KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 17 — There is always buzz when a new restaurant opens in the city but when you get five top-notch Japanese restaurants under one roof, the excitement level goes up several notches.
From today, Japanese food lovers can dine at The Table, Isetan The Japan Store Kuala Lumpur and sample the food of five restaurants. Located on the fourth floor, The Table showcases five brands including New York-based Sushi Azabu that has a Michelin star. A sixth brand will open at a later date.
Each brand has its own dining space with a total seating capacity of 253 people. For all the brands, it’s their first time opening in Malaysia. It’s also their debut in South-east Asia except for Tonkatsu Anzu which has an outpost in Singapore.
The Japan Store has already become the place to visit since its opening last October at Lot 10. Mitsukoshi Isetan Holdings teamed up with Cool Japan Fund to launch Isetan The Japan Store Kuala Lumpur — the world’s first Japanese lifestyle specialty store that showcases products and services that represent Japan’s way of living.
The Kuala Lumpur outpost is the second in the world with the first Japan Store in Paris.
Now, The Table will give a taste of Washoku (Japanese cuisine) to everyone from sushi, tonkatsu to yakiniku.
Open: 11am to 3pm (last order 2.30pm), 6pm to 11pm (last order 10pm)
Tel: 03-2119 2624
This 40-seater restaurant serves traditional Edo-mae (Tokyo-style) sushi. It’s headed by Chef Toshihide Terado who, prior to moving to the US, worked in Japan for 12 years.
The fish is usually brought in from Tsukiji market, Osaka and Kōka. Depending on the type of fish, it’s usually delivered on Tuesdays and Fridays. Occasionally fish is delivered on Mondays and Wednesdays. The restaurant uses Akitakomachi rice sourced from the Akita prefecture in Northern Japan.
Choices for the nigiri sushi range from bluefin tuna, scallop to sea eel. The prices range from RM6 for the egg (tamago) to RM50 for the sea urchin or the prized tuna belly. Aside from sushi, there is a small menu of cold and hot appetisers. This includes items like sweet miso marinated black cod, avocado with sea urchin and stewed swordfish.
You have a choice of three types of courses to choose from; Koi, Azabu and the chef’s specialty choice (omakase). The Koi is priced at RM120 for an appetiser, 10 pieces of nigiri sushi and miso soup. For the Azabu course, it’s RM220 for an appetiser, two types of sashimi, chawan mushi, palate cleanser, seven pieces of nigiri sushi, maki mono, miso soup and dessert. The omakase which is at the discretion of the chef is RM420.
If you prefer dining while watching how your sushi is made, the sushi counter sits up to 12 people. There is also a VIP room with a sushi counter for seven people. To book the room, a minimum order for RM5,000 is required. Note that the restaurant is reservation only so make sure you call ahead to avoid disappointment.
The Tokyo Restaurant. Bar & Cafe
Open: 11am to 11pm (last order 10pm)
Tel: 03-2119 2622
This 180-seater restaurant offers a contemporary menu of a mix of cuisines; Japanese, Chinese, Mexican and Italian. There are various types of sushi rolls including a foie gras roll, freshly shucked oysters, Caprese burrata and enchiladas.
Their house specialties include baked lobster with herbed bread crumbs, grilled sirloin steak with BBQ sauce and sautéed salmon chanchan yaki. Leave room for the must-eat dessert here, their 6th Avenue cheesecake (RM16 for a slice). The rich creamy cheesecake with a caramelised topping is definitely to-die-for.
The space has comfortable leather booths and a view of the open kitchen. There is also a bar serving cocktails and wine where diners can have a leisurely drink before their meal.
Open: 11am to 3pm (last order 2.30pm), 6pm to 11pm (last order 10pm)
Tel: 03-2119 2626
The restaurant started in a small backstreet in Ebisu in December 1995, Toraiji (Korean for balloon flower) has now expanded to over 70 venues all over the world but this is their first venture into Malaysia.
The restaurant uses Australian wagyu beef for their yakiniku items. They also serve a variety of beef sushi that includes Harami beef that has been hung, beef tongue and sirloin. You also have the Korean yukke. If you prefer, they also serve seafood like lobster, scallops and prawns.
What makes them unique is they tend to cut their meat a little thicker than other yakiniku places as they believe it makes the meat more delicious. I agree as the meat is absolutely delicious with their special BBQ marinade... it needs no extra sauces.
You will find a number of Korean influences in the menu; a variety of kimchi dishes that include namul, samgyetang, Korean stone pot soups and bibimbap.
The prime beef cuts start from RM174 for a chuck of sirloin (200 grams). For the diamond-cut pieces, it’s RM63 for a choice of beef tongue, kalbi or the prime Harami beef. There is also a choice of various sauces besides their original sauce like black miso, special salt and garlic butter.
If you prefer, they also offer an assortment order with a mix of items specially selected for you. The assortment of prime beef is RM227 which is a mix of sirloin, extra prime Harami and extra prime filet, while another choice is the special Toraiji assortment for RM127 — extra prime kalbi, prime Harami, prime fillet and prime loin.
If you like seafood, go for the assortment of prawns, squid and scallops for RM54. The luxurious version with lobster is priced at RM127.
Open: 11am to 3pm (last order 2pm), 6pm to 11pm (last order 9.30pm)
Tel: 03-2119 2623
Hailing from Fukuoka, the wholesome mizutaki or chicken hot pot is given a different touch at Toriden. It becomes a multiple tasting course.
Take a sip of the delicious yet subtle white chicken broth before you start your meal. It’s been slowly boiled for more than six hours with fresh whole chicken to extract its flavour and natural collagen.
The boiled chicken can be enjoyed with their own-made tangy ponzu that adds a zing to the taste of the juicy meat. You can also dip a little yuzu kosyo, also made in-house at Toriden with yuzu and chilli pepper that has a milder taste.
Relish the juicy special minced chicken balls made according to Toriden’s unique recipe that mixes selected parts of the chicken with gizzard. Once the items are finished, just add rice or noodles into the hot pot to finish off your meal.
The mizutaki courses range from RM120 to RM180. A basic Ume course for RM120 includes mizutaki with assorted chicken parts, vegetables served with appetiser, chicken salad and a choice of rice or noodles.
Other ingredients can also be ordered separately like porridge or ramen. From the a la carte menu, there’s sashimi, toriwasa or chicken salad, kara-age or fried chicken, and the luscious Toriden Tamago or soft boiled egg with chicken miso.
A small selection of desserts like Yame matcha kintoki sundae, koicha panna cotta, hojicha pudding and kinako ice cream with warabi mochi are also available. The matcha used in the desserts is sourced from the Hoshino Tea Gardens in Fukuoka.
All of the items served in Toriden are served on Arita-yaki sourced from Arita town in Saga prefecture in Japan. The porcelain ware has been selected for its exquisiteness and elegant painted designs.
Open:11am to 3pm (last order 2.30pm), 6pm to 11pm (last order 10pm)
Tel: 03-2119 2625
The 40-seater restaurant prides itself for using premium, aged pork sourced from Kyushu. Its name Anzu or apricot in Japanese is inspired by the apricot trees in Fukutsu in Fukuoka prefecture.
I thoroughly enjoyed their signature light crispy battered pork, just sprinkle some salt and enjoy it on its own. For a stronger taste, help yourself to their tonkatsu sauce.
Try the premium Gin-Jo pork fatty loin where the succulent meat is cooked medium rare and it is tender like roast beef. The premium meat that has a pinkish rose hue is specially chosen by their chefs. The premium Gin-Jo pork is available in sets from RM48 for the pork loin katsu. Other cuts include fatty loin and pork fillet.
There are various set meals you can chose from. The pork loin katsu set is RM35 (small) and RM37 (medium). For a thicker cut of pork loin, it is RM43. If you prefer a softer taste, try the pork fillet katsu set, it is RM37 for a small set and RM39 for a medium set.
Get a hotpot version where the pork loin cutlet is served cooked with a beaten egg and rice for RM42, or the Anzu set for RM44 that offers variety with a daily special pork cut and shrimp ball.
For lunch, they offer a set meal (known as service lunch in the menu) for RM30 that is limited to 20 meals per day.