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 (RM100 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.
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.
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|
|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.
TATSU JAPANESE CUISINE (no pork served)
Viking Buffet @ RM100 per pax. Saturday and Sunday.
Lunch, 11.30am to 2.30pm. Dinner, 6.30pm to 10.30pm