. I was stuffed by the end of this, in a good way.

Inaniwa udon and salmon sushi
Inaniwa udon and salmon sushi

Penultimate dishes were a simple salmon sushi, and inaniwa udon. I had thought I’d never finish the udon due to how stuffed I was, but somehow there were no trace of udon left a few minutes later. When the food is good, you tend to negotiate extra space in the stomach somehow.

jelly, mochi, and coffee ice cream
jelly, mochi, and coffee ice cream

Dessert came in the form of jelly, mochi, and coffee ice cream. They were beautifully presented, and while did not disappoint, I did not think that they stand out among the other dishes in the course. It was an adequate ending to the 10 course menu, an certainly an omakase experience that is worthy of the restaurant’s name.

Horng, Yuki, & Haze at SOU Omakase
Horng, Yuki, & Haze at SOU Omakase

I’m really intrigued to try their lunch menu and see how they stack up to the likes of TEN & Oribe at similar price point.

SOU Omakase
Lot G247, Ground Floor
The Gardens, Mid Valley City
Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.118658, 101.675286
Tel03-2202 1133
Hours11:30 am – 3 pm, 6 pm – 10 pm

A few weeks ago while walking from KLCC to Pavilion I strolled pass Vipod Residence and noticed that there’s a new Japanese restaurant opening up on the ground floor – Oribe Sushi. I’m a huge fan of proper Japanese food, so there’s no other reason needed to give it a try.

Oribe Sushi at Vipod Residence (between Pavilion & KL Convention Centre)
Oribe Sushi at Vipod Residence (between Pavilion & KL Convention Centre)

A peek on the menu shows that Oribe Sushi only serves Omakase (literal translation: “I’ll leave it to you”). For lunch, there are 4 choices priced at RM 88, RM 150, RM 180, and RM 250. Dinner omakase are priced at RM 120, 168, 198, and 350.

We took a seat at the sushi bar and then of course, I chose the cheapest – “Seto”.

appetizer & chawanmushi
appetizer & chawamushi

This set starts out with appetizer in the form of some carefully stirfried bean sproud, tiny shrimps, and other vege.

Then there’s the chawanmushi that’s smoother than most tofufa I’ve had, it was delicious. So far, so good.

sea bass, flounder, bluefin tuna, yellow tail
sea bass, flounder, bluefin tuna, yellow tail

Then came what we were here for – the sushi.

The experience here is pretty unique. While seated at the sushi bar, the chef is dedicated to your meal. He will prepare one sushi meticulously, serve it on your plate, explained what it is, and then only start preparing the next piece after you’ve consumed the current piece.

This way, the sushi never sit on the plate longer than a few seconds (or however long you take to snap a pic to show your jealous friends on instagram).

mackerel with seaweed, barracuda, scallop
mackerel with seaweed, barracuda, scallop

The 8 types of sushi we had were sea bass, flounder, bluefin tuna, yellow tail, mackerel with seaweed, barracuda, scallop, and ikura.

These were not just simple slices of fish (or other seafood) on rice, but also with addition of seaweed, blow torch treatment, bits of citrus peel, a wipe of sauce/oil and so forth. It was a work of art. I found myself not even really needing those grated fresh wasabi to accompany the sushi.

ikura (salmon egg), and er.. some vegetable roll
ikura (salmon egg), and er.. some vegetable roll

The ginger used here too is not of the usual variety. It was less spicy but carries a slightly sweet flavor which I really liked. They will refill it should you find yourself finishing them like I did.

After 8 pieces of nigiri sushi, we were treated with three pieces of vegetable roll (I think it was Japanese bamboo shoots?) to end the main course part of the meal.

miso soup and mochi with red bean to conclude our omakase
miso soup and mochi with red bean to conclude our omakase

Our omsake ended with a small bowl of miso soup and mochi with red bean as dessert. While the dessert wasn’t as exquisite as the other dishes, it was certainly not disappointing either.

While RM 88++ is certainly no chump change for lunch, I do feel that it provides value for money so far as the quality of food, and the excellent services goes. If you are a fan of proper Japanese food, this is one place you should check out.

map to vipod residence, KL

Oribe Sushi @ Vipod Residence
19, Jalan Kia Peng,
50450 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.152181, 101.712662
Tel: 03-2181 4099

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 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. 😀

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.

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

GPS: 3.174689, 101.659595
Tel: 03-6205 1111

While Cheddie paid a visit to KL about 2 months ago, Cheesie and I went for a seafood dinner to commemorate nothing at all. I’ve decided that Lala Chong be the destination since I’ve heard about the place for the longest time but have yet to give it a try.

Lala Chong at Subang
it was very packed

Lala Chong looks to be a halal place with many female Muslim working as servers. However, mud crab is served though, so I guess it would be up to individual’s interpretation on the appropriateness to eat here if you embrace Islam.

Anyway, for the two of us we ordered three dishes. A shiong thong 上汤 lala, baked crab, and a spicy paku pakis (fern) to go with some rice. The place was really packed on that Friday night, but luckily food didn’t take too long to arrive.

Lala Chong at Subang
lala, paku pakis (fern), baked crab, cheesie & cheddie

The shiong thong 上汤 lala was cooked in this herbal soup with some chili padi, it was pretty good but unfortunately the shellfish lacks in size. For a place with the name Lala in it, I think that’s a bit wrong.

However, the baked crab was fantastic. I think only salt, plenty of ginger, and some chili padi were used; but the crab was very fresh, very sweet, and very very juicy. I really liked it. No thick sauce to mask the original taste of crab, and no messy wet fingers to deal with either.

Cheesie’s favorite dish was the paku pakis with canned tuna. I find it very interesting too, the texture of paku pakis is unlike other vegetables, and the taste of tuna, chili, and garlic made it a pretty unique experience. Can’t really have it without rice though.

Lala Chong at Subang
Lala Chong is just opposite Terminal 3, Subang Airport

If I remember correctly, the dinner costs some RM 70 for the two of us. Pretty reasonable for what we had.

A little boy was really amused with Cheddie that night, as evident from that picture. I think he was asking if he could have her baked. 😛

Lot PT 6824, Terminal 3,
Abdul Aziz Shah Airport,
47200 Subang, Selangor

GPS: 3.135145, 101.553626
Tel: 03-7859 1906