Gonbei San

March 11, 2011

Starhill's upmarket Japanese restaurant reopened this month _ adding a "San" to its name _ after a lengthy refurbishment. Still feels like the same place though.

Traditional Japanese cooking rules the roost here; even the amuse bouche of preserved amberjack is as safe and unintimidating as can be.

The sashimi platter is tasty, but terribly pricey, due to its premium components of otoro (the fattiest part of the tuna, with a melt-in-the-mouth feel akin to pork belly), hamachi (yellowtail), salmon belly & raw prawns.

Sushi platter with a spider maki. Unremarkable, but satisfactory.

Meat-lovers can splurge on the Kobe beef teriyaki, which is sweet and succulent, but it seems exceedingly exorbitant at RM432++ for these 240 grams.

Grilled oysters with spicy mayo. Lovably luscious, perfectly prepared; the savory combination of the fleshy oysters and the creamy mayo is almost a sensual pleasure.

Kakiage tempura. Light and not too greasy.

Wakame Jiru (soybean paste soup with seaweed). Umami-packed.

Musk melon. OK, have to whinge about the prices one more time, since these two slices cost RM130++ (!!!). The melons are ripe and juicy, but not lusciously nectarous enough to warrant the expense. Live and learn, right?

The cocktails _ underpinned by sake and shochu _ display more creativity. Here are the Himomaru (hot sake, umeboshi) & Morino Batah (avocado, nigori sake).

Oolong Hai (mugi jochu, oolong tea) & Karuizawa Martini (imo shochu, raspberry, lychee).

Nihonsakari, a dry sake that goes well with fishy flavors.

Shochu to make us mellow.

After all that booze, a trip to Gonbei San's restroom was mandatory. Clearly, a Zen-like tranquility permeates every part of this restaurant.

Gonbei San,
Starhill, Kuala Lumpur.