Tag / wagyu
When it comes to Japanese restaurants, KL is spoiled for choices. Probably 80% of the hotels has an in house Japanese restaurant, there bound to be a place serving sushi at every shopping complex, and they are also represented in most newer commercial centers.
It is then very easy to get lost in the conversation, and higher end Japanese restaurants often have to offer something unique to set themselves apart. Be it ambiance, ingredients, or experience.
Zipangu at Shangri-La Hotel, KL
Personally, Zipangu at Shangri-La KL always have a special place in my heart as it was the restaurant where I first experienced foie gras back in 2007, as you would remember the first Kobe beef (at Elegantology), or the first ebiko (at Jusco Pyramid), first tempoyak (at Tenggol Island), etc.
So when I had the opportunity to be sample the Early Spring Lobster Kaiseki at Zipangu, I agreed to it immediately.
The six course menu is available from 15 to 31st March 2015, and priced at RM 280++ per person.
soy milk tofu with lobster & sweet sticky soya sauce
We started out with a dish that is visually very similar to chawanmushi, but what is usually made of steamed egg is instead chilled home-made soy milk tofu, with the topping of wasabi, sweet sticky sauce, and of course, lobster. The visual-almost-misrepresentation did not take away from the brilliance of the appetizer, it was simple yet elegant.
octopus with field mustard and soba noodle
The second course was octopus with field mustard and soba noodle. Another light dish showcasing not only seafood, but also the vegetables of the season in Japan. I particularly like the addition of bamboo shoots.
sashimi with salmon, lobster, and seabream
No Kaiseki is complete without some raw ingredients. For this we have sashimi with salmon, lobster, and seabream. If you haven’t had lobster sashimi before, I urge you to give it a try, it is one of my favorite raw seafood ever, in fact, I think it is the best way to enjoy lobster.
The soya sauce is mixed with lemon in this instance to give it an even fresher feel. I really enjoyed this.
hot dish – lobster and seasonal vegetables with Bonito fish gut sauce
The meal then turn up the heat just a bit with the next serving being a hot dish of lobster and seasonal vegetable with salted fish cream sauce. The star of this dish is the cream sauce, as explained by our server, it is actually made from Bonito fish gut.
It was subtle yet you can definitely feel its presence, sort of like how having Natalie Portman sitting at a quiet corner would make an impact to a room.
grilled Wagyu sukiyaki roll
The next dish took a departure from seafood to honor another Japan’s famous ingredient – Wagyu beef. The good chefs at Zipangu simply called this Sliced Wagyu Beef Sukiyaki Roll.
It was stuffed with mushroom and other seasonal vegetables grilled with perfection. Dip the roll in raw egg infused sukiyaki inspired sauce, and you have an implosion of richness with savory overdose. It was really satisfying.
lobster fried rice with pickles
Like most course meals, the penultimate dish is usually something you can fill your stomach with, and for this we had lobster fried rice (you can also choose from garlic fried rice, seafood fried rice, claypot cooked rice or steamed rice.)
The fried rice tasted rather muted at first, but with the accompanying pickles, it suddenly became balanced and, well, good! The lack of salt/soya sauce in the rice was to make way for the pickles, this was the first time I had fried rice this way, though the concept isn’t totally unfamiliar to me since you have onigiri served in similar fashion as well.
KY & ahfa at Shangri-La KL, with our professional Japanese server
(actually the Guest Service Manager – Yoshihiro Hattori)
Panna Cotta with Cherry Blossom Flavour ends the Early Spring Lobster Kaiseki dinner, an experience that is truly Japanese and executed perfectly at Zipangu. I really enjoyed this review and the walk from KLCC under hot sun to Shangri-La was definitely worth it.
The menu only lasts till end of this month, so if you’re a lobster lover, don’t miss out.
Jalan Sultan Ismail
GPS: 3.152139, 101.709419
Tel: 03-2032 2388
A few weeks ago we were invited to sample some drinks and food at The Roof & Stratosphere in One Avenue.
I must say that I’m perhaps one of the very few people who didn’t realise that there’s such a happening place at around One Utama area. My memory of “happening” and “One Utama” was still stuck in 1997 where there were clubs blasting “Lemon Tree”. When you’re drunk and can’t remember where you park your car in the maze that is One Utama car park, you would have quite a situation. Anyway, I digressed.
The Roof at One Avenue’s top floor
The Roof is located at the top floor of One Avenue, which is located next to One Utama. With an underground car park and a pretty high speed elevator system that gets you on top rather quickly, it is rather convenient.
There are a few hang-out places at The Roof, and the one we checked out was Signature by The Hill, a restaurant with a full bar and pretty interesting menu.
Hawaii 5-0, The Fish Bowl with Deep, and Milo Ais with Haze
The cocktail menu at Signature is contemporary and playful. I tried Hawaii 5-0 (RM 40) that’s laden with Smirnoff vodka, Frangelico, organic raspberry jam all housed within a hallowed out pineapple. It was very sweet, refreshing, and easy to drink. I really liked it.
Haze tried the Milo Ais (RM 28), our local favorite breakfast chocolate drink but infused with rum, baileys, and kahlua. Rich and silky.
The other cocktails we tried at Signature were really impressive as well, perfect compliment to the food we were ordering next.
Pan Seared Foie Gras, Black Angus Carpaccio, Caesar Salad, Chicken Fingers
The food menu isn’t particularly extensive, but covered all the bases.
With about 10 items to choose from, we picked pan seared foie gras (RM 48), black angus carpaccio (RM 32), caesar salad (RM 22), and chicken fingers as starters.
I liked that the foie gras was served with caramelised fig, and the carpaccio too was sliced to perfection. Chicken fingers made for perfect beer companion as well. Would love to their their salmon & maguro (tuna) tartar (RM 25) and escargot (RM 28) next time.
Wagyu ribeye, black cod, king prawns
For mains, I picked Wagyu Ribeye (RM 138) with a pretty simple presentation of baked sweet potato and sautéed seasoned vegetable. The beef has a marbling no. 7 rating. The only complain I have with this dish is that it came in a hot plate, and thin cuts don’t work particularly well with hot plates. I’d order this with normal plate instead.
Black cod (RM 50) turned out to be one of the best dishes we tried. Perfectly seared and served with braised leek & fennel topped with tomato jam, it was excellent. That perfectly prepped fish skin, I can have it all day!
King prawns (RM 55) came with creamy pasta, and I thought the presentation was particularly clever. The prawns served in a jar making it a less messy affair. Deep who had this was happy about the dish.
Other dishes to check out would be Black Angus tenderloin (RM 88), seared duck breast (RM 45), and perhaps the ultimate gourmet burger that’s priced at RM 200!
Stratosphere – where drinks are served on a helipad
After dinner, we adjourned to the Stratosphere, which is actually a helipad on top of the roof of… well, The Roof.
This was one of the bars with the best ambiance in town, with 360 degree uninterrupted view of Selangor and KL, you can see all the way to KLCC, the whole of Bandar Utama, Kota Damansara, and TTDI.
There were 10 different cocktails to choose from here, and all priced at RM 40 nett. I wasn’t particularly impressed with the couple drinks I tried to be honest, and this is perhaps due to the fact that I’ve had those excellent cocktails just a couple hours prior, but the view was able to make up for it.
I think the cocktail department is something that they will be able to correct, and I certainly hope so. Regardless, it is still most definitely worth checking out.
Thank you Kim for the invitation and a great night.
First Avenue, Bandar Utama,
Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.146684, 101.617005
Tel: 012-6910628 (Stratosphere)
I’ve always been a fan of beef and a fan of Las Vacas (we went to their Kelana Jaya branch quite a few times), but when I got the invitation to sample their new breakfast menu, I must say I was just a little bit skeptical about what a primarily meat serving place could come up with. Well, lets just say that I’m glad we went, it wasn’t a bad way to spend the Labour Day morning at all.
Las Vacas at Mont Kiara Shoplex now serves breakfast
Las Vacas at Mont Kiara Shoplex has been in operation for the past four years, and until the first of May, 2014, they did not open for breakfast.
The location is pretty convenient as far as Mont Kiara goes. The Shoplex itself has paid parking, and it is also only a stone’s throw away from Plaza Mont Kiara and 1 Mont Kiara.
Dining area is alfresco but with a huge retractable canvas and lush greenery around the shop. I really like the ambiance.
Wagyu Karubi & Eggs
There are a dozen different choices for breakfast, starting from something as simple as muffins (RM 8), bread platter (RM 8.5), paleo stew (RM 21), to classic all day breakfast (RM 33).
We chose both their signature entrees – the Wagyu Karubi & Eggs (RM 28) and Ox Tongue Benny (RM 27). Both dishes are a variation of the classic Egg Benedict, with a couple poached eggs and panini bread sandwiching the meat, some rocket salad and hollandaise sauce (in the case of ox tongue) complete the list of ingredients.
Wagyu Karubi is basically the boneless short rib slices that are popular in Korean cuisine as Galbi, and it definitely played a fitting role in this dish. I would have perhaps liked it a little more salty, but flavour wise it was every bit as you would imagine. Haze was plenty satisfied with the Ox tongue as well.
Salmon Florentine, All Day Breakfast
Others had dishes including Salmon Florentine (spinach ricotta & Norwegian smoked salmon omelette on whole bread, RM 18) and All Day Breakfast (grilled steak, lamb, beef sausage, egg and salad, RM 33) were reported to be pretty good as well.
cafe latte and long black
Oh, I’m also glad that the coffee served here are really good too. Other than cafe latte (RM 10), long black (RM 6), and the usual espresso based drinks, there’s also chai latte (RM 8), green tea latte (RM 9), and a selection of tea.
with some of the who’s who including Nadia Heng, Liang, and Shawn Lee
It was certainly a great breakfast option to be reckon if you’re looking for some Western fair on a lazy morning. Our session was made better by the company we had, including Liang, Nadia Heng, Shawn Lee, and other friends.
I am quite sure I’ll be going there again.
Las Vacas Mont Kiara
Shop LG, New Wing, Floor LG
Mont Kiara Shoplex
Jalan Kiara, Taman Sri Hartamas,
50480 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.166326, 101.652664
Tel: 03-6205 2258
Japanese restaurants are a dime a dozen in KL. Arguably one of the most mature foreign cuisine of all, you can find them in all price range and specializing in every sub-category. Today we’re going to look into Takumi Japanese fine dining, a pretty high end Japanese restaurant that emphasizes shabu-shabu and sukiyaki, among other dishes.
Takumi Japanese Fine Dining at Grand Millennium Hotel
Takumi is one of the restaurants located within Grand Millennium Hotel, which itself is directly next to Pavilion and opposite Fahrenheit 88. The interior is classy, and for lunch, you can find some pretty decent deals too (I’ve been a few times for Chirashi sushi etc).
Our food review session was arranged by HungryGoWhere Malaysia (where I am a contributor), so thank you Shing for inviting, and Ahfa for being my sit-in plan B partner of the day.
edamame and Kani Salad
We started the day with some greens in the form of edamame and Kani Salad (RM 18/28). The salad was refreshing, and I enjoyed the sesame dressing that’s been spiked up a little bit with wasabi.
The chef at Takumi likes to combine the traditional Osaka cuisine with a hint of boldness famous in restaurants at Tokyo, as we were told.
Sashimi platter (RM 180) was a work of art, with 18 pieces of fresh seafood served on a bed of ice with shiso leaves and even a bit of dried ice for mood. There were sawara (Spanish mackerel), maguro (tuna), kanpachi (amberjack), hotate (scallop), sake (salmon), and I believe, ohyuu (halibut).
Spanish Mackerel, grated Wasabi
The fish were fresh, delightful, and goes very well with grated wasabi. As always, remember that almost everything on a sashimi platter is designed to be consumed. For example, you can have mackerel with shiso leaf and a bit of daikon.
The shiso leaf is there to refresh your palate or to counter the “fishy” smell, getting your tongue ready for the next piece. Don’t waste them!
Next up was lobster mentaiyaki (RM 78 half), two of my favorite ingredients in the same dish – lobster and mentaiko.
The combination was perfect, the savouriness of mentaiko blends well with lobster meat, and if you’re one who can momentarily suspend the notion that cholesterol is bad for you, the lobster head is something you’ll absolutely enjoy.
Kawahagi, Chicken Curry Cutlet Maki
We also had steamed Kawahagi (seasonal pricing) or commonly known as threadsail filefish. It was prepared not unlike a Chinese dish, with mushroom, some leek, and a hint of soya sauce. To be honest, I find the taste a bit bland and texture to be average. This isn’t up to par with the likes of steamed pomphret in my opinion.
I view Chicken curry cutlet maki (RM 30) as an interesting experiment, combining ingredients that otherwise would not appear together. The result is a bit of a mix, those who are allergic to soft shell crab can use this as a substitute, but the rest of us should probably avoid.
I do applaud the chef for being brave in experimenting with new recipes such as this, without such moves culinary art would never advance. So don’t take this as a negative criticism.
A5 Wagyu Sirloin and Angus Beef Shabu Shabu
Then came the star of the night – A5 Wagyu Sirloin and Angus Beef shabu shabu.
Wagyu comes in many grades, with the alphabet denoting yield (A, B, C), and a number (1-5) indicating marbling score. Hence A5 is among the highest quality you can get, with fat contents equivalent to 8-12 BMS (Beef Marbling Standard).
The pricing at Takumi is as follow:
- Shabu – shabu (Angus beef) : RM88.00
- A5 Wagyu Roso : RM158.00
- A3 Wagyu Sirloin : RM180.00
- A5 Wagyu Sirloin : RM280.00
- Matsuza Beef : RM490.00
Certainly not cheap, but of decent value, and the quality is certainly there.
just dip it for a few seconds, melt in your mouth
For the wagyu, a dip in the boiling soup for just a few seconds is more than enough. We were supplied with a sort of ponzu mix but I love having the beef as is, the mixture of fat and beef melt in your mouth (pardon for the lack of a better description). It was so good!
The Angus beef was there just so we can make a comparison on the difference between a super high grade beef and a decent beef. To be fair, they were more than decent and would be of top quality beef on any menu without wagyu.
Ahfa, KY, Shing, Weizhi
We ended the night with some complimentary fruits, and coincidentally it was Weizhi’s (of KampungBoyCityGal) birthday too, so we had some cupcakes and sang a birthday song. It was a great night with awesome company. I can certainly do more of this.
The name Kampachi is not foreign to fans of Japanese cuisine in Malaysia, especially to those who gravitates towards the higher end establishments. Starting as restaurants within Equatorial hotels, the Kampachi brand now spread outside from its confine and can be found at several other locations.
The latest branch being at Plaza 33 in Petaling Jaya, and we were lucky enough to to sample the food and drinks at this fine restaurant a couple weeks ago in a private food review session with a few other like minded bloggers.
Kampachi at Jaya 33, check out the sake ball
Right by the side of the restaurant main door hung a ball of something that can be easily assumed as a hive of geometrically evolved species of bee, but is in fact, a “sake ball”. A ball made of cedar twigs traditionally hung over the door of sake breweries to signify new arrival of (high quality) sake to customers.
Appropriate here as Kampachi prides itself in stocking one of the largest selections of Japanese sake, including some hard to find “cult” sakes from exceptional breweries that are made available in Malaysia exclusively by Kampachi.
open kitchen concept, with plenty of wine and sake
Kampachi has certainly spent a lot of effort in creating a very striking interior of the 198 person capacity restaurant. A lot of traditional Japanese materials, such Japanese paper, imported floor and wall tiles, and more are applied in a contemporary way to make up a sophisticated and modern look.
I especially like the bamboo seating pods that can seat maybe up to 5-6 person that can be rotated for added privacy.
In the interest of not bothering paying customers with camera flash & loud chatters, we had the session in one of the three private rooms. Interestingly, these rooms come with a private sushi kitchen of sort, concealed by a movable panel that kinda reminds me of those cabinets that conceal TVs in the 80s.
shima aji sashimi (raw striped jack)
Our review session was of the omakase meal (priced at RM 220), which means “I’ll leave it to you”, or degustation menu in Japanese. Typically you get the freshest seasonal ingredients and chef’s favourite dishes this way.
Our first dish was the Shima Aji Sashimi, or raw Striped Jack.
Chef Looi, who carved the fish right before our eyes behind that private kitchen, told us that the very fish beautifully presented to us was still in Japan the very same morning.
To describe the fish as merely “fresh” would be an understatement. I can’t criticise any aspect of the sashimi - taste, fat content, and visual appeal were all simply spot on.
the sashimi, shake kawa salad (green vege with crispy salmon skin & salmon roe)
Cold sake is dispense from a special holder that keeps ice separate as to not dilute the drinks. While the mechanism is visually similar to milking a cow, you don’t need to squeeze or suck, just a gentle tap will do.
Our second dish was Shake Kawa Salad, green vegetable with crispy salmon skin and salmon roe. I particularly like the very thinly sliced crispy salmon skin, made available from the 2-3 whole salmon consumed here each day.
wagyu teppanyaki (grilled Australian wagyu beef)
Before continuing with more seafood, we were served with Wagyu Teppanyaki, the beef sourced from Australia, grilled medium rare, and served with the unique Kampachi truffle sauce.
The sauce is a blend of Tosa Shoyu and mushroom broth with a hint of black truffle and olive oil. I usually don’t have my beef with any condiment, but this sauce managed to make it just that much better. My only complain is that they don’t sell the sauce in bottles.
unfiltered sake, ankimo beko an (pan-seared angler fish liver with simmered radish)
In French cuisine, foie gras often signifies luxury, and in Japanese food, the equivalent would be Angler fish liver, or Ankimo Beko An.
The liver makes up quite a large part of the fish, has a very rich texture. Simmered radish is used to expertly mask any fishy taste the liver might carry to balance this unique ingredient. This was the 3rd time I had ankimo, first was in Vietnam, and second at Hokkaido Ichiba restaurant.
Following the cold sake, we were served warm, unfiltered sake. The milky color is pretty unique for usually clear looking sake, and yet was definitely smooth and leave a feeling of warmth and comfort in the stomach.
aburi sushi (seared sushi) – anago (conger eel), shake harasu (salmon belly), hotate (scallop)
miso soup with striped jack bones
What’s a omakase dinner without sushi?
Three types of Aburi Sushi (seared sushi) were chosen for the night – Anago (conger eel), Shake Harasu (salmon belly), and Hotate (scallop). Each were seared just very lightly and still partially raw at the bottom, the first time I tried sushi prepared this way and I liked it.
Miso soup was made with the bones from our first dish, and the striped jack definitely contributed to the extra sophistication in the soup that would have been quite boring otherwise.
garlic fried rice, Japanese peach, and ciki enjoy the fruits
We specially asked for garlic fried rice just cause Ciki needed some carb for her half marathon preparation, and I was glad to go along with one as well. Most definitely the best garlic fried rice I’ve had, it’s hard to explain, there weren’t any magical ingredients, just plain old rice, garlic, eggs, and such. Execution was the key, great job by the chefs.
Instead of fancy desserts, we had a couple slices of Japanese peach.
These fruits were priced at RM 66 per peach, and “WHAT?!!!??” was my initial reaction. Then I took a bite, and it was a realization and instant understanding on why and how a fruit barely the size of my fist can cost more than 4 hours of solid domestic housework. You get what you paid for, it was excellent and now I’m staring at this piece of apple on my desk while writing this and dreading it.
Haze, KY, and our parting drinks – sake bomb
As for drinks, we started out with the pink colored cocktail – Blushing Maiko (trainee Geisha) to get us started prior to dinner.
After the cold and warm sake, it was a mixture of green tea with Hakushu Single Malt Whisky, interpretation of Baileys the Japanese way perhaps?
We concluded the night with Sake Bomb - shot glasses of sake lined up atop beer glasses and knocked down with Domino effects, it was quite a show and I suspect the bartender has done this a hundred times probably with water and tea before perfecting the skill. We were well impressed, and of course, had one for the road.
It was a great dinner, and I want to go back.
P/S: The famous Kampachi Sunday Buffet is back and now available exclusively at the Plaza 33 outlet, priced at RM 118++ for adults and RM 68++ for children below 10.
P1-02, First Floor
Jalan Kemajuan, Seksyen 13
Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.10988, 101.63787
Tel : 03-7931 6938
Hours: 12-3pm for lunch, 6-11pm for dinner