True sushi connoisseurs are to normal folk what shorn monks are to heathens. They eat their uncooked fish with a quiet, almost monastic reverence and their palates are sensitive to the tiniest affront. They can tell instantly if the sushi rice has been too softly cooked or cooked with too much vinegar, or whether it’s served fresh every couple of minutes, the way proper sushi chefs do it in Japan.
They will judge a sushi bar’s caliber not so much by the large quantity on display, but rather by the quality of the uni, the o-toro, the amaebi or the kanpachi. They know that sake goes best with sashimi and that the only place to enjoy it is at the bar, where you have the chef’s full attention. They never miss a beat as the skilled itamae (sushi chef) deftly prepares artfully presented sushi and sashimi.
Tatsu itself spells sophistication. Traditional Japanese meets contemporary yet minimalist deco.. all a rather Zen like environment, and very conducive for eating till kingdom come.
With a capacity of almost a 150 seats, the restaurant offers five choices of dining seating styles from the Sushi bar, a Teppanyaki room, private dining rooms, public dining area to a cosy lounge dining area. For the sushi monks, the Sushi Bar of course, and for sake and wine connoisseurs, the private Sake Bar is a must visit. Floor to ceiling glass windows and a totally comfortable environment, where you can get sloshed on premium sake as you gaze blurry eyed into the landscaped garden and cascading waterfall below. If there were a sake heaven, this would be it. The Bar serves more than 20 types of Sake, Shochu and Wines.
Tatsu’s Sushi Bar is where all the action is – Chef Tetsuya Yanagida is normally around to serve you a top selection of Sushi and Sashimi.
Sashimi (back-front) – Kanpachi (Yellowtail), Tako (Octupus), Abura Bouzu (Butterfish), Salmon (Shake) and Maguro Akami (Tuna)
First up, some starters of Smoked Wild Duck, Chuka Idako (seasoned Baby Octopus), Edamame and Jyako Negi Tofu (chilled Tofu with fried Anchovies). After that came glittery portions of Kanpachi (Yellowtail), Tako (Octupus), Abura Bouzu (Butterfish), Salmon (Shake) and Maguro Akami (Tuna), which melted appropriately in the mouth. The sashimi had a good girth, was cold without being icy, and succulent as hell. Totally passed the sushi monk’s test. I wished that it had been followed by creamy portions of o-toro or uni but this was not to be. No matter, we will be back for that at a later date.. and with a different tale to tell, I am sure.
Japanese starters (clockwise) – Smoked Wild Duck, Chuka Idako (seasoned Baby Octopus), Edamame and Jyako Negi Tofu (chilled Tofu with fried Anchovies)
The Japanese are so darn delicate. Even their soup drinking is elevated to an unrivaled level of delicate dining and finery, by means of the teapot soup.
A lovely broth of seafood soup.. squeeze some lime to take the flavours up a notch..
Dobin Mushi (teapot soup) .. arigato gozaimasu!
Grilled Australian beef.. cooked medium rare, this was the bomb! This time round we found the meat lacked something.. it just lacked a little bit of rock salt. Would have been perfect if it had just a wee bit of salt to elevate and bring out it’s natural flavours.
Australian beef (medium rare.. or as rare as you like)
I don’t know about you but if I have to eat tempura, I normally go for the prawns. It’s not high on my list of must eats in any Japanese restaurant though. I’m more into the raw ministry. As in sushi and sashimi. Feed me raw fish and I will be happy for a long time. Just saying.
Salmon Fish Neck in Orange Bitter Sauce
If this fish were a person, I’d do a lot more necking. A terrific cut of salmon neck. Worthy of slobbering and drooling all over! Tasty as hell.. another must not miss.
Salmon Fish Neck in Orange Bitter Sauce
The orange bitter sauce imparts a sourish taste to the salmon neck, but it’s all good. The fish batter imbibes the orange sauce and softens the exterior as you sink your teeth into the fatty parts of the neck. Best necking session ever.
Mini Hotate (Scallops)
More buttery than natural, I could not fully appreciate the intrinsic flavours of the scallops.
The unagi was too sweet for me. Am not a fan because I generally don’t like the sweet sauce that goes with the eel.
As Chef Tetsuya Yanagida was away, we had the pleasure of a live demonstration of dessert making, by Chef Darrell J. O’Neill
Chef Darrell J. O’Neill, is the new Executive Chef InterContinental Kuala Lumpur. Read more about Chef Darrell’s prowess in the kitchen here.
This time round, Chef Darrell would make for us, the Strawberry Sake Toban.. i.e. a dessert of strawberries, drenched in sugar, sake and more strawberry puree, and then cooked in a toban skillet… served with green tea ice cream. Wow, what a mouthful!
And what a mouthful it was! Creamy, sweet and alcoholic.. in perfect harmonious flavour. The Sake imparted an interesting aroma and headiness to the mix that was cloyingly addictive.
The picture perfect Strawberry Sake Toban, served with green tea ice cream
With that we concluded our lunch. We will be back of course.. because 15 is not a number we are proud of. Not at all!
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Tatsu Japanese Restaurant,
InterContinental Hotel Kuala Lumpur,
165 Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +60 3 2782 6118
Pork Free Opening times: 12.00 noon – 2.15 pm, 6.30pm – 10.15pm
Price: RM98++ per adult, RM49++ (children aged 6-12)
The a la carte buffet is available for both lunch and dinner on Sat, Sun and Public Holidays.