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Kampai
5 & 7 Jalan Lim Bo seng,
30300 Ipoh, Perak
Tel. 605 2423688

Food type: Japanese

Food rating: 1/10

Nearest tube: –

Website: –

(Editor’s note: Please note that the scoring of food in Malaysia is based on a linear scale)

I’m way behind again with my blog updates having just recovered from the dreaded food poisoning. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last. At least the level of hygiene in Ipoh is relatively high compared to other states like Penang (diarrhoea city) and Melaka. If there is one thing I have learnt it is that you can never trust the food in Malaysia – so if you plan to travel to Malaysia for a holiday, do bring a good supply of Imodium. I will have quite a busy next few days updating my blog as I am pretty backed up.

My family and I visited Kampai last weekend. Kampai is the first Japanese restaurant in Ipoh, and was established back in the early 90s when Japanese food was still relatively unpopular. Nowadays, with Japanese restaurants sprouting around each and every corner, it is a testament to the restaurant that they are still doing pretty well and have undergone some refurbishment. Despite the new makeover, the menu remains pretty much the same with a few new additions.

Seaweed Salad

We started off dinner with a simple ‘Seaweed Salad’ which was pleasant enough. The salad itself contained only a minuscule amount of seaweed, with the rest made up of crab sticks, tobiko (flying fish roe), jelly fish and sesame seed, dressed with some mayonnaise. Overlooking the travesty that is crab sticks the salad was actually passable. (2/10)

Sashimi Moriawase

Uni

Next up was Sashimi Moriawase which contained Sake (Salmon), Maguro (Tuna), Tako (Octopus), Ibodai (Butterfish), Tsubugai (Whelk) and Hikari-mono (Mackerel). Do not be fooled with by the pictures – it is amazing what a little tweaking with ACDSee can do. The fish were not in the best shape possible with the butterfish in particular completely off and had to be sent back. The side order of Uni (sea urchin) did not fare any better and was also slightly off. (0/10)

Unagi Maki

One of the new items on the menu was the Unagi Maki which featured and interesting combination of Unagi with chopped tuna. While the unagi was soft and moist, it was not of the highest quality and was completely overpowered by the use of chili in the tuna, which itself was completely lost. The rice used in making the sushi was not the best either, being slightly damp and lacking in much needed texture. (1/10)

Rock Oysters

I am a pretty big fan of raw oysters so I was pleased that rock oysters were on the menu. The oysters are sourced from Korea and were in pretty good condition (although you can’t really compare them to those sold in England). They were served with some onions, funky Japanese sauce, lemon and Tabasco sauce. I think when it comes to oysters a squeeze of lemon and a dash of Tabasco is all you need to bring out all its natural flavours, although I did try that funky Japanese sauce (no, simply no). (4/10)

Amaebi

Some pretty decent Amaebi was also available. This was served in two ways. In the first instance, the body is eaten as a sashimi and then the head is subsequently deep fried and eaten. As the sashimi goes, the prawn was passable although not at its absolute freshest with some mushiness. The deep fried prawn head was an interesting experience – kinda like eating prawn crackers I guess. (3/10)

Teppanyaki Kobe Beef

The next humdinger was Teppanyaki Kobe Beef served with a garlic sauce. Unlike most restaurants in Ipoh (and KL as well) this is the real deal and not Australian Wagyu beef. At RM 150 (£25) a pop, this is certainly not cheap. The beef was of very high quality although it was let down by the use of the garlic sauce. Now shoot me, but I am a purist. I am a firm believer that if you have top quality ingredients you don’t (and should not) do much to get the best out of your produce. The use of the slightly sweet and overly garlicky sauce here is criminal as it just overpowers all the lovely flavours of the beef. (2/10)

I finished off my meal with some Cha Soba and Mixed Tempura. The cha soba was uninteresting – the quality of the noodles is not on par with those used at Kizuna. (2/10) Well at least I managed to swallow a whole lump of wasabi by accident… followed by the ensuing choking and spluttering. The mixed tempura was very disappointing with the batter being too thick (in essence the batter should only provide a thin coat) resulting in at least one prawn tempura consisting of uncooked batter. At least the vegetable tempura were passable. (1/10)

Dinner was rather disappointing to say the least. There is absolutely no excuse for serving sashimi which is completely off (no guesses to where I got my food poisoning from). At around RM400 (£70) for 3, my meal here was almost as expensive as that at Kizuna, but with half the quality and satisfaction.