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 (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.
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 @ RM100 per pax. Saturday and Sunday. 
Lunch, 11.30am to 2.30pm. Dinner, 6.30pm to 10.30pm

Monday, 3 February 2020

A Li Yaa Restaurant & Bar

Pick of Jaffna flavours

February 10, 2020

IT’S been 2 years since the first Jaffna Food Festival to commemorate its 10th anniversary and A Li Yaa is planning the second Jaffna Food Festival – Culinary Journey to Yalpanam (the original name for Jaffna).
To be held over three days from February 17 to 19, the festival menu promises to be as tantalising as the first.The first was such a success that customers kept asking if there’s another one, says its marketing manager Janaka Ranjana, adding that “again, there will a spread of over 50 dishes, with new items we want to introduce to our customers”.
Executive chef Siva Suppaiya is feeling upbeat and excited. He and guest chef Dr. Parvathy Kanthasamy have been putting their heads together to create the new dishes. 
Dr Parvathy using the batu giling to make Mint Sambal and introducing the new dishes for the festival
Originally from Yalpanam, Parvathy is a linguistc professor who now resides in Canada but visits her restaurateur son regularly in Kuala Lumpur. In fact, she is the brains behind the kitchen at A Li Yaa, so you can expect family favourites liberally punctuating the menu.
Mint Sambal, prepared using the batu giling
I watch as she demonstrates making Mint Sambal the old fashioned way, with a batu giling. Though she's been cooking since she was a young girl, Parvathy's not a stickler for going by the book. “I love experimenting and I do incorporate new ingredients into old recipes such as rosemary, thyme, mint and coriander which are not traditional Sri Lankan ingredients,” she says, throwing a bunch of chopped mint and peeled garlic on the batu giling.
Beetroot Varai
She then makes Beetroot Varai, sauteeing julienned beets and sliced onions with spices and curry leaves. The end result? A refreshing side salad dish with all the health benefits of beetroot.
Aracha Kulambo, mild curry using swordfish
These and Aracha Kulambo, a mildly tangy swordfish curry, are new items for the event. The fish curry is excellent with string hoppers.
Gottu Kolla is a healthy, refreshing side salad using pennyworth as the main ingredient
I try Gottu Kolla, a salad made with shredded vallarai (pennyworth) and grated coconut. It is both nutritional and refreshing with a minty flavour. Finely chopped shallot, green chilli and a dash of lime juice add another level to the taste.
Jaffna Eggplant Sambal
Oh, I just love the Jaffna-style Eggplant Sambal! The thin slivers of eggplant are deepfried and tossed with caramelised onion, chilli, tomato and curry leaves. Perfect on its own with a swig of beer or a sip of wine.
Fish Cutlets are bursting with aroma and flavour
Fish cutlets are served piping hot, with the exterior deepfried to a crisp and a golden hue. Be careful of escaping steam when you take the first bite. Forget the chilli dip provided. The flaked fish filling, with onion and chilli, is flavoursome and spicy enough to stand on its own.  
A Li Yaa offers rice, roti, appam, puttu and string hoppers to go with the curries.String hoppers are great with mutton paal poriyal, which is slow cooked in a well-balanced combination of spices. Tender and scrumptious.
Have roti with Fish Sothi, cooked in coconut milk with lemongrass, garlic, shallots and curry leaves.
That’s not all you will find on the table for the Jaffna Festival.  Vegetarian options are on the list too and I’m looking forward to Jaffna Crab Curry, cooked in a sauce as exciting as it is dark and guaranteed to be finger licking good. Janaka says there will be both Sri Lankan Mud Crab and Blue Swimmer Crab on the buffet spread. 
A Li Yaa's Sweet Appam is a customer favourite
I’ll be saving tummy space for Sweet Appam as dessert. A Li Yaa’s sweet appam has a fluffy, moist heart from the generous lashing of coconut cream in the centre. The edges are perfectly crisp and the centre is dotted with sprinkles of brown sugar. 
As I fold the soft centre over the crisp edge and pop it into the mouth with a sigh of satisfaction, Parvarthy watches me with a hint of amusement. “We usually peel off a bit of the crisp edge and use it to scoop up the soft centre,” she says.   

48 Jalan Medan Setia 2
Bukit Damansara,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

+6012-444 1310

Opening Hours
Daily. Noon to 11pm

Jaffna Food Festival - Culinary Journey to Yalpanam
February 17-19
Lunch: Noon-2.30pm
Dinner: 6pm-8pm and 8.30pm to 10.30pm

RM148++ per person