Preview: Kakigori @ Taman Paramount, Petaling Jaya
September 4, 2016
Break the ice at Kakigori (opening Sept. 10), which promises Japanese shaved ice desserts that play it cool with distinctively spirited flourishes - a sub-zero remedy for the Klang Valley's perpetual summer, supplying succour like snowfall in the Sahara.
The venue is meant to resemble an ice factory, warmed by the unexpected presence of a garden-like centrepiece that evokes a children's playhouse, surrounded by custom-constructed furnishing inspired by origami motifs, with tables & chairs whose 'feet' mimic those of both humans & birds. You'll also note caricatures of a mysterious mascot nicknamed Yuki, a 'snow lady' whose tale is inscribed on Kakigori's menu (long story short: she needs to consume frosty fare to save herself from melting).
It's ice to meet you: Kakigori's founders are the three Beh siblings, who also spearhead Bangsar South's Thirdwave cafe - these cool cats say they've always loved air-conditioning & chilled treats, so when they discovered Japan's kakigori, they were determined to launch a venue dedicated to this dessert. After scouring Tokyo for all the kakigori they could eat, they're ready to unveil no fewer than ten wintry creations - traditionalists can start with the tea-based interpretations: Hojicha kakigori with candied chestnuts & kinako milk (RM17) & the Uji Matcha kakigori with red beans, own-made warabimochi & kinako milk (RM17), relying on tea cultivated by Kyoto's revered Marukyu-Koyamaen. The Beh siblings uphold exacting standards, sourcing clear, strong ice shaved into smooth, ultra-light shards that melt slowly, complemented by natural, seasonal produce.
Kakigori's versions emulate the most recent wave offered by Japan's speciality stores, imbued with the new-millennium thrill of experimentation. You'll find recipes that challenge perceptions & broaden the horizons of our palates - the Shoyu kakigori conveys an umami resonance that's rare in sweets, made textured with dango rice dumplings & balanced with kinako powder (RM14), while the Japanese pumpkin kakigori is a creamy dream come true, buoyed by a potent burnt caramel sauce (RM15).
Some of these big chills convincingly channel cherished Malaysian flavours - tau foo fah acolytes might be smitten by the Ginger Tofu kakigori, which melds morsels of a super-silky tofu pudding with sweet puffed rice to revive memories of childhood snacks (RM15), while apam balik disciples can find cold comfort in kakigori snowed in with corn puree, a milky coconut espuma & toasted nuts (RM17). Kakigori worked on numerous recipes frozen down to these final ten; you can expect specials to pop up from time to time - perhaps a mooncake-inspired kakigori in 2017, or even a spicy-sour tom yum kakigori?
Fruits are dressed to chill at Kakigori - watermelon puree (strictly no artificial colouring or concentrates here) with the unmistakable floral fragrance of rose espuma, berries & grapes (RM17) & guava with jelly & plum salt (jeruk jambu, anyone?).
Our favourite kakigori is predictable - avocado with pistachios (RM18), its delicate purity shining in every biting-cold spoonful. For an even safer choice, the tiramisu kakigori is a portrait of frigid familiarity, insulated by inventive brushstrokes of coffee espuma & Valrhona chocolate (RM16) - only the tip of the iceberg of Kakigori's capabilities. Pack your mittens, hats & scarves & head to this brrrrrr-and new venue soon - what's cooler than cool? Ice-cold, indeed. Thanks to Kakigori for having us.
Kakigori @ PJ Paramount Garden
25, Jalan 20/13, Taman Paramount, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Business commences Saturday, Sept. 10. Will be open 1pm-10pm for the first weekend.
Open Tuesday-Thursday, 1pm-10pm, Fri-Sun, 12pm-12am. Closed Mondays (but will stay open Sept. 12). Tel: 03-7865-8666
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