Kodawari Menya Udon & Menya Kamikaze Ramen @ 1 Mont Kiara

September 11, 2014

Japanese noodles are squiggling their way into the freshly revitalised 1 Mont Kiara mall; here's a peek into two new outlets that specialise in slurp-worthy strands, starting with udon upstart Kodawari Menya.

Kodawari Menya does things differently; it's something of a self-service eatery, with instructions for the uninitiated outside the entrance. First, step up to the counter, check out the menu & choose from the diverse likes of niku, bukkake, zaru, kamaage, kake, kitsune & kare udon. Mainly RM10.90-RM14.90 for a small serving or RM12.90-RM16.90 for more substantial portions.

Head next to the tempura section, where you can pick optional deep-fried accompaniments for your udon, ranging from prawns (RM4), chicken (RM3.50) & mixed veggies (RM2.50) to pumpkin, mushrooms, eggplant, sweet potatoes & lotus roots (RM2 each). Kodawari Menya is a no-pork restaurant.

After paying & collecting your food, mosey on over to the condiments counter & help yourself. And that's it; the entire process shouldn't take more than five minutes, potentially faster than ordering at a table & waiting for the kitchen to deliver.

We pondered whether to have our udon with beef, tofu pockets, bonito flakes, curry or various dipping sauces, but ended up with the wakame udon (with edible seaweed). It proved pleasantly tasty, pretty much what a decent bowl of udon should be.

The tempura squid isn't half-bad either, with an interesting savoury batter that's heavier than expected but still crisply enjoyable in its own right. All in all, the flexibility of customisation & the freshness of the authenticity-focused food makes Kodawari Menya a reasonable pit-stop if you're hanging around Mont Kiara.

Oh, one more thing: Return the food tray to help out with the clean-up before leaving.

Need more noodles? No problem - only a few paces away from Kodawari Menya, also on the first floor of 1 Mont Kiara, here's Menya Kamikaze, which serves big, steaming-hot bowls of ramen.

Menya Kamikaze's ramen is crowd-pleasing for sure, with basically all the broth varieties that customers in KL have become accustomed to in recent years. Satisfyingly hearty portions mostly cost RM20-RM25.

The pork broth is rich & resonant, blessed with a creaminess that's not cloying - plus, there's not too much sodium either that might spur some customers to complain. We added butter to make it even better.

The noodles boast a solid chew, but what might keep patrons coming back is the cha-shu - the meat's chunky & very tender.

 But the hidden gem at Menya Kamikaze seems to be the curry rice (RM8 for small), a luscious treat with succulent slices of pork belly piled with a confidently captivating curry over Japanese rice.

All in all, there's enough to like about Kodawari Menya & Menya Kamikaze; we'd love 'em even more if they served liquor, but even without, we're high on the noodles here.

 Kodawari Menya Udon, 1 Mont Kiara Mall

Menya Kamikaze Ramen, 1 Mont Kiara Mall

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