The Kobe @ Ampang

July 18, 2015

The Kobe is raring to jazz up the city's Japanese restaurant scene, with a singularly ravishing poolside setting in Ampang that might prove magical for moonlit meals & group gatherings, merely a three-kilometre drive from Suria KLCC.

 You should be able to rest easy in experienced hands when visiting The Kobe - the main kitchen is helmed by veteran chef Lum, who honed his craft for many years at Kampachi's old outpost in Hotel Equatorial. If you're trying the restaurant's omakase-style offerings, it might be fun to request the sashimi served uniquely in cocktail glasses for an eye-catching presentation. The seafood - from tuna to uni-adorned scallops - scores solid points for freshness, flavour & succulence.

The establishment's sushi also meets the mark, with rice that's well-blanketed with the ocean's fish-to-roe harvest on a charming floral plating. A set of six chef's-selection sushi balls clocks in at RM39.90++ on the extensive a la carte menu.

Grilled skewers are also a successful highlight, exuding the essential juiciness - our favourite on this kushi platter is probably the eel (RM9.90), a clear notch above the current inferior unagi that has flooded Malaysia's mass market. Prices feel fair - RM4.90 for chicken meat, RM5.90 for salmon belly, RM6.90 for a tiger prawn, RM4.90 for corn & RM2.90 for gingko nuts.

The theatrics flare into action for The Kobe's signature Volcano Roll - for best effect, if the lights are turned down, it certainly evokes an epic eruption, with a ring of fire circling the centre of creamy, savoury mixed seafood with a base of rice. RM39.90.

Crustacean cravings can be placated with pleasure at The Kobe, with bursting-with-brininess king prawn & lobster teppanyaki (RM32.90 & RM129.90), while seekers of steaks might fall head over heels for the Japanese-origin beef that proudly represents the restaurant's name; it's the highest-priced item here at RM229.90, but it's a tableau of true red-meat tenderness, perfectly executed with a pristine bovine pinkness, crisp char & fleshy-fatty lusciousness that's supremely satisfying.

 We also like The Kobe's Inaniwa udon, which does justice to what makes this classic so beloved. The gyoza is good too, but it's overshadowed by the more flamboyant items here. End your meal with sweet pancakes if you can resist trying the menu's many other temptations - everything from seafood okonomiyaki (RM27.90++) to pan-fried lamb with wine sauce (RM32.90++).

 The Kobe pays special attention to its speciality cocktails too, some of which feature Japanese-linked flourishes. Delicious recommendations include The Kobe-tini (gin, Japanese cucumber & lemon juice), as well as other concoctions that combine sake with ginger, lemon & sprite or shochu with blue curacao, malibu & pineapple.

 Speaking of flamboyance & flair, Kano will perform acts of acrobatic juggling if you're fortunate to catch him behind the counter - it's an exhilarating performance of impressive skill. And if it's your birthday, let The Kobe's warm, friendly staff know - they've prepared their own energetic song & dance to help make your celebration a bit more memorable.

 The Kobe showcases a variety of spacious seating sections, with both outdoor & interior elements, including a private room that provides a peek at the Petronas Twin Towers. Many thanks to The Kobe's team for hosting us here.

The Kobe
347, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. Same building as Nihonkan Club; lots of outdoor parking for customers is available.
Open daily for lunch & dinner. Tel: 03-4266-6262

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