Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Sushi Hibiki, Shoppes at Four Seasons Place KL: Fine Japanese Cuisine

Tucked away in the basement of the new Shoppes at Four Seasons Place is Sushi Hibiki, a high-end, exclusive Japanese restaurant-cum-sushi bar. Drawing inspiration from a speakeasy, diners will first have to find the restaurant by locating a wooden signboard with a picture of a fish... a hidden gem in every sense.

The restaurant's interior is the epitome of understated elegance, lulling diners with a sense of calm. This intimate restaurant only seats nine at the sushi bar and there are also three tables of four (which comes with view of the sushi bar). The restaurant is led by Sushi Chef Makoto Saito Sam or better known as Chef Sam to the patrons.

The menu offers four premium Sushi Courses, all handcrafted by Chef Sam and his team using the finest ingredients from Japan. The freshest fish from Japan is air flown in to the restaurant four times a week; three times from Tsukiji in Tokyo, and one time either from Osaka, Hokkaido, or Fukuoka. Diners can choose from either the Hibiki Course (Standard Course RM240), Iki Course (Premium Nigiri Course RM360), Rin Course (Seasonal Omakase Course RM480) or Miyabi Course (Premium Omakase Course RM720).

We sat in the best seats in the restaurant, had the Rin Course, and what a culinary experience it was! There are many Japanese restaurants in KL these days serving omakase, but the question is: What makes an omakase experience truly special? The secret weapon at Sushi Hibiki is Chef Sam with his infectious smile and warmth as well as the way he interacts with the guests effortlessly.

Of course the food here is also top notch. We sipped on our welcome drink of sparkling wine while we enjoyed the Canapes, including scallop skewer, chamame, aji (horse mackerel) wrapped in seaweed and a fresh tomato. Everything, down to the simple tomato, was flavorful. Chamame is usually in season from August to September and has a delicious nutty flavour.

For the Rin Course, you will be served a selection of hot and cold dishes, depending on the seasonal ingredients available. Hamo, also known as pike conger is a type of sea eel which is currently in season. Perfectly firm and juicy, the hamo is served with a clear soup with some yuzu zest.

A work of art, the sashimi platter featured wild snapper, Hokkaido scallops and sanma (Pacific saury). Autumn is the best time to try sanma as it is much fattier at this time of the year. You will also find hanaho, which tastes just like the shiso leaf as it's the flower from the same plant which blooms from August to September.

Blackthroat seaperch, also known as rosy seabass or in Japanese, nodoguro, is a fatty fish so when grilled, it is extremely delicious. Loved how tender and sweet the meat is, paired with the pickled seaweed on the side.

Next, we were served a shellfish salad with a sweet miso and Japanese mustard dressing (karashi), which definitely had a powerful kick to it.

An orchid leaf is placed on our plate, right before Chef Sam prepares to enchant us with his sushi skills. For his sushi, we learnt that he uses two types of rice, from the Yamagata and Niigata prefecture as well as two types of vinegar, the regular white vinegar and a red vinegar which has a stronger flavour and pairs well with a rich-flavoured fish (such as chutoro).

I have to say, it was extremely therapeutic watching the sushi maestro at work. We had the shima aji (striped jack - lovely and firm), botan ebi (shrimp - so sweet!), chutoro (the tuna belly, my fav - so fatty, it melts in your mouth), ikura (salmon roe), Hokkaido uni, a lightly torched nodoguro (which gave it the nice smoky flavour) and anago (sea eel cooked on the charcoal). Fresh ikura, as opposed to the frozen ones we get throughout the year, has a wonderfully crunchy texture and is in season from September to October.

Enjoy your meal with the premium cold brew green tea
Shima aji

Botan ebi


Fresh ikura

Hokkaido uni



The Saga seaweed that Chef Sam uses here at Sushi Hibiki is one of a kind. They're handmade by a friend of the chef in Japan and not available anywhere else in Malaysia. He lightly toasts the seaweed sheet over the charcoal embers, to make a roll consisting of freshly shaved bonito, shiso, radish and pickles.

For a sweet end, we had a light yet luscious strawberry tiramisu. An amazing meal we will remember for many years to come.

Look for this fish inside Atlas Gourmet Market to find your way to Sushi Hibiki

Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday Lunch: 12.30pm to 2.30pm, Dinner: 6pm to 10pm (Last Order). Closed on Mondays.

Location: Sushi Hibiki, Lot B1-04(A), Basement 1, Shoppes at Four Seasons Place KL, No 145, Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tel: 03-2391 9008

Website: https://sushihibiki.com/

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Friday, September 21, 2018

Shanghai Restaurant, JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur: The Best XLB in KL!

For fine Shanghainese cuisine in Kuala Lumpur, look no further than Shanghai Restaurant in JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur. They do it best - with exquisite food complemented by exceptional service and an impeccable ambiance.

Be dazzled by the grandeur of your surroundings as soon as you step off the lift on Level 1 and make your way to the restaurant.  After receiving a makeover earlier this year, the restaurant now sports a more modern, sleek interior with an Oriental touch.

Shanghai Restaurant is the only hotel Chinese restaurant in Kuala Lumpur that specialises in exquisite Shanghainese cuisine. Guests can enjoy more than 100 authentic dishes originated from the Northern and Southern regions of Shanghai. The kitchen is led by Executive Chinese Chef Wong Wing Yuek, who is dedicated to serving only the best and most authentic dishes from his native city.

We recommend that you start your meal with their signature Steamed Shanghainese meat dumplings aka xiao long bao (RM25 per basket of 3). Made with finesse, these delicate soupy dumplings are simply awesome. They're meaty, they're juicy, they're delicious.

Another must-try hot appetizer here is the Deep fried French goose liver wrapped in cod (RM30). The texture reminded me of prawn toast - lovely and crisp and in the centre, the luscious and rich goose liver.

We also shared the Hot and Sour Soup (RM38) and Braised soup with crab meat and wild West Lake vegetable (RM38). The former was bold with spicy and sour flavours and every spoonful was chockfull of ingredients. Baby C loved the thick and flavourful braised soup with crab meat; so much so that she almost finished the whole bowl of soup herself. :)

For mains, we had the signature Sauteed fresh water shrimps (RM128), Stir fried sliced tenderloin with scallions (RM118), Stir fried scallops with Shanghainese chilli sauce (RM98) and Steamed cod with Chinese ham. Everything was so tasty; Baby D especially loved the beef dish as it was so tender as well as the plump scallops in a sweet, mildly spicy sauce. The shrimp dish looks rather simple, but the texture of the prawns were fantastic - so bouncy, almost crunchy. The fish was beautifully cooked, complemented by the thick, umami-tastic sauce.

The Braised seafood noodles with truffle oil (RM48) is another favourite of ours here. The aroma of truffles teased our senses as we slurped the smooth handmade noodles.

For dessert, go for the Black sesame dumplings (tangyuan) in ginger syrup (RM18) if you like something warming or the Chilled cream of sago with seasonal mango and aloe vera (RM18) if you want something light and refreshing. Mooncakes are also currently available, best savoured with a hot cup of Chinese tea. See this post for more details on the mooncakes.

An alternative dining area for Shanghai restaurant... pick a seat at the bar and enjoy some of their signature dishes.

The Bar Area at Shanghai Restaurant

For reservations and enquiries, please call +60 3 2719 8288 or email shanghai@ytlhotels.com.my.

Opening times: Mon-Sat 12pm-2.30pm (lunch); 6.30pm - 10.30pm (dinner). Sun and PH 10.30am - 2.30pm.

Location: Shanghai Restaurant, First Floor, JW Marriott Hotel KL, 183 Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tel: 03-2719 8288

GPS Coordinates: 3.147950, 101.713831

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