Cafe Yamatatsu, Old Klang Road

February 12, 2020

Yamatatsu was born as a weekend food pop-up last year, but it now has a beautiful home of its own, in a space lined with Studio Ghibli anime artwork, plus manga-loving posters of Naruto, One Piece and Slam Dunk. Its cooking is equally soulful, spanning heartwarming comfort fare from Taiwan and Japan, with intriguing treats for pickle enthusiasts.

If you're nursing a shattered heart, order the Taiwanese mee suah, brimming with thin, tender noodles in a thick, umami-rich broth, topped with pork slices - for RM10, it's a simple but so-satisfying recipe that you might find yourself returning for regularly.

Fans of Japanese rice bowls can choose one that's seafood-blanketed with moist, unmistakably oily saba (mackerel), shishamo and tempura prawns (RM23), while those of us who can't resist oden will savour a soothing, sweet-brothed recipe that's light and pleasing (RM9).

Yamatatsu serves a selection of house-made pickles (RM4 to RM5.50 each) that will be an acquired taste for most of us. The yuzu bitter gourd might be the most challenging, its unabashed bitterness kicked up a notch by the citrus, while the wasabi cucumber would sourly overwhelm any nasi lemak it ever accompanies, and the bonito-spiked brinjals boast a hardened chew with a pungent asam aftertaste. The easiest to tolerate for pickle novices is the miso enoki, with the fermentation accentuating the mushroom's natural earthiness.

Pickling is also part of the process for the Witchy Wine, with punchy-tasting tomatoes hanging over iced Japanese umeshu plum wine for a perky beverage (RM12). Yamatatsu also offers a selection of playful sake-based cocktails, including the Warm Spring (RM18; served slightly heated as its name indicates, with a cinnamon stick) and chilled with yogurt for an unconventional coupling of rice wine and cultured milk (RM20).

Cafe Yamatatsu

30, Jalan 2/131A, Project Jaya Industrial Estate, Batu, 6, Jalan Klang Lama, 58200 Kuala Lumpur.

Open Mon-Wed, Fri-Sun, 12pm-3pm, 6pm-1am. Tel: 012-241-2532 

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