KL's latest omakase-focused outlet has plenty of potential, spearheaded by a Malaysian chef who spent eight years sharpening his skills in Tokyo. Chef Foo, his right-hand man Jun and their crew do a diligent job of replicating the experience of having a Japanese maestro work magic at the sushi counter, presenting a parade of both classic and creative concoctions.
Hinoiri offers a range of omakase menus, starting at RM228 for a dinner that includes 10 pieces of nigiri sushi, chawanmushi, tsukemono, soup and dessert.
But the comprehensive, hours-long meal here is represented by the Hibi menu (RM488), which starts with at least seven types of otsumami, snack-sized appetisers. This is where an omakase restaurant can shine in sourcing the season's top ingredients and imaginatively preparing and showcasing them.
Hinoiri does creditably in that respect. As winter descends, you might expect delicate courses of seabream liver with vinegared Okinawan seaweed and mountain yam, bringing together sea and land; chawanmushi made briny with firefly squid; monkfish liver boiled with sansho peppers for a subtle uplift; striped jack mackerel misoyaki with baby taro; dashi day-aged scallop; shirako with caviar; sea urchin fried tempura-style in shiso leaves; and various sashimi, like a tuna duet of chutoro and otoro.
Sushi is something that Hinoiri is still be getting a handle on. The rice could be a bit too warm or tangy for some preferences, complicating the shari-neta balance of temperature and taste. Nevertheless, Hinoiri tackles a solid selection of seafood, heavy on mackerels, some pungently fishy while others are mellowed out by their preparations, featuring lots of rich, fatty textures in line with colder weather, with everything from red clams to crustaceans represented for shellfish enthusiasts, in styles that leap from yuzu-dressed to lightly torched to aged for five hours in kelp. House-made pickles accompany the sushi.
The Hibi menu concludes as it should, with a decadent don, a soothing fish soup, and a delectable dessert platter of yokan jelly of red bean paste with chestnuts, plus persimmon and ceremonial-grade matcha. Sake is available, so you have all you need to enjoy the evening. Service is friendly and professionally efficient.
With most omakase restaurants concentrated in KL's city centre and other suburbs, it's nice to see one in this neighbourhood.
Hinoiri shares its space with Hinode Bento, which operates by day while Hinoiri takes over in the evening.
Hinoiri Japanese Cuisine
F-5-1 Pusat Perdagangan Bandar, Jalan Persiaran Jalil 1, Bukit Jalil, 57000 Kuala Lumpur.
Open Wednesday-Sunday, 6pm-10pm. Tel: 016-327-9516