Izakaya, or Japanese gastro pub, is a relatively new type of Japanese restaurant in Malaysia. It is basically a pub with a proper bar and a full kitchen. You want to have a few beer or sake? Sure. You want a full meal? They’ve got that covered too.
Robataya Izakaya at Publika
Robataya Izakaya is a relatively new comer of such restaurant in KL. Located in Publika, they have a pretty extensive menu offering raw fish, ramen, rice dish, tempura, salad, grilled items, and more.
Robataya Izakaya Subang Branch
A week ago, we headed there on an invitation to try out what they’ve got to offer.
Okan Sashimi, they have air flown seafood too
We started with Okan Sashimi (RM 70), a sashimi platter with 5 different types of fresh seafood carefully arranged on ice. During our session, we had salmon, salmon belly, sweet shrimp, tuna, and I believe, butterfish.
While it may not be the super premium quality sashimi, (that’ll be their air flown, LIVE seafood as displayed by Haze) the portions were generous and it was actually quite a treat for the price.
Una Chizu Roll, Robataya Teppan Roll
For those wholikes rolls, The Robataya Teppan Roll (RM 28) is one you should try. There’s salmon inside, mayo, and grilled bacon on top! The taste was rather unique, and of course, anything is better with bacon.
Una Chizu Roll (RM 25) is a slightly more creative interpretation of your usual unagi roll, as they’ve decided to add cheese to the mix. I think the result was pretty good to be honest.
Salmon Oyako Sarada
Salmon Oyaka Sarada (RM 26) turned out to be one of our favorite dishes of the night. Laden with plenty of crispy salmon skin, the salad also have quite a generous portion of raw salmon in all those mustard leaves & cherry tomato in the rather awesome sesame dressing. I’d have this for lunch anytime.
various kushiyaki (skewers) & gyoza
You can’t have a proper review of an izakaya without having some skewers. We tried teba (chicken wings, RM 6), buta (pork belly RM 6), uzura bacon (quail egg bacon, RM 6), banana bacon (RM 6), tomato gyumaki (tomato wrapped with beef, RM 7), tsukune (chicken meatball, RM 5), momo tama (chicken thigh wrapped with egg, RM 6), and negima (chicken with leeks, RM 5).
While these are some pretty good skewers, the one that stood out the most was the momo tama, the egg was prepared to a rather soft consistency and for some reason worked really, really well with the chicken thigh. We gobbled that up pretty fast.
San Ten Zeppin – pork belly, bacon, Australian beef
If you enjoy BBQ, there’s only one way to improve the experience – by having it indoor, with air conditioning. The San Ten Zeppin sumiyaki (RM 55) gave us just that. There’re pork belly, bacon, and Australian beef. The meat are pretty thinly sliced so they cook rather quick, if you mess it up, it’s your own fault.
As if those weren’t enough food for 4 skinny Asians, we also tried their Teppan Ika Geso (cuttle fish, RM 15), Spare Pork Ribs Teriyaki (RM 33), and Akaebi Olive (RM 42).
The cuttlefish should make for a very good side dish for beer, and while I thought the ribs were a bit dry, I did enjoy the olive shrimp quite a fair bit, the olive gave it a bit of sweetness that complements the spicy deep fried shrimp quite well.
Haze, Calvin, Haze, Sim
Overall, we did enjoy our dinner at Robataya. There are actually 2 other izakaya at Publika, and it’ll be tough to try to put a ranking on the list as they each have their strength and offers quite a different set of menu. You can’t realy go wrong if you pick Robataya for a meal, or some sake.
Of the five restaurants recently opened at Isetan The Japan Store’s 4F The Table, Sushi Azabu would be the one that has the most prestige. An offshoot from the Michelin star restaurant from New York, Sushi Azabu promises authentic and intimate dining experience in its 40 seat set up.
Chef Saito, Sushi Azabu at Isetan The Japan Store KL
We sampled a 5 pieces of sushi from Chef Saito Makoto Sam during the launch and came away impressed. So a week after the event, we decided that a proper meal at Sushi Azabu was required.
The course menu here consists of three choices – Koi at RM 120 will get you appetizer, 10 pieces of sushi and miso soup. The Azabu course at RM 220 that promises the following:
2 kinds of sashimi
Nigiri 7 pieces
Or you could go all out with the Omakase menu for RM 420 and let the chef decides what you should have for dinner. Obviously, we went for broke.
nasu nibitshi – fried eggplant
So these are the dishes we had for dinner on the 1st of March 2017 off the Omakase menu at Sushi Azabu.
Nasa Nibitshi was our appetizer, a deceptively simple dish consists of fried eggplant in some very light broth/sauce and topped with finely shaved bonito flakes. Light with very subtle flavor, it does the job well to leave us wanting for more.
sashimi – kampachi, tai, aji
Next was sashimi in the form of kampachi, tai, and aji; or yellow tail, sea bream, and horse mackerel. The quality was top notch, and somewhat surprisingly our favorite was the horse mackerel. The freshly grated wasabi too was a treat in itself and we wasted none of it.
Chawanmushi was our next dish, the version here is simple, no fuss, but very well executed.
grilled Spanish mackerel
Grilled Spanish mackerel came next, we thought that chewing this together with the pickle yield the perfect combination of flavor that simply explodes in your mouth. This was a very well seasoned traditional dish.
stewed sword fish
Stewed sword fish came next, a dish that is new to me. The fish is topped with a piece of starchy cube that compliments this savory dish quite well, though I felt that perhaps the sophistication of this dish escapes me. Someone with more experience in Japanese cuisine will probably enjoy this more than me.
firefly squid with sweet miso
Then came the cutest dish of the night – firefly squid with sweet miso. A perfect balance of sweet, salty, and savory taste that is further accentuated by the freshness of firefly squid, this was one of my favorite non-sushi dish of the entire course.
The main dish was of course, sushi, and we got ten pieces of these goodness in the form of chutoro, cattlefish, snapper, golden eye red snapper, striped jack, sea urchin, fat tuna roll, and raw prawn.
At Sushi Azabu, they take the guesswork out of eating sushi. Chef Saito expertly apply the perfect amount of soya sauce on each piece, as well as the appropriate amount of wasabi his experience hands deemed worthy of the sea bounty. So you simply just.. eat, no dipping into the saucer or fiddling with wasabi, grated or otherwise.
sushi – chutoro, cattlefish, snapper, golden eye red snapper,
striped jack, sea urchin, fat tuna roll, prawn
The result was an experience worthy of the asking price. Each piece was perfect, and each offers an expression in some of the bests Japan has to offer. We thoroughly enjoyed and if I say I don’t miss it as I am writing this, I’d be lying.
miso soup & yuzu shaved ice
A relatively simple bowl of miso soup with prawn head helped wound us down, and we concluded the dinner experience with a simple dessert of yuzu shaved ice.
menu at Sushi Azabu KL
If you’re a sushi lover, this is surely a place to check out. I think I’m going to be back to try their more affordable menu one of these days.
Address: Sushi Azabu The Table, Level 4 ISETAN The Japan Store KL Lot 10 Shopping Mall Jalan Bukit Bintang GPS:3.146462, 101.711758 Tel: 03-2119 2624
Ever since we moved to KEN Rimba, we have had to drive out for most of our meals, until very recently – the famed Ana Ikan Bakar Petai opened a branch literally right outside at our doorstep here in Shah Alam.
Update 23/12/18: This place has since closed down
Ana Ikan Bakar Petai, now in Shah Alam
For the uninitiated, Ana Ikan Bakar Petai is a “brand” originated from Kuantan which also has a rather popular branch in Bangi. This is their 3rd outlet, occupying three shop lots, including upstairs & side walkway, a pretty big set up for the this otherwise pretty sleepy commercial area.
We’ve been to the place quite a few times since, it certainly is legit.
squid, prawns, crab, shellfish, and a variety of fish to choose from
At Ana Ikan Bakar, you get to choose from quite a variety of seafood – squid, lala, bamboo clams, prawns, blue crabs, sting ray, cencaru, siakap (barramundi), jenahak, garupa, and more. The price is per 100 gram (RM 3.50 – RM 7.00) is clearly stated on the display as well, so you know what you going to have to pay.
There are several cooking methods as well, with the most popular being bakar petai. If bakar isn’t what you want, you can have them masak cili, manis, halia, kicap, pedas, tiga rasa, asam pedas, lamprik, kerabu mangga, goreng kunyit, or steam limau, asam boi, or halia. Quite a number of permutations really.
pari & sotong with petai
On our first visit we had a ikan pari & sotong prepared the traditional bakar petai style. The fish was absolutely on point, super spicy with the hint of petai permeating from the sauce. As it is basically covered with the sauce, you really don’t need to have a separate condiment to go with. I also particularly like the texture of the fish here that is not overly cooked like many others.
all wrapped up in banana leaf, the only way!
The sotong bakar petai was pretty good too, but to be honest if you already have a bakar petai dish, it’s best to go with a different cooking method. On subsequent visits, we found out that the sotong is best deep fried, and they also serve very good ikan siakap steamed limau, with tiga rasa among their most popular orders as well.
keropok lekor, tomyam, lala, kailan ikan masin
Ana Ikan Bakar Petai serves more than just ikan bakar. There’s a full menu of traditional “goreng goreng” dishes. Their vegetable dishes are among the best I’ve had (try their kailan ikan masin), tomyam was good as well. There’s also other dishes such as various types of fried rice, meat, soup, etc.
Oh by the way, the lala is not worth ordering. Happy dining!
I remember one of the dishes I really like as a kid involving squid is the one with some sort of thick dark sauce mom made, so naturally when I discovered that we still had some squid in the fridge, I tried to replicate the dish at home. After a bit of exploring on the web, I think I finally nailed down a version that came up pretty good.
squid with dark soya sauce
Here’s the simple stir fry squid with dark soya sauce recipe, give it a try if you love squid like most of us do!
To be honest, the recipe uses more than just dark soya sauce, naming is just for simplicity sake.
soya sauce, dark soya sauce, squid, garlic, ginger, salt, brown sugar, and pepper
6-8 squids, cleaned (if you want to get fancy, stuff the head back into the body and “stitch it up with a toothpick”)
an inch of ginger, cut into strips
half a bulb of garlic, chopped in chunks
2 tablespoon dark soya sauce
1 tablespoon soya sauce
pepper to taste
a dash of salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoon cooking oil
start with ginger, garlic, then the rest
marinate the squid with sugar, salt, dark soya sauce, soya sauce, and pepper for 30 minutes
heat up cooking oil
fry ginger for a 30 seconds, then add garlic until fragrant
add in squid in medium heat without pouring all the marinate
cook for 5-6 minutes, then add the rest of the marinate
serve while hot (add a bit of parsley for photo op!)
It is really a rather simple recipe, I hope you try it. Happy cooking!
For many of us, there seems to be only two versions of Halal Indian cuisine served in this country. The high end, and the 24-hour mamak shops. There’s certainly a gap to fill isn’t it? That’s where restaurants like Ratha’s Famous Raub Curry fits in, a casual dining that serves just what we love most.
Ratha’s Famous Raub Curry, at PJ Uptown
Ratha’s is a family own restaurant, and the original restaurant at Raub is one of the highest ranked eatery at the location on TripAdvisor, and this Damansara Uptown branch is operated by the second generation.
The restaurant is located at the side of Uptown facing LDP, which offers slightly better parking situations compared to the parking hell that is the “inside” of the commercial area. It is air conditioned, clean, and brightly lit, while offering a no-frill experience.
The menu is a simple laminated sheet, but offering is quite comprehensive. There’s seafood, poultry, meat, vegetable, and other individual dishes if you prefer not to go with steamed rice.
For dinner, we shared stirfry bendi, sambal squid, curry chicken, and fried lamb for the three of us, and they turned out to be quite delightful and properly flavored while not being overly spicy. I’d wished that we ordered their famous fish head curry, but perhaps that would be more fitting to a larger group.
clean and comfortable dining concept for mamak food, what’s there not to like?
If you’re up for some good old fashion Malaysian Indian cuisine in a comfortable set up, this would be a good place to start.