Aoki-tei & Saisaki

February 12, 2016

The new face of Japanese buffets: Aoki-Tei promises an all-you-can-eat array of dishes prepared to order (to curb wastage) - sashimi platters to soft-shell crab hand rolls & salmon avocado reverse rolls, miso-glazed eggplant to salt-grilled mackerel, crackers topped with salmon & cheese to tofu pouches stuffed with oysters, deep-fried prawns with chicken floss to sizzling mixed seafood to ice cream desserts, & much more from a menu that breached 172 dishes when we visited in 2015. Aoki-tei's most recent prices were RM58++ for lunch & RM78++ for dinner (evenings tend to showcase a wider range), with discounts for kids & senior citizens - fair for so much food (which is neither top-of-the-line nor bottom-of-the-barrel). The ultimate incentive is a no-strings-attached free flow of alcoholic beverages - as of early 2016, bottomless beer for lunch, beer & sake during dinner.

Aoki-tei @ Kota Damansara
Ground Floor, Sunway Nexis, Dataran Sunway, Kota Damansara. 
Buffet lunch: 1130am-230pm; buffet dinner: 630pm-1030pm. Tel: 03-6143-6868

The old face of Japanese buffets: We had many enjoyable meals at Saisaki more than a decade ago, back when we were still working in the city centre. This all-buffet-everyday restaurant is still humming along like a well-oiled machine, packing in the crowds, particularly families (heavy discounts for the very young & slightly old are probably key). Buffet prices vary, dipping to as low as RM57 for adults for weekday lunches & as high as RM74 for weekend dinners. The counters still heave with temptations galore, encompassing essentials like sashimi, sushi, tempura & beyond. Shellfish is a highlight, both raw & cooked. Once upon a time, Saisaki served terrific unagi - heaps of it, warm, tender & nicely flavoursome - you'll still find eel here, but it now tastes closer to dried-out teriyaki chicken. Still, most other items are sufficiently well-prepared for a buffet (our favourites for one recent evening included juicy grilled salmon belly, crispy fried salmon skin, breaded shishamo, salted egg yolk crabs & tempura soft-shell crabs - we should have taken more of the last one), with some Chinese favourites thrown in for good measure (versions of Buddha Jumps Over The Wall, braised sea cucumber, & scrambled eggs with imitation shark fins). 

Saisaki @ Wisma UOA II
Wisma UOA 2, 21-1 Jalan Pinang, Kuala Lumpur. Daily, 12pm-3pm, 6pm-10pm. Tel: 03-21663728

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