Food

Koyaku Japanese Dining & Grill @ Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur

Saturday, October 17, 2015



Japanese Cuisine is so popular nowadays that there seems to have so many new Japanese restaurants sprouting up in Klang Valley. A friend of mine told me that the very mention of Japanese food, her children's eyes will suddenly light up. Love authentic Japanese food? I am sure Koyaku Japanese Dining & Grill in Taman Desa will not fail you. Koyaku Japanese Dining & Grill has been shortlisted for the Time Out KL Food Awards 2015 for Best New Restaurant!


I had a very exciting and informative night at Koyaku Japanese Dining & Grill  two weeks ago, upon the invitation by Openrice. This restaurant is so fantastic as it not only serve the authentic Japanese food but also the overall interior decorations are very unique and patriotic. 

But wait, I must write about the food that we had first, as I was really really very happy to be able have Omakase. Ok, what is omakase? The Chef at Koyaku Japanese Dining & Grill that night was very kind and patient as he explained to us a lot of things about Japanese dining. He said, in Japan, there are many small cafes catering to very specific type of Japanese dining, for example if its sushi, then the whole cafe just sells only sushi, and if omakase then only omakase. Then, he added that omakase is another form of dining that is different from ala carte. It actually is a type of meal selected by the chef. Wikipedia states that omakase is Japanese phrase meaning "I leave it to you" or "to entrust". 


So, first thing first, in order to have omakase, you must be seated on the bar facing the chef. He will then prepare a series of plates from the lightest to the heaviest. It is not necessary raw, and cooking techniques can incorporate various processes like grilling, simmering, searing according to the chef's discretion. 

  
The first dish is so prettily laid out. Ankimo (Monkfish liver) was served with citrous sauce, topped with caviar and chilli radish and there is a stick of three gingko which gives a nice crunch when I bite into it. Then there is sweet potato chips by the side and on top of it is my favourite sea snail.


Wow, the first dish sets up my appetite and I am getting ready to pounce on my second dish. This plate is placed in front of me. So, I quickly took my chopsticks out. "No, no, wait", chef said. As you can see, this plate actually has only pickled ginger, seaweed, white radish, nama wasabi, and kizami wasabi. Nama wasabi is freshly grind wasabi but I like kizami wasabi better as it freshly chopped wasabi so I can bite and get the taste of wasabi in my mouth. The main dish has not arrived yet! Oh dear, shy, shy..... malu, malu lah.


Tsk, tsk, greedy fellow. Back to work, so I start taking photos of chef cutting the kampachi. A lot of skill and experience is needed to handle fresh fish. I once saw a documentary of how tedious and tough it is to learn to be a Japanese Chef. I feel so lucky to be able to see it that day, the careful slicing of the fresh tender fish flesh by an experienced chef.


Kampachi


This is how it should be eaten, dip into the sauce first


Aori Ika topped with gold caviar.

Soft, white tempting squid which is so delicious and rich in flavor. The golden caviar adds to its exquisiteness. 


Salmon Belly topped with Ikura

The belly is so fresh and tender that you would not realise its actually salmon belly. No smell at all, because normally when I cook salmon at home, I don't know why it usually has strong fishy smell. And this is belly, thus showing the real freshness of food in Koyaku. Ikura is the Japanese word for the eggs, which are larger than your typical roe and often put atop sushi rolls and others.


Botan Ebi topped with Hokkido Uni

A delectable dish of yet another fresh seafood combination of sweet raw shrimp topped with Hokkaido Uni (sea urchin)


Shimaji

Shimaji, one bite into it I can feel the flesh is firm and the texture so fine. Yes, it looks almost like kampachi, but just whiter in colour and more translucent. Chef told us that it costs more than triple kampachi, and one of the best to eat during winter. No wonder it is so scrumptious!



Seared Hotate with Nori


Original big fresh juicy scallops is lightly seared to perfection and served with seaweed.


Maguro (Fresh Chilled Blue Fin Tuna) 

Named Blue Fin Tuna but the color is so striking red showing the freshness. It is served with rice. Am I in Japan now? Hmm... feels like it lor. 


Salmon Aburi (torched Salmon)


Chef's Special

Hard boiled eggs topped with rice, Ikura, fresh kizami wasabi and curry flakes. 


Next, I was able to see how chef slowly arranged the avocado slices and rolled it with the salad vege and soft shell crab inside. As a novice in making sushi, I usually make a mess at home trying to roll sushi. Aha, so this is how it should be rolled, there is a piece of cling film. 


Soft shell crab in avocado roll topped with Ebiko


This last dish comes in style! The two simple spurts of Tonkatsu sauce at the side compliments the otherwise a small piece set in the middle set atop a slice of lemon.


Unagi with Foie Gras

Small round piece? No, it's not that simple. It's Unagi and Foie Gras coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried until perfection. The garnishing on top is alfalfa sprouts. 


Kyoho Grapes

Japan has its own seasonal fruits, just a in Malaysia. I had an uncle from Taiwan who asked for our king of fruits durian, when it is not the durian season. Therefore, we are lucky that this time around we have the chance to eat this seasonal fresh Kyoho grapes. I am very happy as we can't be going to Japan every time to try all their seasonal fruits. Kyoho grapes are deep dark purple in color, sweet and crunchy. Delicious!


Koyaku means "little house"


Koyaku recently opened in May this year. Formerly, in this same spot it was also a Japanese restaurant, so don't be confused. Decorations in Koyaku way surpassed the former restaurant (as I have dined in before) with its more authentic materials from Japan and very eco friendly style.


A lot of wood based materials are used. The round vertical sticks are actually broom sticks!


The walls are covered with actual carton boxes from Japan. "We went to the night market in Japan, pick up the discarded boxes, cut and packed and then have it flown back here", we were told. Oh, so touching and I am sure it portrays the homely feeling for Japanese in Malaysia. Oh, I spotted Tokyo Bananas wrapper at the far end corner. Wow, It brings back memories of my tour to Hokkaido about 5 years ago. I bought lots of Tokyo Bananas back for my children then and admired the wrappers so much. Sweet memories.



The carton boxes can also be used as a storage space!



Astro Boy, the famous Japanese Comic created by the late artist Osamu Tezuka 

 


There are three individual rooms for private events and function 



Nice comfy dining area on the verandah outside. 


You can order home made Umeshu from Koyaku.


Umeshu is Japanese plum wine made by soaking plums in jars. Actual recipe is their trade secret, of course. All the jars above are ordered, paid and waiting for just the right timing to be delivered. I love umeshu, as it is more fruity and has the sweet flavor. I often buy Choya from duty free shops at airports.

The price range for Omakase is from RM150 - RM600 per pax depending on the restaurant. Koyaku Japanese Dining & Grill is very popular among Japanese community in Kuala Lumpur. 



Authentic food comes with authentic classic photo. Our group photo in Koyaku Japanese Dining & Grill with Open rice staff and fellow bloggers.

Conclusion, I am inspired to visit Japan again! This time I want to be adventurous, I will try Omakase,  Kaiseki (analogous to western haute cuisine) and others from the cute small cafes along the roadside.
Arigatou gozaimasu. 

Address: Koyaku Japanese Dining & Grill
Lot G8 & G9, Ground floor
Podium Block, Faber Tower, 
Jalan Bahagia, Taman Desa
Kuala Lumpur

Tel: +603 7984 4688

For more info and photos: Please check Openrice 

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