Jalan Medan Ipoh 8,
Ipoh Garden East,
Food type: Japanese
Food rating: 5/10
Nearest tube: –
(Editor’s note: Please note that the scoring of food in Malaysia is based on a linear scale)
I hate thunderstorms… they have a bad habit of knocking out electricity supplies. In my case, that occurred while I was in the middle of updating my blog. There was quite a bit of damage done too as my power supply was down for a good bit of a day and a half. Yup, I didn’t fare well in the wilting heat. 😦
My family and I visited Kizuna last Friday which coincidentally the day of the Olympics opening ceremony and those 8.08pm mumbo jumbo. As many people opted to stay home and watch the live telecast of the opening ceremony (which may I add was severely butchered by the good folks back here in the Malaysian TV station), the restaurant wasn’t as packed as it normally was – it is pretty difficult to get a table here on a weekend unless you come before 7 or have made reservations beforehand.
Sashimi: Amaebi, Akagai, Ōtoro, Kanpachi & Sanma
Kizuna’s strengths lies in their sashimi. The restaurant brings in fresh sashimi twice a weekand unlike many of the Japanese restaurants sprouting in Malaysia, they offer more exotic items beyond the usual Sake (salmon) and Maguro (Tuna). For example during this vist our Sashimi Moriawase consisted of Amaebi (Raw Pink Shrimp), Akagai (Ark Shell), Ōtoro (Fattiest Portion of Bluefin Tuna), Kanpachi (Greater Amberjack) & Sanma (Pacific Saury) and a seperate order of Uni (Sea Urchin) and Awabi (Abalone/Oomer). Of course we also had the mandatory portion of Sake and Sake Belly sashimi at my dad’s behest. I personally do not see the point in Salmon sashimi as it is often a triumph of texture over taste. The sashimi were in unsurprisingly fresh and in very good condition with generous cuts provided.
Sashimi: Awabi & Uni
Special mention for the Abalone and Sea Urchin. I’m personally not a big fan of Abalone. The abalone served here was braised until melting tender in a star anise and cinnamon infused stock before it was chilled and sliced. It was like eating pork fat without all the cholesterol associated with it. This is much better than any rendition I have had in Chinese restaurants. The sea urchin served was also in excellent condition. Often times, Japanese restaurants in Malaysia (and yes this includes the high end ones in KL) serve less than stellar sea urchins which take on a snotty texture. This unfortunately results in diners wondering what the big fuss is all about. One small nitpick is that the Ōtoro was a touch colder than perhaps ideal. Overall though the various sashimi’s were of very high quality and the freshness was never in doubt. (8/10)
Some sushi followed in the form of a Cucumber Maki and a Dragon Roll. The cucumber maki is pretty unique in that it eschews the use of nori (seaweed) and rice in favour of a paper thin strip of cucumber which is filled with Tsukemono (various pickles), Ebi (prawn) Tempura and topped with Mayonnaise and Tobiko (flying fish roe). The cucumber maki was very good (6/10). The Dragon roll is more along the lines of a traditional maki although various fish are used for a colourful effect. One of the major pitfalls of a poor sushi is rice which is incorrectly prepared resulting in it being either too dry (and subsequently rock hard) or too damp (and thus lacking in texture). Also, many so called Japanese restaurants cheekily use the cheaper Basmati or Jasmine rice. The rice used in the sushi was of good quality and properly prepared. The Dragon roll was overall well prepared and most importantly delivered in terms of taste although perhaps lacking in imagination and excitement. (5/10)
Garlic Chahan, Cha Soba, Unagi Kabayaki
To follow, we had a variety of cooked food including Garlic Chahan (Garlic fried rice), Unagi Kabayaki (Grilled freshwater eel), Cha Soba (Green tea soba noodles, served cold), Kaki Iri Omelette No Teppanyaki (cooked oysters wrapped up in an omelette), Saba Shio (Grilled Mackerel with Salt) and Gyu Maki Teppanyaki (Grilled beef fillet wrapped around vegetables). The Garlic fried rice was pleasant although the garlic was toasted a fraction too long resulting in a slight bitter aftertaste. (2/10) Better was the Unagi Kabayaki which was fresh, succulent and correctly seasoned (4/10). The Cold Cha Soba was passable although lacking slightly in texture (2/10). The same could not be said about the oysters which were severely over-seasoned and featured rubbery eggs (0/10). The beef fillet was wrapped around enokitake (golden needle mushrooms) and spring onions. Like the oysters, the beef was again over-seasoned although the rest of the components were correctly cooked. (1/10) All these were accompanied with some pretty ordinary Miso soup. (1/10)
We finished off dinner with some ‘no-fuss’ Green Tea Ice Cream which was very good indeed – served at the right temperature with good green tea flavour. (4/10)
Dinner came to about RM610 (about £100) for 5 of us, inclusive of service, tax and green tea. Additionally, there was no corkage charge for our bottle of wine (although this may be down to the fact that my family, and in particular my mom, are regular patrons here). To sum it all up, my meal at Kizuna was indeed an enigma – on one hand was the sashimi and sushi, carefully selected and masterfully prepared. The cooked food left much to be desired – it was unimpressive at best and at times downright disappointing – and best avoided.