Specialty: Japanese deep-fried pork fillet (tonkatsu)
Originating from Fukuoka, Anzu sources its premium Sangen pork locally. The pork fillets are aged for seven days to help tenderise the meat. They are then breaded and deep fried at an extremely high temperature (160C) to keep the outside crisp without losing the meat’s juices. As a result, you get a perfectly cooked piece of pork that has crunch on the outside and is moist on the inside. Get the pork loin katsu set that comes with a side of finely shredded cabbage salad, dried white radish pickle (very addictive!), rice and miso soup. The Worcestershire-based tonkatsu sauce adds depth to the clean-tasting pork while the herby Japanese shiso leaf dressing goes perfectly with the cabbage.
Specialty: Grilled beef
This famous Japanese grill house started small in a back street at Ebisu, a district in Tokyo’s Shibuya area, but has since expanded to over 70 outlets around the world. They are known for their top shelf Australian beef, and more so for their signature diamond cut, which helps the beef cook better and faster. The premium beef – available in various cuts from rib eye to tenderloin – is further enhanced with the restaurant’s well-guarded secret house-made marinade and sauce. But the best part is, Toraji utilises a propriety grill and ventilation system that eliminates any excessive smokiness – so you can comfortably enjoy your grilled meat without worrying about your clothes absorbing the smell.
Specialty: Chicken hot pot (mizutaki)
Trust the Japanese to create an entire cuisine centred around one ingredient – the chicken. Essentially a hot pot dish, this traditional food originates from Japan’s Hakata region. To create 30kg of the rich and flavourful stock that forms the base of the hot pot, 30kg of farm fresh chicken were boiled for six hours.
There are four steps to enjoy this chicken hot pot, and the point is to appreciate the ‘evolution’ and the complexity of the soup as the meal progresses. First, sample the soup in its purest form. Then enjoy the chicken pieces with leek, drizzled with the bright and tangy ponzu vinegar. The chicken meatballs and seasonal vegetables go into the pot next to add more depth to the soup. And lastly with leftover soup, crack an egg and fold rice in to make porridge. Now this is comfort food for the soul.
But if you just want a quick meal over lunch, get the Toriden-style fried chicken set or the special chicken Tantan-men. The latter uses the aforementioned chicken stock and builds it up with sesame seeds and Japanese sansho pepper plus four kinds of chillies – definitely a noodle dish for the spicy fiend.
Specialty: Contemporary Japanese-European fare
Out of all the outlets at The Table, the spacious Tokyo Restaurant is the most modern – both in its outlook and menu. With plush leather sofas, elegant booth seating, a bar and lounge area plus an open kitchen, the restaurant’s European design aesthetics are gorgeous, and that influence carries through to the eclectic menu as well.
Sushi rolls are given a new and fun interpretation; there’s a bright and fresh quinoa salad for the health conscious; and kids will definitely enjoy the make-it-yourself sushi platter. If the choices are too overwhelming, go straight for the restaurant’s signature dishes, such as the Herbed Bread Crumbed Baked Lobster and grilled lamb Cajun style. But make sure you finish with the 6th Avenue cheesecake; this decadent cheese cake with a creamy soft centre is made with Danish cream cheese and baked in a special humidity controlled oven. Later, head to the bar and enjoy a selection of classic cocktails with a twist.
Specialty: Michelin-starred sushi
A Michelin-starred sushi restaurant from New York, Sushi Azabu imports their seafood from Japan two to three times a week, and they specialise in tuna, sea eel and gizzard shad (a type of herring). This here is an authentic sushi experience that’s not common in KL: The fish or seafood such as scallop and prawn will be seasoned by the chef before serving, so it’s best eaten as is without any additional soy sauce or wasabi on the side. However, while salmon is not traditionally eaten in Japan, you’ll find it on the menu as it’s a popular demand in our city.
You’ll be spoilt for choice here with a varied selection of fish that includes amberjack, big-eye snapper, horse mackerel, eels and more. There’s something very stylish and elegant about the Azabu sushi. For one, the fish is cut longer than usual, resulting in a slimmer piece of sushi. This makes it easier to enjoy the sushi in one bite, which makes for a better eating experience.
The Malaysian embrace of Japan is nothing new. In a city and a country already well-versed with the culture, merits and imports of Japan, the launch and opening of Isetan The Japan Store at Lot 10 is the icing on the proverbial cake; it's the first of its kind in the world, aside from its smaller counterpart store within the Japan Cultural Institute in Paris, France.