Friday, April 20, 2012

Watami Japanese Casual Restaurant @ Pavilion KL, Malaysia

Good, affordable Japanese food..

"Good" and "affordable" are two terms rarely seen in the same sentence when describing Japanese food. Early this week, we sampled the Japanese food at Watami in Pavilion KL and am glad to report that the food here fits the description of "good AND affordable". 

Gomoku Kamameshi


The name "Watami" comes from the name of the founder, WATAnabe MIki. In Japanese Kanhi, WA means "harmony" and TAMI means "people", therefore Watami means "gather people to dine in harmony", which is in line with the company's key concept of providing a casual place for guests to spend time wining and dining on all occasions in a comfortable space. Watami is the original creator of the "Ishokuya" dining concept in Japan.

Watami has over 700 outlets in Japan and 50 across the Asia Pacific region, and it was interesting to learn that some of the basic ingredients such as sauces are imported from their central kitchen for quality control.

Interior of Watami in Pavilion KL





They also have several private rooms 


Watami serves authentic and modern Japanese cuisine. A lot of the dishes are "interactive" - hence it encourages diners to participate in minor cooking / preparation of the dish.

We started off with the Watami Salad (RM19.90), a refreshing salad of crisp greens with red onions, corn, cherry tomatoes, brocolli florets, shredded cucumber, shrimp, teriyaki chicken, nori, flying fish roe and fried wantons tossed with tuna mayo and goma (sesame cream) dressing. The dressing was very appetizing and definitely whetted our appetites for the following courses. The portion is reasonably large and is suitable for sharing between 3-4 persons.



Colorful salad


Pour in the goma dressing yourself and give it a good toss!


The gomoku kamameshi (RM21.90) is served in a traditional steel pot and cooked tableside. It takes 20 minutes to cook, but do not be tempted to lift the cover to see what's happening as it will cause the rice to be undercooked. The rice is topped with bonito, carrot, shimeji mushrooms, tofu, root vegetables and topped with salmon, shrimp, chicken, scallops and flying fish roe.

Of course, we were simply too curious and lifted the cover for mere seconds just to see how it looked like. Luckily it did not affect the rice/cooking as it was delicious. When the 20 minutes was finally up, the room smelt lovely as the cover was lifted and the rice thoroughly mixed with the ingredients before eaten. It does look pretty plain but the taste was good, thanks to the "secret" broth it was cooked in.

Bubbling away!


Right at the start.. what's inside


Ready to eat


Give it a good mix


Sukiyaki (RM26.90), the Japanese style hot pot can either be a hit or miss for me, depending on the sukiyaki broth (I don't like it too sweet). I have to say the sukiyaki here is decent as the broth is to my liking. The hotpot includes slices of beef, nage negi (Japanese onions), tofu, enoki mushrooms, carrots, garland chrysanthemum leaves and cabbage which is also cooked tableside and then an egg can be poured over the broth when cooking is almost complete or used as a dip for the beef. (The staff can teach how to cook each dish as it is served)


Make sure not to overcook your beef slices


The tonpeiyaki (RM17.90) is a speciality dish from Osaka made from savory beef, shredded cabbage, tempura flakes, spring onions and stuffed into a cheese-filled Japanese omelet. Drizzled with mayonnaise, okonomiyaki saue and mustard, this was messy but taste oh-so-good.



The wafu pizza (RM17.90) is a thin-crust pizza topped with teriyaki chicken, mayo and nage negi. Perfect as a beer snack.

Instead of the usual grilled unagi topping, we had the anago tempura maki (RM18.90). Anago is a type of salt water eel with a softer texture when compared to unagi. The end bits were the best since you get to taste the anago tempura properly.


The hotate butter yaki (RM14.90) is the worldwide no.1dish as voted by Watami's diners. This was undoubtedly my favorite dish of the evening as well, in fact it was clearly obvious to everyone there that I loved scallops as my eyes were filled with LOVE when I took my first scallop. ;P The oven-baked scallops was served with shimeji mushrooms, topped with butter on a sizzling hot plate.I counted 7 scallops on each plate --very reasonably priced, I would say. This gets my vote too!



The chicken katsu tamago toji (RM19.90) is chicken katsu with scrambled egg sauce. The sauce is left to simmer tableside for 2 minutes before pouring the beaten egg onto the chicken katsu. We were told that this was available on their set lunch, complete with a drink and salad for RM19.90. (not sure how portion size would compare)

Chicken katsu (without the scrambled egg sauce)

Dessert was matcha tiramisu (RM9.90) (no idea why I haven't got a photo of this) which was pretty good and the ichigo creamy parfait (strawberry) (RM12.90). Hubby and I also shared one of the big drinks (not joking when they called it big!) - the passionfruit tea (RM12.90) which I quite enjoyed as it was appetizing and had black pearls in them.

Strawberry parfait


Chocolate parfait


Big drink!


For those who like their sashimi, 6 types is priced at RM49.90 - I know where to come to get my sashimi fix next time. Will report back on freshness! Please visit their website for their full a la carte menu as well as special set lunch and dinner menus.


Pork-free.

Opening times: 11am to 10pm.

Location: Watami Malaysia @ Pavilion KL, C4.04.00, Level 4, Pavilion KL Shopping Mall, 168, Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Watami is also available in 1 Utama and opening soon in The Paradigm, Kelana Jaya)

Tel: +603-2141 6671


*This is an invited review.

23 comments:

  1. I went there for lunch on last Saturday. Yea...the food is good! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm gonna return for lunch another day. Their set lunch very reasonably priced!

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  2. I love their Sapporo Kaisen Ramen Salad with d same goma dressing =)

    Yes! The Tonpeiyaki and Hotate Butter Yaki rocks! :)

    U din try their wobbly wonder? The Jikasei Milk Pudding...every spoon is milkylicious! :D

    Will always order their Yuzu Whisky Soda...nice relaxing drink :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I'm not usually a big salad person but I think the goma dressing makes all the difference to it.

      If I return will def reorder the hotate butter yaki and eat the whole plate on my own! Hahaha!

      And there is milk pudding too? Oh man! I'm gonna be so fat after my next visit. ;P

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    2. Ya...I am also not a salad person...but recently love them due to the different variations of goma dressing used makes them so appetising =)

      If u like milk, u will definitely like the Jikasei Milk Pudding =)

      Delete
  3. I also just visited their 1U outlet..food was ok only for me.. maybe I ordered the wrong thing? =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooooh what did you have? Next time u must definitely try the hotate butter yaki.. I think that would convert you to a fan!

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  4. I've never heard of wafu pizza. Must give that one a try.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thin crust pizza topped with teriyaki chicken. Good as a snack! ;)

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  5. Yeah, we all know you like scallop haha! And it's really affordable eh RM14.90 for 7 scallops!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahahahah I am so predictable right? ;P Yes yes, and the scallops are quite big too, so definitely value for money.

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  6. Maybe I'm the only 1 have yet visit Watami >.<

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha this was also my first visit. ;P

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  7. eh looks really nice! i wanna try also!

    i wanna try the wafu pizza and the anago maki! but i will have to wait for another two more months. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like the wafu pizza too! Saw quite many Japanese eating here.

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  8. ooo, it's been quite awhile since i had sukiyaki. i'm not a big fan of it, but i guess it's healthy and nutritious :D
    crossing my fingers that good & healthy french food will also take off in KL someday! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I very rarely eat sukiyaki too (used to be one of my favs) but was turned off by super sick broth some restaurants serve with it.

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  9. I spot scallop! I am gonna check that out. It looks good from the pics:D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Where there is scallop, I will be there! LOL

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  10. is it Halal though? cause I have some friends

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is pork-free but I believe they do serve alcohol in the restaurant. Need to double check.

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  11. also, do you know whether you have to book or anything?
    and when's the best time of the week to go?

    ReplyDelete

Please drop any comments or questions you may have here. Thank you so much for reading!

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