Yugo, Desa Sri Hartamas
August 5, 2020
With a restaurant named Yugo (Japanese for 'fusion'), it's no surprise to see risotto, guacamole and bird's eye chillies on the menu alongside otoro, kanpachi and uni. And we shouldn't be shocked that the results are both appetising and affordable - executive chef Nizam has spent nearly two decades at some of KL's most inventive modern Japanese restaurants, from Ozeki Tokyo to Torii, while Yugo's founder Janis has focused on offering reasonably priced fare in a chic, comfortable setting.
Every creation shimmers with a sense of distinctiveness. Start with duck egg chawanmushi, boasting a bolder depth of flavour than regular steamed egg custard, a creamy indulgence with the pop of ikura, the soy umami of teriyaki sauce and the citrusy herbaceousness of ohba, the Japanese basil (RM15).
For raw salmon to perk up the palate, have it lusciously cubed in a refreshing tartare-style mound layered with lots of avocado, ikura, scallions and a quail yolk, served with crunchy salmon skin instead of toasted bread, slicked with pesto sauce (RM42), or stuffed in sushi rolls with everything from tobiko flying fish roe to sakura denbu codfish flakes (RM15).
A trio of bovine temptations beckons: Beef gyoza is a fun change from the typical chicken or pork variations, its robust flavours mellowed out by zesty yuzu ponzu sauce, with the plumply packed dumplings beautifully plated with edible flowers (RM28); wagyu sliders come with thick, house-minced patties, moist and juicy with caramelised onions and spinach (RM30); while the piece de resistance is sirloin steak, sous-vide smooth, terrifically tender, with a rich, full-bodied taste that evokes aged meat, a carnivorous smash hit even without the two condiments of tongue-tingling cili padi miso and aromatic truffle salt (RM48).
Foie gras with unagi, in a portion for two people, for RM35? Count us in - the triple threat of seared duck liver, eel and tamago makes for a predictably decadent mouthful, with the lovely foie leaving the most pronounced impression.
We're less than a quarter through Yugo's menu, but other interesting highlights include tempura filled with a playful mix of zucchini flowers, truffle paste and cheese (RM35), and crisp-skinned halibut, succulently flaky, with garlic fried rice and Southeast Asian accompaniments of sauteed fiddlehead ferns and punchy green curry, all coming together addictively (RM45).
Yugo's own-baked banana chocolate cake with sultry whisky-and-raisin ice cream makes for an enjoyable ending (RM25).
Sake starts by the carafe at RM38 and Chilean wine by RM18 glasses. Service sparkles with warmth and enthusiasm.
12, Jalan 27/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur.
Currently open Tuesday-Sunday, 5pm-11pm; will launch lunch service later this month. Tel: 019-322-6063
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