Shin Haru Tei, Jaya One

June 30, 2020

The latest hideout for Japanese food fans in Jaya One, Shin Haru Tei is a distinctive destination that tackles two different genres - soulful fare that spans classic ramen and rice bowls, as well as yoshoku-style Western-influenced recipes that embody a more contemporary culinary spirit.

Newly launched this year, Shin Haru Tei remains a well-kept secret, spearheaded by Chef Richie Ng, a Malaysian who has sharpened his skills under Japanese mentors, with 16 years of experience so far in the sultry art of Japanese street cooking (with six years specialising purely in ramen).

If you're seeking a Japanese meal that marries time-honoured traditions with tantalising twists, Shin Haru Tei is worth bookmarking.

Ramen is our painstakingly prepared introduction to Shin Haru Tei, with no shortcuts in crafting its traditional broth, taking 12 hours to boil pork bones, trotters and skin for an authentic base. No milk is added for any artificial creaminess, no MSG is used to up its natural umami - all the goodness of the collagen-rich tonkotsu broth comes purely from the pork.

The top temptation is the Ooki Chashu Ramen, with a chunky slab of pork belly to top the ramen, succulently layered with flesh and fat, marinated in mirin and soy for an unmistakably Japanese sweetness, torched to order, a meaty companion for the thin, smooth noodles in broth that's relatively light-textured but robust-tasting. You can also choose other broths for this, including miso, spicy or Shin Haru Tei's fusion pesto broth (laced with basil for Japanese-Italian fusion fun).

The ramen with the full Ooki Chashu ('ookii' is Japanese for big) clocks in reasonably at RM28.90+, complete with all the other essential accompaniments, including a whole, irresistibly creamy-yolked ajitsuke tamago for the egg enthusiast. If you'd like the Ooki Chashu on its own, it's RM18.90+.

You'll also find eight other ramen recipes available, each priced at RM17.90-RM18.90+, a solid bargain at this time when ramen at many other joints breach the RM30 threshold.

The Tonkotsu is the cornerstone, with the regular rolled chashu, as luscious as we like it, plus the seasoned egg, seaweed, black fungus and spring onions. Other options include Miso, Spicy, Pesto, the Korean-inflected Kimchi, Tan Tan (with minced meat), Abura (with minced meat and onsen egg in slightly spicy broth), and Hiyashi (in cold broth with wasabi) - lots of variety for ramen enthusiasts.

Comfort can also be uncovered in rice bowls, with nine types of donburi now available, all served with miso soup. The Gyu Don is our best bet, with tenderly mellow simmered beef, sweet with onions, layered on the rice with the runniest egg (RM16.90), but the other bowls also sound well worthwhile, from the crowd-pleasing Oyako Don (with chicken and egg) and Karaage Rice (with Japanese fried chicken) to the pork lover's Chashu, Buta Kimchi (pork slices with stir-fried kimchi), Shogayaki (pork slices with ginger sauce) and Kakuni (slow-braised pork belly), plus young-at-heart treats like Cheese Curry Rice and premium indulgences like Una Don (with grilled eel and omelette).

What makes Shin Haru Tei doubly delightful is its newly introduced yoshoku selection, a confident repertoire that would be at home in a modern Tokyo cafe.

If you're a hamburg (hanbagu) hunter, Shin Haru Tei's pork rendition of these ground meat patties is super-satisfying - more flesh, nearly no filler except for egg white - with a beautifully textured bite constructed with a 30 percent fat content to 70 percent meat, with a tangy, tomato-tinged sauce to brighten up the ensemble with a lovely potato salad, tomato, broccoli and other fresh vegetables.

We're equally impressed with Shin Haru Tei's other protein pleasures - the Australian roast beef striploin is as enjoyable as a respected steakhouse's, best savoured medium-rare, buoyant with citrusy yuzu kosho spicy paste for a Japanese flourish, while the Spanish iberico ribs are lip-smacking to the bone, with a firm chew and fragrant char, slicked up by a soy-based sweet sauce that's livelier than Western BBQ glazes.

It's rare to see a Japanese kitchen adept with all these offerings, making Shin Haru Tei a welcome entry to the Klang Valley's food landscape. Many thanks to the team here for having us.

Shin Haru Tei

69-P1, Block D, Jaya One, Jalan Universiti, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

Open Monday-Wednesday, 1030am-9pm; Thursday-Sunday, 1130am-9pm. Tel: 03-7931-9733

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