Wednesday, 4 March 2020

STILL WATERS @ Maya Hotel Kuala Lumpur

Only on Saturday afternoons

February 29, 2020

I am excited at the thought of meeting My Best Friend and a few others at Still Water’s Saturday-only Japanese buffet in Maya Kuala Lumpur.  
The sun is quite merciless these days and despite the air-conditioning on at full blast in the car, I am beginning to sweat as I walk up a short flight of steps to the restaurant. So I am glad to see iced green tea and quickly grab a drink before I turn my attention to the buffet spread. 
Sashimi selections, marinated octopus, edamame and salad choices
Having cooled down, my eyes are drawn to the spread of colourful sushi and sashimi. There are four types of sashimi fish – ahi (tuna), abura bozu (butterfish), sake (salmon) and yellowtail – as well as octopus.
Inari sushi or tofu pockets

Wide range of sushi on the buffet spread

My pick of sushi, sashimi and pickles
Unagi handroll made to order
Alongside these are salads, inari sushi (stuffed tofu pockets), marinated wakame (green seaweed), jellyfish and my favourite baby octopus. Next to this, a chef is making handrolls to order with fillings such as soft-shell crab, unagi and salmon.
On another table, I see maki sushi, nigiri sushi such as salmon, tuna, ebi (prawn), octopus and tempura prawn, and dragon uramaki with deepfried prawn topped with barbecued salmon and fish roe. What I appreciate most is that the fish is extremely fresh and yummy.
Grilled chicken with teriyaki sauce
Grilled Pacific mackerel with salt
Deep fried gyoza
Don’t worry if you prefer hot or cooked food as you’ll be spoilt for choice with juicy deepfried breaded chicken cutlet, oden (braised stew), grilled chicken with teriyaki sauce and Australian beef sirloin, panfried salmon with teriyaki sauce, grilled Pacific mackerel with salt, skewers of deepfried shishamo and chicken wings with aubergine, tempura prawn and assorted vegetables and deepfried gyoza (dumplings). 
Teppanyaki Australian beef sirloin
Skewers of shishamo and chicken wings with aubergine
I head for chawanmushi (steamed egg custard) kept warm in a steamer. This is my all-time favourite dish in a Japanese restaurant. The egg custard is silky smooth but unfortunately, it lacks salt that would have otherwise made it so perfect.
Ramen with condiments in miso soup (left) and fish head miso soup
Next to the chawanmushi steamer are udon, ramen and green tea noodles with condiments. Customers blanch the noodles lightly and add Japanese fish cake, cubed tofu, chicken, crabstick, scallions and seaweed. Then pour over the hot miso or clear soup. There’s also a pot of miso soup with chunks of salmon head that you can add to the noodles if preferred.
Yaki udon is fried with assorted vegetables and topped with bonito flakes. There’s also Japanese garlic fried rice.
For dessert, I’m having a bowl of hot soya bean milk cooked with barley, ginkgo nut and fu chuk (beancurd sheet). This is more of a Chinese-style dessert rather than Japanese, but nevertheless, I enjoy it thoroughly.  
Part of the dessert spread
There is freshly cut fruit, mochi, cakes, mango pudding and six flavours of gelato with a range of toppings, from colourful sprinkles to chocolate buttons.
The Saturday lunch buffet is priced at RM78 nett (adult) and RM40 for senior citizen and children aged 5-12. Diners who share a photo on instagram and tag @hotelmayakualalumpur with #eatatmaya will get 20% off the bill.
Executive sous chef Zainurin feels the price factor and quality food give Still Waters the advantage over other Japanese buffets in the city. The chef also gives a demonstration on prepping a whole fresh salmon as well as offer tips on how to tell if the fish is fresh.

STILL WATERS (no pork served)

Level 1, Hotel Maya
138 Jalan Ampang, KL

+603-2333 1360

Opening Hours
Monday - Friday
Lunch: Noon to 2.30pm
Dinner: 6pm to 10.30pm

Japanese Buffet
Saturday: Noon to 3pm

RM78 nett. RM40 for senior citizen above 60 and child (5-12)

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Tatsu Japanese Cuisine @ Intercontinental KL

Go Viking, go!

February 15, 2020

I am bemused. A Viking buffet? In a Japanese restaurant? There is no mistake. Tatsu Japanese Cuisine restaurant is having a Viking Buffet every Saturday and Sunday at Intercontinental Hotel Kuala Lumpur.
I learn later that in Japanese, the word viking has nothing to do with Norse gods but rather the word (pronounced baikingu) refers simply to a lavish buffet.
In the old days, all-you-can-eat buffet-style dining was not heard of in Japan. It was introduced in 1959 by Tetsuzo Inumaru, manager of Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel after a visit to Denmark and he decided to call it baikingu instead as the Japanese found difficult to pronounce smorgasbord. 
Selection of salads and pickles
The Viking Buffet at Tatsu (RM120 per adult) comprises two parts. Appetisers, fruit and miso soup are displayed on the buffet table while hot meals are cooked to order. Needless to say, I am delighted to find I won’t be eating food that other diners have been poking around in.  
Appetisers (clockwise from top left) horenso ohidashi, kiriboshi daikon, chuka kurage and chuka wakame
Edamame, pickled ginger and wasabi
Appetisers such as chuka wakame (marinated seaweed), chuka kurage (marinated jellyfish), kiriboshi daikon (stewed carrot-radish), horenso ohidashi (boiled spinach), sashimi, sushi and maki as well as kani mayo sarada (crab salad), potato salad and green salad. There’s edamame, pickles and sliced ginger too. 
Temaki or hand-rolled sushi cones with different fillings
I love the temaki (hand-made sushi cone). Most restaurants will place toppings only near the top but at Tatsu, the fillings of crab, unagi, ebi tempura, soft shell crab, tobiko and vegetarian, are found all the way down to the pointy end of the seaweed cone.
Sushi selections
For sashimi, the short wait for the chef on duty to slice the fish a la minute; choices include butterfish, hamachi (amberjack), tuna and salmon, is worth the while.
When we return to the table, we see a paper menu on the table with over 30 items in the six categories listed: Nimono (stew), agemono (deepfried), yakimono (grilled), teppanyaki (panfried), noodles/rice and dessert. We just tick off items that tickle our fancy.
Clockwise from left: Kaki furai, tempura moriawase and  tori karaage
Each menu comes with a subtle suggestion that, in order to minimise wastage, customers should re-order after they try an item the first time instead of asking for double/triple portions. Sensible. In fact, each serving portion is large enough to share. For instance, for our table of 3, we are served three pieces of kaki furai (deepfried oyster). We love it so much that we ask for a second plate. This way ensures that oysters come pipping hot each time.
Freshly grilled unagi kabayaki
Chawanmushi (egg custard) and unagi kabayaki (grilled eel) are my all-time favourites and both are excellent. I also love how the silky smooth agedashi tofu, which comes soaking in a bowl of sauce with sliced scallions and seaweed, surrenders hints of spicy shichimi togarashi.
Japanese chicken curry goes well with white rice
Deepfried age gyoza
At our table, young Dylan is smacking his lips over Japanese chicken curry with rice and age gyoza (deepfried dumpling) He asks for second helpings.
Ebi karaage
Meanwhile, My Best Friend and I are happily munching our way through ebi karaage, tori karaage and teppanyaki prawn and scallops.
Teppanyaki scallops and tiger prawns
Teppanyaki Angus beef
Our second round of selections was a healthy spread of unagi kabayaki, grilled salmon, grilled saba, teppanyaki salmon, scallop, tiger prawn and Angus beef for MBF. Unfortunately, I find the salmon and saba a tad overcooked for my liking.
Clockwise from top left: Agedashi tofu, saba shioyaki and salmon shioyaki
I would have loved to slurp some noodles but after having made our way through 2/3 of the menu, I’m starting to feel like a beached whale.
Clockwise from top: Mochi, green tea ice cream and shiratama zenzai
And we haven’t hit dessert yet. Shiratama zenzai (sweet red bean soup with mochi), a variety of mochi and green tea ice cream (other flavours are chocolate, vanilla and strawberry) completed the lunch on a sweet note.


+603-2782 6118

Viking Buffet @ RM120 per pax (until March 31, 2020). Saturday and Sunday. 
Lunch, 11.30am to 2.30pm. Dinner, 6.30pm to 10.30pm