Koikeshoten @ Telawi, Bangsar

July 10, 2016

Koikeshoten is scarcely a week old, but it instantly secures pole position as our current favourite kushiyaki bar in KL - chef Norio Koike has been part of some of the Klang Valley's most smoking-good Japanese eateries over the past six years, including Ri-Yakitori, Shuraku, Maruhi Sakaba & Fukuda, & his work at this new restaurant seems to burn brighter than ever.

Start with the skewers - the eel (RM25) restores our faith in how drop-dead divine unagi can be, the Wagyu beef (RM21) is a sacrament of sheer succulence, & the ebi (RM18 for two pieces) is perfectly prepared enough to inspire psalms of adoration. Collectively costly, but potently pleasurable. Especially the eel.

The complete range of chicken-based yakitori is available, each of which met or exceeded our eager expectations, setting the bar for what grilled fowl can & should be - chicken tenderloin seasoned with plum (RM5), thigh meat (RM6), heart (RM5), liver (RM5; delicious), bishop's nose (RM4; definitely yes), skin (RM4; flawless in its crispy-juicy balance) & wings (RM9).

Koikeshoten is one of KL's few Japanese eateries that offer chicken sashimi (RM25), so take the opportunity to order this barely-cooked, acquired-taste treat - it's free-range, safe & tastes wholesome. Intrepid diners can also check out the wasabi stem sushi roll (RM21), explosive enough to warrant an advisory (consume slowly, with caution, or risk a coughing fit).

Koikeshoten's okonomiyaki merits a special mention, ranking among the best Japanese savoury pancakes we've had in KL, thick & so beautifully textured, a quantum leap forward from stodgy, doughy or greasy renditions. We chose the mentaiko okonomiyaki (RM30) but you'll also find versions stuffed with squid (RM18), shrimp (RM24), oysters (RM20) & cheese (RM20).

It should be clear by now that Koikeshoten's repertoire extends beyond kushiyaki - impressively, everything we tried proved unimpeachable, signalling the seriousness of this quietly confident kitchen. Rice topped with sea urchin & a poached egg is the pinnacle of decadent flavours (RM35), while deep-fried chicken gizzards are addictive enough to convert even those of us who don't typically adore gizzard (RM16). Snack also on fun tidbits like Japanese mountain yam topped with a quail's egg & cypress seeds known also as land caviar (RM11), maitake mushrooms (RM7) & spicy-crunchy pickled celery (RM11), washed down with alcohol galore - Koikeshoten supplies everything we really need, from whiskey & shochu to wine, sake & beer.

Koike Shoten
8, Jalan Telawi, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur. Look for Domino's.
Open for dinner from 6pm (last orders at about 1030pm). Tel: 03-2856-7397

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