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Tag / yakitori

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

SS2 Monday night pasar malam is probably the 2nd largest pasar malam in Klang Valley, with Taman Connaught’s on Wednesday being slightly larger. There are well over a hundred different stalls offering anything from handphone cases, cloths, to fresh produce, and of course, food.

It’s always an adventure to go there and hunt for food every once in a while, as with most pasar malam, there are always new food offerings from time to time. After all pasar malam is probably the best place to gauge a new (al cheapo) trend, isn’t it?

Here are a few dishes we tried last Monday.

yakitori with pork, shishamo, and even smoked duck
yakitori with pork, shishamo, and even smoked duck

There are a couple stalls offering yakitori, and this one we tried is situated closer to McDonald’s (nearby Taiping char kuih teow stall). We had a stick of smoked duck and a couple sticks of pork and shishamo yakitori each. The pork was succulent and delicious, smoked duck more than passable, but shishamo could be more crispy. RM 12.50 in all.

grilled scallops on stick, choose from five flavors
grilled scallops on stick, choose from five flavors

Next was scallop teppanyaki at this Sea King Teppanyaki stall that goes for RM 5 per stick of 3 scallops. You get to choose from 5 different flavors (bonito, black pepper, garlic, chili powder, or seaweed). We opted for original with teppanyaki sauce. It was pretty delicious too.

Less than RM 2 per scallop? Sign me up anytime.

Abang Jeff's fried oysters omelet was actually pretty good
Abang Jeff’s fried oysters omelet was actually pretty good

Then there’s Abang Jeff’s fried oyster. Being from Penang and got burnt many times ordering fried oysters in Klang Valley, I’m usually pretty skeptical with this dish, but since I was feeling adventurous anyway, we gave it a try.

The version here is a bit different as the oysters and eggs are prepared pretty much separately, but the end result turned out to be pretty decent nonetheless. RM 10 gets you 8 pretty good size oysters with more than edible omelet, so that was good. We really enjoyed this.

crispy banchang kuih
banchang kuih anyone?

To cap off the night, we had a crispy ban chang kuih each (RM 1.40) with plenty of sugar, corn, crushed peanuts, and even a bit of coconut inside. Perfect ending for a night of fried/grilled food. Now why don’t they serve beer at pasar malam to go with all these?

map to SS2 Pasar Malam

Address:
SS2 Pasar Malam
Jalan SS2/61
Petaling Jaya
47300 Selangor
GPS3.117366, 101.621668
Hours: Every Monday Night

A few weeks ago we decided to have a little “not very surprised” birthday party dinner for Suan, one of the pioneer of Malaysian blogsphere, who also happens to be one of my dearest friends.

Since she’s been the yakitori sort of phase, we decided that Maruhi Sakaba at Taman Desa would make a good venue for this purpose. It turned out to be an excellent choice.

Maruhi Sakaba at Taman Desa, they could use a better signboard
Maruhi Sakaba at Taman Desa, they could use a better signboard

Getting to Maruhi Sakaba isn’t a problem, but identifying the exact shop lot proved to be a bit of a challenge. For some strange reasons, the owner decided that a Kanji signboard designed for ants would be sufficient. Nonetheless, if you walk towards the center of the shop lots (Faber Plaza) from Public Bank at the corner, you won’t miss it.

Interestingly, the “Japanese BBQ” at Taman Desa is situated just behind at the alleyway of Maruhi Sakaba.

chicken sashimi, baby intestine carpaccio, organ meat stew
chicken sashimi, baby intestine carpaccio, organ meat stew

There are two menus at Maruhi Sakaba, the laminated version showcase over two dozen dishes, while another portable white-board menu gives you an additional 15-18 dishes that aren’t as “permanent”.

We ended up ordering over 3 quarters of what they offer.

Lets start with the non-grilled items. Chicken sashimi (RM 15) is something that we haven’t tried before, it tasted a bit like tuna carpaccio with a slightly more chicken taste, not particularly impressive but rather interesting for a first timer. Baby intestine carpaccio (RM 10) was crunchy and rich, goes well with beer. Then there’s the organ meat stew (RM 10), with the broth so sweet we just had to order a few more bowls, you need to order this if you’re there.

pan fried egg on rice, grilled pork rice, and cold appetizers
pan fried egg on rice, grilled pork rice, and cold appetizers 

For those who want to fill up their stomach quicker, there are rice dishes such as the medamayaki (fried egg on rice, RM 7) or yakibula don (grilled pork & vege on rice, RM 20), both versions were pretty tasty according to those who ordered.

There are also some vegetarian appetizers here, including tofu and wakame salad, (RM 8), pickled cucumber (RM 5), Hiyashi tomato (RM 5), and shio cabbage (RM 5). I recommend not having these as appetizers but use these dishes as refreshers for your tongue in between the yakitori sticks that tends to be a bit more oily and savory.

chicken, pork, mushroom, tomato, okra, and even brinjal yakitori
chicken, pork, mushroom, tomato, okra, and even brinjal yakitori

Then the question is, how are the yakitoris?

Well, for the most part, they are pretty darn good. Prices per stick ranges from about RM 3 to RM 5, and service was rather fast. We never had to wait for more than 10-15 minutes for our dishes to come, so ordering in the middle of eating won’t really interrupt the “flow” at all.

I liked their chicken wings, chicken skin, and pork belly sticks, and also particularly happy that they have quite a few choices of vegetable yakitori as well. The brinjal and lady’s fingers were quite awesome too.

we sure had a great time at Maruhi Sakaba
we sure had a great time at Maruhi Sakaba, it was Suan’s birthday!

Maruhi Sakaba also serves a few types of Japanese beer and sake.

Of course, this place is not without flaws, for one, it would be great if there’s air conditioning and maybe better chairs. But for the price and quality of food and services, we’re not going to complain much. Filling up our belly with plenty of meat and a few glasses of beer totaled up to RM 40-50 per pax. Would go again.

map to Maruhi Sakaba at Taman Desa

Address:
Maruhi Sakaba
6A, Faber Plaza,
Jalan Desa Jaya,
Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.102578, 101.682947
Hours 6 pm-11 pm daily, closed on Mondays

Last Friday we braved the traffic and traveled to Solaris Mont Kiara for a lovely dinner at Shuraku thanks to the invitation from Mei.

The quaint Japanese restaurant is located just above Maybank on level 2, with the ambiance that is only made possible by the inclusion of Japanese diners in addition to Japanese magazines, old clocks, hanging ropes, and the sound and smell of a yakitori bar.

Shuraku at Solaris Mont Kiara
Shuraku at Solaris Mont Kiara

The dishes for the night were already chosen for us so the six of us just sat back and relax. We started the night with some Asahi beer and a couple glasses of Japanese cocktails that were served from this portable carbonated dispenser, we had a pear flavored cocktail, it was lovely.

salmon tamago, beef steak salad, unagi
salmon tamago, beef steak salad, unagi

Appetizer, if you would, were seared salmon on tamago (sweet egg omelet), the sweet and savory unagi on tofu, and some tasty beef steak salad.

pork belly, chicken wings, chicken gizzards, chicken thigh and leek yakitori
pork belly, chicken wings, chicken gizzards, chicken thigh and leek yakitori

What we really came here for though, were the yakitori. While yakitori literally meant grilled fowl, at Shuraku, they also serve it with yummy pork belly too.

Of course, we also had  chicken thigh with leek, chicken wings (I must say the way Japanese grill their chicken wings is a lot better than our Malaysian style, much easier to eat and much less messy), and my favorite – chicken gizzards.

soba, roast eggplants
soba salad, roast eggplants

Soba salad was refreshing but slightly awkward, I still prefer the good old cha soba, this is a bit too fusion for me.

The roast eggplants however, was super awesome. There’s a type of sweet (peanut/mayo?) sauce they add to it that made it so rich and really made my taste buds happy. Kim and I devoured the whole thing, including skin!

salmon maki
salmon and tuna  maki

We shared a salmon and tuna maki too, so yah, they do have raw fish and do a very fine job preparing the maki. Great in both presentation and taste, I must say.

kimchi, okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake/pizza), mushroom
kimchi, okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake/pizza), mushroom

Curiously, Shuraku also serve up a pretty good kimchi dish, and with pork belly in it of course.

Okonomiyaki was rich and quite filling with all the mayo and sweet sauce, I just realised last I had this was in 2005, documented in this post, at Lowyat plaza.

sake, teriyaki, ciki!
sake, teriyaki, ciki!

Ah, there’s also this meatball skewer that was served with half boiled egg. Interesting combination that somehow worked.

the girls and the guys
Haze, Kim, Ciki, Cumi, Gareth, KY

We ordered several more yakitori of various flavored and had an awesome night. Prices at Shuraku are reasonable and doesn’t vary much from other similar Japanese outfit. Do check the place out if you love authentic Japanese food that isn’t just confined to sushi and sashimi

map to Solaris Mont Kiara

Address:
Shuraku
13-2, Jalan Solaris Mont Kiara 1,
Solaris Mont Kiara, off Jalan Duta
50480 Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.174049,101.660037
Tel: 03-6203 0561

Non-halal Japanese Ramen used to be a bit of a novelty in this country. For a long time, Wisma Central’s Tenka Daiichi and Ton Chan at Wisma Cosway were two of the few places that serves it.

Mai Ramen at Jaya One
Mai Ramen at Jaya One

But with the seemingly rapid maturity that Japanese cuisine enjoys in this country over the last decade or so, I’m glad that there are now more ramen shops that don’t feel like they have to make compromises to capture a wider demographic.

Mai Ramen is one of such places, a relatively new comer to the scene that serves ramen as intended – with pork!

chasiu ramen, always my go-to ramen of choice
chasiu ramen, always my go-to ramen of choice

I ordered basically the measuring stick of any ramen place – chasiu ramen. If you ask for a set, it comes with 3 pretty tasty gyoza, a somewhat forgettable salad, and some interesting salty+spicy vegetable on the side that goes pretty well with the ramen.

As for the bowl of ramen itself, it was certainly not a disappointment. The broth was pretty thick and flavorful, the noodle palatable, and the chasiu were commendable too. It was actually, quite good.

I think we might have over ordered..
I think we might have over ordered..

Yuki had ramen that comes with unagi. The unagi sauce certainly made the eel tasted as good as any. The 3/4 boil egg in the ramen too were perfectly done. Good stuff.

The yakitori (grilled stuff) at Mai Ramen, on the other hand, were a pretty disappointing affair. They somehow tasted a little old and you don’t get the flavor and punch you’d expect from good yakitori such as those you can get from the excellent Sumi Ka or Hyotan at SS15.

Horng, Yuki, Kerol
Horng, Yuki, Kerol at Mai Ramen

A dinner at Mai Ramen would come to about RM 20-30 inclusive of drinks. The best ramen I’ve had in the region is still Santouka in Singapore, but Mai Ramen is certainly not a place to be dismissed if you’ve got that pork ramen craving coming. Now I just wish they don’t take nearly as long to serve…

map to Jaya One

Address:
Mai Ramen
D-13-G, Block D
Jaya One,
No. 72A, Jalan Universiti,
Petaling Jaya
GPS: 3.117537, 101.635680
Tel: 03-7957-6689