Although yakitori actually means grilled chicken, served on skewers, these days that time-honored working-class Japanese food is taken beyond its usual place, with all manner of meats, vegetables and other delicacies finding their way on to the grill, on sticks.
Which brings us to Torii.
Torii on Jalan Batai, Damansara Heights, we read, would be the latest Yakitori kid on the block; TTDI was its other outlet incase the name sounds familiar.
Seated at one of the smaller side tables, in a dimly lit, modern Japanese deco space, we find the vibe trendy and chic. But if exotic poultry or strange innards of the chicken (ie. skin, gizzard, liver etc) makes you nervous, then you should probably stick to the more mainstream cuts of beef, or seafood. Most dishes seem designed for accompanying drinks, especially whisky, soju and sake, which, for their part they have a good selection of. But looking at the menu, we notice that the prices are pretty exorbitant. No matter, perhaps the Yakitori would blow our minds, so we were prepared to give it a shot.
Foie gras & Beef Gyoza RM24 – Two small gyoza, with hard and somewhat rubbery wantan skin were served, garnished with small cubes of overcooked foie gras, and pan seared in ponzu and herbs. Pretty monochromatic tasting – we were not impressed.
And while the selection of sticks have been described as enormously extensive, the portions turned out to be minutely small.
The portions were so insipidly tiny, we had to put all three sticks into one plate for the sake of the photo. Here, you see Wagyu Seven priced at RM23 – apparently grade seven wagyu, but with such a tiny cross-section of meat, who can actually tell? Then came the Sirloin at RM15- cooked to death and rubbery – I suppose that when one is working with microscopic portions of meat, it has a tendency to cook through fast – one blink and it goes from medium to well done. Finally the Ox Tongue at RM 17 – rubbery and over salted, nothing to really shout about.
Aubergine at RM 11 – this was not bad – slightly on the mushy side (but I guess aubergine without the caramalized skin would be) and swimming in an uninteresting shoyu sauce and pesto.
This was the best dish that night – the Avocado De La Mar at RM19, was a steamy, deliciously well baked medley of diced seafood, avocado and mushroom bits, wrapped up and oozy in a piquant miso and cheese sauce. Super delicious.
And the worst dish of the night, Scallops at RM11. Drowning in a teriyaki sweet sauce, I nearly gagged on these scallops that were so small, they looked more like 10 cent coins, rather than actual scallops. What’s with that ridiculous amount of sweet sauce served – was it to mask how overdone and overcooked the scallops were?
Two bottles of sake – one lemon sake, and the other straight up sake. Priced at RM250 or so, each.. not cheap at all.
Dessert on the house – Green Tea Creme Brulee & Coconut Panacotta – RM24 each.
Well, the Yakitori experience didn’t really pan out for us that night. Eat at Torii if your pockets are deep and you don’t mind ordering a gazillion portions, in order to eat your fill. Otherwise, you’re better off eating elsewhere.Follow me on Instagram : @ccfoodtravel
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Jalan Batai, Damansara Heights