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Tag / tempura

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 http://www.saisaki.com.my/ 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.

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

GPS: 3.174689, 101.659595
Tel: 03-6205 1111

SS15 in Subang is seriously shaping up as the premier one stop center for Japanese food. Years ago, there was Rakuzen, and now, the number of restaurants at this little area has blossomed to double digit. One of the latest installment being Yamada.

Having blogged about Rakuzen, Hyotan, Jyu Raku, and Sumi Ka, I guess it make sense to pay a visit to Yamada as well.

Yamada Japanese restuarant at Subang SS15
Yamada Japanese restuarant at Subang SS15

Yamada is located right across the road from SJMC, just a few doors down from Jyu Raku and Rakuzen. Whenever a restaurant opens among the more established and still able to attract customers, you know they must be at least decent.

The crowd at weekend night when we were there mainly consists of Japanese expats, and the chef himself is an old Japanese guy, that’s always a good start.

Yamada Bento
Yamada Bento – fried chicken, sashimi, tempura, unagi, and more

I went for Yamada Bento (RM 60) that came with quite a lot of stuff, chicken karaage (fried chicken), tempura, sashimi, unagi, potato salad, saba, and miso soup.

The sashimi tasted pretty awesome, with hotate (scallop), salmon, surf clam, yellow tail, and one of the better cuts of tuna. Chicken was pretty good if not slightly oily. I don’t have any negative feedbacks for the tempura, unagi, or potato salad, but I thought the saba (i think it was saba fish) was a little over cooked to be honest.

potato salad, california handroll, saba, torikara bento
potato salad, california handroll, saba, torikara bento

Haze ordered a serving of potato salad (RM 12), a california handroll (RM 8), and the saba, torikara bento (RM 48). That was of course, a bit too much food. The bento came with saba that tasted nicer than mine, the same chicken, and a bowl of ramen that I thought tasted rather good. Instead of avocado, the california roll curiously had mango in it, a little strange but it worked.

map to Yamada Japanese restaurant

Compared to some the competitors, the price at Yamada seems a bit steeper. As for food wise, the quality is there but I didn’t think it was always spot on. Next time I’m gonna spy on the Japanese customers to see what they order. I suspect most of their raw stuff must be very good, as I can attest with the serving of sashimi in my bento.

There’re still a handful of Japanese restaurants at the area I haven’t been too, next time then!

Address:
Yamada Japanese Restaurant
No. 5, Jalan SS15/5A,
47500 Subang Jaya,
Selangor Darul Ehsan

GPS: 3.078895, 101.592711
Tel: 03-5635-2574

Almost 4 years ago, I went to Tokyo as a stranger in strange land. The city was so packed with people it felt like rush hour at LRT station at all times. The language was incomprehensible, fashion was weird, everyone was so courteous and everything was uber orderly.

I arrived there at late March partly to coincide with the Hanami season (viewing of cherry blossom, or sakura). A friend had to reserved a spot at Ueno park from a night before just so that we get to picnic under the trees at the most famous hanami spot in Tokyo. We had loads of fun (despite my inability to communicate with most of them), it was an experience.


iketeru Japanese restaurant at KL Hilton

With that experience, I knew exactly what Hanami meant when Jean of KL Hilton contacted me for a food review at Iketeru for their Hanami Bento promotion. As to what would be in the bento, I had absolutely no idea.

I’ve heard good things about Iketeru, but this was the first time I went to this Japanese restaurant located on the 8th floor at Hilton. As you would expect from a 5-star hotel, the restaurant is beautifully decorated and has a very nice ambiance.


shrimp, octopus, and tempura, sea bream & tuna sashimi

Anyway, lets get on with the Bento.

There were nine dishes in all on the rather big bento box. As a rule of thumb, you should always start with dishes that are more subtle before moving to the stronger tasting ones. This applies to all sorts of cuisine and not just Japanese food.

The Tai (sea bream) and Toro (tuna belly) sashimi were of the finest quality and served with grated wasabi. That opened up my appetite pretty good.

The shrimp, green bean, egg custard, and octopus were very delicious too, but that little bowl of marinated something next to the shrimp (I couldn’t quite remember, a type of seafood it must be) was a bit too strong tasting for me, I’ll place that in the “too authentic” category. The small portion of tempura were just nice, and includes one of my favorite items, the Japanese pepper.


spring chirashi sushi, chilled sesame bean curd, teriyaki trout

The chilled sesame bean curd with bonito soya sauce tastes as exquisite as the way it was presented, and I love the little bowl of simmered bamboo shoot, eggplant, and especially the Japanese yam too.

The only grilled item on the bento was the teriyaki trout, and while trout isn’t exactly my favorite fish for grilling (I love salmon belly), this was rather good too.

Spring Chirashi Sushi serves as the main dish. I could taste plenty of tuna, ikura (salmon roe), amaebi (sweet shrimp), and even mushroom and a bit of vegetable in it. Very good combination.


nanohana blossom (vege), soup with bamboo shoot, mochi & fruits

The unsuspecting plate of vegetable is actually boiled nanohana blossom with mustard sauce. Nanohana has the unfortunate name in English as “Rape”, it tasted similar to “kai lan flower” but smoother and more refined.

Instead miso, we had clear soup with bamboo shoot and seaweed, subtle tasting, but a very good way to cleanse the palate before moving on to the final item, dessert, which consists of  mochi with red beans that tasted as good as it was presented, and some fruits.


KY & chef Ricky Kamishi, Li Zhi & Jean from Hilton

Chef Ricky Kamishi joined us for a while and told us about the idea behind this Hanami Bento. I shouldn’t bore you with the whole experiencing “four season” through food and philosophies like that, but the guy is cool, and with a sense of humor too.

The bento is available all throughout March this year as some of the ingredients are seasonal. Priced at RM 220++ per box, it might come across as a bit steep for the common salary earner, but that is pretty much average for something of this quality and setting.


KL Hilton is located right next to KL Sentral

These shots were taken with my aging and pretty bulky SLR, Olympus just launched their latest micro four third camera – the Olympus PEN E-PL1 which combined the portability of a compact and prowess of an SLR. I’m gonna be getting one for review, but in the mean time, check out their microsite at evolvewitholympus.com.my

Address:
Iketeru Japanese Restaurant
8th floor, 3 Jalan Stesen Sentral,
50470 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.135331,101.685762
Tel: 03-2264 2264

It was the day before Chinese New Year and we arrived at Mid Valley Gardens with growling stomachs. Amy had suggested “this place with very nice char siu” that turned out to be the Canton-i that was closed for the new year. We moved to Fong Lye for Taiwanese food but met with the same fate again.

Yuzu Japanese Restaurant
very classy interior, illustrated menu

Just when we were running low on ideas and high on hungriness, we walked by Yuzu and decided to go for it.

The restaurant was quite a bit bigger than it looked from outside the entrance. The interior is classy, comfortable, and best of all, their tables for four are actually big enough to hold 4 set meals. I get pretty irritated when the trays have to be slightly off the edge of table.

Yuzu Japanese Restaurant
the three sets we ordered, sushi, udon, unagi, chawanmushi, tempura, etc

We sat down and after spending some 5 minutes on the pretty big and well illustrated menu, I decided to go for the Nigri Sushi & Inaniwa Udon set. Horng ordered a set that includes unagi, kamameshi (iron pot rice), and tempura. Amy went for unagi bento, miso soup, and a chawanmushi (steamed egg).

And then Horny’s eye was captivated by this particular entry on the menu. Sliced kobe beef with stone grill. It took some 5 seconds before temptation took over and we decided to give this a go to welcome the year of Cow.

Yuzu Japanese Restaurant
kobe beef, YUMS

Food did not take long to arrive. The inaniwa noodle is a type of cold noodle that is served with soba tsuyu (noodle sauce) with some condiments such as wasabi, spring onion, and seaweed. It was smooth and has a very subtle taste that I like, very refreshing.

My set also came with the teapot mushroom soup (like the one i had at Ninja Jones) that I really liked. The sushi though, while very fresh, had just a bit too much rice for my liking.

The kamameshi from the other set was very surprisingly very good, tasting almost like a cross between very good fried rice and lotus leaf rice but yet different. The unagi too, received very good reviews from Amy and Horny.

Yuzu Japanese Restaurant
Horng, KY, and Amy

However, the most memorable dish has got to be the Kobe beef. RM 88 for a dozen thin slices of raw marbled beef. The alternating layer of fats and lean meat looked so good sitting right next to the stone grill with hot burning charcoals.

We grilled it just ever so slightly. With a dip in the sauce and down it went into the mouth. The texture was so tender and yet so rich and succulent. This was the best beef I’ve had so far. Amy was supposed to try only one piece since she “believes in kwan yin” and all but she ended up having 1/3 of everything. It was really very good and I would certainly have it again.

Map to Mid Valley Gardens
Yuzu is on the 3rd floor at Mid Valley Gardens

The bill came to be a bit over RM 200 for three of us. The sets were around RM 30-50 and the excellent kobe beef was RM 88. A very satisfying meal and I believe I would return to this place.

Address:
Yuzu Japanese Restaurant
T236, 3rd Floor
The Gardens
Mid Valley City
Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.118675, 101.676085
Tel: 03-2284 7663

I must be one of the luckiest guy around. In conjunction with my unceremonious birthday, I had a total of 6 free meals from my closest friends. Steamboat from Suan, late night porridge from ST & Kim, Wendy’s thanks to Douglas, Zanmai from Ringo, lunch at Ah Yip soup place from Lorna, and last but not least, Ninja Jones courtesy of my ex-housemate Kerol. What more could a man ask?

Wait, it’s actually 7 meals altogether with Eiling’s pre-birthday dinner at Il Divo Italian restaurant, which I have yet to blog.

Ninja Jones at Mid Valley North Point
beware of the automatic sliding door!

Anyway, we went to Ninja Jones on a weekday evening. The restaurant is located at NorthPoint, just across Mid Valley Mega Mall, you have keep to the right and go into NorthPoint’s parking lot lest having to walk all the way from the main mall via the not-so-well constructed pedestrian bridge.

The restaurant is located on the ground floor, with a pair of automatic sliding door leading to the dark but very well decorated interior. We were seated on the first floor. There were really some waiters dressed up as Ninjas, though none of them looked remotely Japanese.

Ninja Jones at Mid Valley North Point
chawanmushi, salad, soup, tofu

The menu is rather extensive, you can find kobe beef, sashimi, sushi, noodles, sake, and many set meals as well. I also like the fact that most entries in the menu is accompanied by a photo.

We ordered two set dinners for the night. Kerol had the Ninja set while I chose something that is priced just below RM 50 with a name that escaped me.

Ninja Jones at Mid Valley North Point
grilled chicken on hot stone, beef cubes, sashimi

Kerol’s set came with a lemon soup served in a teapot, soft shell crab salad, grilled chicken on hot stone, tofu, tempura, smoked salmon, and some sushi roll (my camera ran out of battery when they were served).

The soup carries a slight lemon taste to it and were pretty unique and refreshing, and I really love the grilled chicken. It was done in a minimalistic way and yet very very delicious. Of course, smoked salmon with vinaigrette never disappoints.

Ninja Jones at Mid Valley North Point
kerol enjoying her favorite cuisine

The set that I had came with salad, chawanmushi, miso soup, sashimi, rice, and grilled beef cube. The sashimi was fresh and really good, especially fatty cuttings they gave for the salmon.

However, the best item on my set had to be the beef. They were really succulent and carried none of the foul smell. I can only imagine how the Kobe beef version would taste like if this version is already so good.

map to Mid Valley North Point
Ninja Jones is located at North Point

The total bill came to slightly above RM 100. It was good ambiance, good food, and good company. A place worth revisiting

Address:
A-G-5, Ground Floor, Northpoint,
Mid valley City,
No.1 Medan Syed Putra Utara,
59200 Kuala Lumpur.

GPS: 3.120346,101.677834
Tel: 03-2288 1646