We are still pretty new to KL, and as a result we haven’t eaten in many malls just yet (opting to sweat it out at street food stalls instead), but we were intrigued to try this Japanese place in Pavilion, especially when we heard about the All Kansai Festival. But more on that later.
First impressions? It looks great – from the boxes of tea displayed at the entrance to the traditional wedding kimono and black ink paintings of fish that hang behind the mouth-watering sashimi counter. There’s an extravagant flower arrangement that’s been especially commissioned for the restaurant. And, as you reach for your phone to take a snap of your sashimi, diners sitting under the huge pastel-coloured parasol – decorated with a picture of a geisha – will be pleased to hear the fabric perfectly diffuses the light, meaning no shadow will be cast on your plate. After all, who said it’s only food bloggers who snap their food?
For the next couple of weeks, this spacious Japanese restaurant is home to the All Kansai Festival, which sees a specially designed menu featuring the finest autumnal ingredients sourced exclusively from Japan’s Kansai region – a picturesque area that comprises mountains, seas, rivers and lakes.
We were treated to a preview of executive chef Koji Tamaru’s menu, which featured seasonal ingredients – from sparkling fresh fish to sweet green peppers – all expertly prepared and beautifully presented.
This was a really refreshing dish with a distinctive tanginess – you didn’t need much dressing as the flavourof the leaves was very delicate (apparently they are good for your complexion) but the salty anchovies added a great twist.
Fushimi Amanaga Togarashi – grilled marinated sweet green pepper with special sauce.
Who would have thought such simple ingredients could be elevated to something so tasty? While some people at the table detected a hint of spice, we were justmesmorised by how fresh with peppers tasted. Oh, and the special sauce is Kampachi’s soy sauce that is prepared in-house. It’s unlike anything you can get at the supermarket, that’s for sure.
Tennes Hamachi Sashimi – slices of raw wild yellowtail
Despite having a satisfying, fleshy bite to it, this dish comprised expertly sliced slithers of melt-in-the-mouth fish, with the most minimal of accompaniments. Truly sensational sashimi.
Kamasu Shioyaki – grilled Japanese barracuda with salt, with daikon radish and ginger stem.
A whole fish, but nothing to be overwhelmed by as the lightly chargrilled flesh just falls off the bone. Again, who needs fancy side dishes when the main attraction is this good?
Of course, the cold and hot sake that washed it all down was also appreciated – especially the innovative ice-filled decanter that kept the premium Jnmai well below room temperature. Also, the Piccolo (caffeine-free) tea that was poured from pretty teapots offered mouth-cleansing refreshment between courses.
We plan to head back soon for one of the many Japanese-themed workshops that the team hold – such as a traditional tea ceremony or sake tasting – or a dazzling demonstration of ninja and samurai skills.
In fact, when we visited, we had the opportunity to refine our dessert-making skills (slightly less dangerous than a crash course in Japanese martial arts but certainly no less fun). Yes, the maccha mousse cooking class saw us using green tea, and whipping up egg whites and cream to make a delicately flavoured mousse that we ate for dessert once it had set. It’s something I don’t think I would even have attempted otherwise, but now I have the recipe I might just try it at home – it was pretty quick to make and (relatively) foolproof!
The verdict? Stunning Japanese in surrounds that make you forget you are in a shopping mall.
There are also standalone Kampachi restaurants at The Troika and Plaza33 in Petaling Jaya.
This food tasting session was organisedby HungryGoWhere Malaysia – Discover, Eat, Share today!