Kin Gyu, Desa Sri Hartamas

May 8, 2019

If beef is pleasure for your palate, Kin Gyu might be your portal to paradise: This new Japanese restaurant promises KL's most extensive bovine menu, with close to 100 wagyu dishes, from steaks to stews to sliders, beef sashimi to beef sushi, hamburg to hot pots. Even the setting is distinctive, comprising 24 purely private rooms designed to evoke Japanese summers, each holding two to 16 patrons; it's a hidden first-floor restaurant, so look up for its namesake - a golden bull's head, hand-carried from Japan - to mark its location, across the street from its Yokohama-born founder's other eateries, Shin Nihon and Toridoki.

Kin Gyu's kitchen brigade is huge, helmed by several Japanese chefs, with inspirations that stretch far beyond Asia. The wagyu tartare (RM50) brings together France and Japan, showcasing chopped raw Japan-origin beef with house-made miso paste for deep dimensions of umami, sprinkled with salmon roe and bonito flakes, resting atop strikingly elegant tableware (even the plates and cutlery here hail from Japan). For folks who love their beef as primal as possible, also order the Italian-inflected wagyu carpaccio (RM50; lean slices of beef, lent sparkling dynamics by soy sauce-laced live oil, yuzu and kelp) and the hand-rolled wagyu tartare maki with a zesty-spicy sauce (RM12) for that raw appeal.

Kin Gyu's range of wagyu sushi is remarkable, encompassing nearly 20 types, some pickled with a house-made sweet vinegar sauce, others oven-roasted or charcoal-grilled, a few served meltingly raw, spotlighting different cuts such as the rib and tongue. Most of the sushi is priced between RM10-RM15; customers can also order a box of eight selected by the restaurant to represent what's best for the evening (RM80). A smorgasbord of succulence for wagyu worshippers.

Steaks are another spectacular centrepiece: Sold by weight, customers have a choice of cuts like the coveted chateaubriand, toweringly tender, with limited portions sold at market price (other options like premium sirloins and rib eyes start at RM1.70 per gram). The meat is sliced and weighed beside your table, then partially cooked in the kitchen before being served to you with sizzling lava stones from Mount Fuji to cook your beef to your preferred degree of doneness.

This is an exquisitely sumptuous experience for steak lovers - each customer can even choose three of Kin Gyu's own salts (in flavours like truffle, pink, Japanese pepper, yellow pepper, matcha, lemon herb, algae, sesame, kelp, garlic, red perilla, plum, shrimp powder or onion) and two sauces (such as teriyaki, grated onion, or grated daikon with ponzu) to complement the beef.

Kin Gyu merits multiple visits to explore its menu, from the hearty claypot rice blanketed with wagyu and an entire ensemble of seafood (RM80, sufficient for two to three persons) to the heartwarming wagyu tendon stew (RM30) and chawanmushi made creamy with minced wagyu, camembert cheese and white mushrooms (RM16), plus a smattering of non-beef temptations like a traditional Japanese pumpkin and sweet corn soup, steaming-hot to the slurp (RM14), dashi broth with shredded vegetables including Japanese radish and bamboo shoots (RM14), and a deliciously earthy house-made legume tofu with walnut dressing (RM14). We'll happily raise our highballs (starting from RM16) to Kin Gyu; many thanks to the team here for having us.

Kin Gyu

First Floor, 8, Jalan 24/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur. Daily, 530pm-1am. Tel: 03-6206-3515
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