Sushi Daiku seeks to become Desa ParkCity's key destination for Japanese food fans, taking us on an exciting exploration of impressive ingredients, from the Pacific Ocean's whole spiny lobsters to Nagasaki's premium salted mullet roe.
Minutes after we stepped inside, this shimmering new omakase restaurant was set to make a splash, bringing out a bounty of seafood that spanned seasonal rarities to surefire crowd-pleasers.
Malaysian head chef Chia, armed with 15 years of experience in Japanese establishments, aided by junior chef Yoong, sprung into action, putting the first tantalising touches on delicate appetisers.
Kyoto-born chef Tanaka, a partnering chef at Sushi Daiku, readied his sharp, sleek blades, relying on them to slice exquisite raw fish and pierce through live crustaceans.
Sushi Daiku welcomes up to 15 guests per session for omakase lunches and dinners, with meals for a spectrum of different budgets, priced at RM288++. RM488++, RM588++, RM888++ and RM1,288++.
Our experience was a voyage through the current RM888++ and RM1,288++ courses.
Our palates were instantly perked up by a scintillating starter, a colourful ensemble from both ocean and land: Sea urchin, salmon roe and sea grapes, speckled with flowering shiso inflorescence, cushioned with soft tofu skin skimmed from hot soy milk, buoyed by freshly grated wasabi. It's a beautiful medley, channelling a kaleidoscope of quintessentially Japanese elements.
True to the spirit of omakase, the sashimi course will consistently feature what's freshest in the Japanese market, flown to KL to fulfil the cravings of everyone who can't travel to Tokyo for now. Sushi Daiku's sashimi is firm and luscious, lovely and lovable.
Chawanmushi might be a classic to some, a cliche to other: Sushi Daiku still succeeds in breathing soulful life into its umami-rich rendition, comfortingly steaming-hot, custardy-smooth and sumptuous, enhanced with the potently aromatic earthiness of black truffles, plus plump slices of sweet, succulent scallops. This might be our favourite chawanmushi of 2021.
The sushi courses prove memorable, a parade of distinctive delights.
Fish is respectably represented by kinmedai, the light, flaky golden-eye snapper, layered thickly over notably vinegared rice, and engawa, the decadently buttery-oily flounder fin.
Tuna comes in twos - lean, soy-marinated akami and fatty otoro, a pleasurable contrast of textures.
Our favourite sushi turns out to be the non-fish temptations.
Japanese glass shrimp is gorgeously refined; the Bering Sea cockle is juicily crunchy with nuanced dimensions of brininess; while the steamed abalone is another marvellous mollusc at its pure, punchy prime. We'd happily return simply for this trio of sushi.
The spectacular, hard-shelled centrepiece surfaces next.
For the RM1,288 omakase: Japanese spiny lobster, which grows up to 30 centimetres long in the Pacific Ocean, versatile enough to turn into everything from sashimi to stew to soup.
For the RM888 omakase: Hairy crabs, also snapping-live, so customers savour all of these at their absolute finest and freshest.
The lobster is as luxurious as it gets - meaty and fleshy, full-bodied in its flavour, clawsome and awesome. The chefs prepare it in two styles, first the body and tail, then the head, to distinguish between the characteristics contained within an entire lobster. If you can't resist lobsters, bookmark this omakase.
The hairy crab is also admirable, at its best in October and November - relish the melty, mouthwatering roe, pick through the boiled meat, seasoned just right so that the natural taste of the crab shines through.
For the grilled course, the RM1,288++ menu is for the beef buffs, with triumphantly tender wagyu beef on a leafy salad with sesame sauce, while the RM888++ menu finishes with fish, the coveted kinki rockfish with its intensely, indulgently fatty brilliance.
Before we conclude with the customary miso soup and a graceful green tea dessert duo of cake and mochi, there's one final surprise: Karasumi, the Japanese equivalent of Mediterranean bottarga, made deeply savoury with Nagasaki salt, sun-dried for up to six weeks, yielding a tender, toasty-roasty yumminess in the capable hands of Sushi Daiku's chefs.
All in all, Sushi Daiku offers all the twists and turns that make an omakase thrilling - a night to remember at a worthy addition to KL's Japanese restaurant landscape.
Sushi Daiku Omakase
D-G-9, Plaza Arkadia, Desa ParkCity. Kuala Lumpur.
Open Tuesday-Sunday, 1130am-230pm, 530pm-1030pm. Tel: 010-272-7213