It is very rare to find exceptionally authentic Japanese restaurants in KL, or in Malaysia even. Hanare Authentic Japanese Cuisine is one of the precious gems, a rough diamond to be exact, waiting to be unearthed and glitter its way through the fussy taste buds of Japanese food lovers. It was a night of surprises, for we were all treated to an Omakase menu, also known as Chef’s Recommendation or “Surprise me!”. Depending on the seasonal items available, the chef would prepare the items that showcase his finest ability in the culinary world.
Chopsticks and plate
Cup of green tea
The first dish that was served was Angle Fish Liver in Vinegar, a light and refreshing appetizer that served to clear up my palate for the subsequent dish. The slightly sour vinegar definitely opened up my appetite, while the extremely succulent prawn made me wish there was a bigger piece on the plate. And yes, those black eggs on top were caviar.
Ankimo Sumonono (Angle Fish Liver in Vinegar)
When the chef was asked to surprise us, he really did go the distance with Shirako Chawan Mushi. Disguised as a normal glass of Chawan Mushi, this dish had something beneath the unassuming surface for the unassuming diners.
Shirako Chawan Mushi ( Steamed Cod Fish Milt Egg custard )
Upon discovery, we found a piece of white and silky smooth item which got everyone interested and curious. “What is this?”, asked James who’s sitting next to me. I dug into mine and found a similar piece too. Someone then mentioned, “It’s the cod’s sperm sac!”. The what? I took a few seconds understanding the meaning behind and I almost thought I wouldn’t be able to muster my way through consuming this. But James took a bite and said it’s not that bad, so I trusted him and went ahead. Sure enough, it tasted creamy and smooth, quite similar to the texture of tofu but firmer and richer. Still, I would have preferred not knowing what it was before I ate it. *LOL*
Cod Sperm Sac or Shirako
The next plate looked more familiar, putting me at ease after the unique delicacy before. The Assorted Sashimi came with unconventional items such as the Crab leg, tuna belly and scallop. There was no question about the freshness of these items, for they’re flown in all the way from Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, 3 times a week! There’s no way you can get Japanese food fresher than that (short of flying over to Tokyo, that is).
Sashimi (King crab leg, tuna belly, scallop)
Kaki was a dish of fresh oysters served in a unique way – with cream sauce. I have always taken fresh oysters with lemon juice or Tabasco, for fear of the fishy smell, but the chef here managed to achieve the same effect (if not better) with Chinese cabbage and cream sauce.
Kaki (Chinese Cabbage with Fresh Oyster in cream sauce)
The next dish appeared to be grilled salmon but it seemed that the chef was really going all out to make it nothing like the ordinary Japanese fare. This was, instead, Grilled Spanish Mackerel, slightly seared on the surface with still a flaky texture. I found this to be a tad lack of moist, or perhaps some savoury gravy would help too.
Sawara Saikyo (Grilled Spanish Mackerel)
After having all the exquisite dishes of fresh fish and seafood, a bowl of rice was a welcome sight! The Hokkai Chirashi was topped with sea urchin, salmon roe, crab meat and salmon on a bed of rice. It was a nice experience mixing the rice around, and every bite of it was literally bursting with flavour, due to the small explosive balls of salmon roe. Don’t be fooled by the small piece of wasabi on top, for it was enough to give me a good kick, waking me up in all senses and renewing my appetite even though I was already almost full. This was one easily my favourite dish of the night.
Hokkai Chirashi (Fresh Sea Urchin,Salmon Roe, Crab Meat and Salmon)
Japanese do know how to enjoy a good piece of beef such as the Wagyu Beef, and hence we had it for our next course. The wagyu was tender and moist, at the same time full of flavour from the miso paste. The accompanying mushroom and potatoes also soaked up the savoury gravy, making them almost irresistible next to the wagyu.
Wagyu Beef Miso ( simmered wagyu beef with miso paste )
A nice piece of abalone is a delicacy that I will never fail to enjoy, so when I saw the next dish of Abalone with Sesame Fine Noodle, I almost screamed for joy. The piece of abalone was chewy and fresh without being fishy, while the cold noodles were a delight to slurp on. This was refreshing and light, with a tinge of saltiness from the seaweed. Definitely a good balance of flavours in one plate.
Mushi Awabi No Se Goma Soumen (Abalone with Sesame Fine Noodle)
To end the meal on a sweet note, we had a scoop of Shiratama Azuki Ice Cream. It’s ice-cream with red bean, how could anyone say no to this?
Shiratama Azuki Ice Cream (Rice Flour Dumpling,Red Bean With Ice Cream)
This amazing Omakase menu was prepared by the talented Chef Sudo-san who has had more than 30 years of experience in preparing authentic Japanese cuisine and has worked in many well known hotels and restaurants in Malaysia, Singapore, Hawaii and Bali, Indonesia.
Executive Chef Sudo San
Dining environment of Hanare
The Omakase experience costs from RM250++ and above per person, depending on the seasonal items available.
with the gorgeous Alison
Hanare is definitely the place to go to for authentic Japanese cuisine with fresh seafood all the way from the east. It simply cannot get any fresher than this. For the best experience, do tell the Chef, “It’s up to you” and get ready to be surprised. 😉 Thank you Alison for the kind invitation, and Alex for hosting us!
Hanare Authentic Japanese Cuisine at The Intermark
Other reviews: Marcky
Hanare Japanese Restaurant
Ground Floor, The Intermark,
182, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur,
Tel: 03-2164-2133/ 2164-2633
GPS Coordinates: 3.161795,101.719674