Warning: Get ready for a really loooooong post.
I went crazy! I was really inspired!
Standing in front of Daikanyama on Changkat Bukit Bintang, one could have mistaken it for a regular Japanese restaurant serving regular Japanese food. The only thing that could have hinted the kind of food they served in here was the building’s design with its clever play on angles and the use of raw materials like concrete, wood and steel on its facade. But if you are curious enough to step foot beyond its tiny bamboo front lawn, you’ll be greeted by an inconspicuous menu, modeled after Tokyo’s subway route map, telling you that they serve modern Japanese cuisine. But, don’t go in if you’re looking for a regular bento set. You won’t find them here. Only step in if you’re ready to try the unexpected.
More bar than a real restaurant, this cozy space boasts a fully stocked bar with every alcoholic drink imaginable. Perfect for an evening of unwinding and chilling with a group of friends. The innovative restaurant is a firm believer of unconventional marketing, thus creating their Blogger+3 program, where a blogger who has previously blogged about them is entitled to invite 3 other blogger friends back for dinner. McCutie and Chocoholic J made up the rest of Cumi & Ciki’s party that evening.
We knew we were lucky right from the beginning when we got to savour master chef Edwin’s latest invention, Kampachi Tataki with Signature Goma Sauce (not priced yet), which wasn’t even on the menu yet. I’ve always loved a good aromatic goma (sesame) sauce but the idea of dipping fresh slivers of lightly seared and peppered yellowtail into it seems like a waste. We did it anyway and was pleasantly surprised by the delicate sauce and how it brightens and enriches the natural flavours of the fish. The piece de resistance for me has got to be the unique Salmon Truffle Oil Tataki Maki (RM30). Chunky cuts of salmon cooked aburi-styled (partly grilled) and laid on a bed of mash potato and drizzled with truffle oil and coated with some crispy bits. Salivating already? Edwin counts this dish as one of his signature inventions.
Amongst the copious amounts of food we had that evening, all specially prepared by the chef, were:
- Itako Salad (RM16) – Crunchy deep fried baby octopus with garden greens
- Tori Tamago (RM7 per stick) – Faultless chicken skewer wrapped in omelette
- Daikan Mini Pizza (RM14 per 4pcs) – A house specialty. Came with melted mozarella over shredded mushroom and meat topping and sprinkled with tobiko, and came with a delicious sweet base sauce. It just put a smile on McCutie’s face instantly.
- Maguro Tempura (RM24) – My favourite kind of fish (reminds me of my trip to Tokyo’s Tsukiji). The exterior looked more like agedeshi tofu, while the meat was flaky right under the batter and maintains a pinkish raw bit right in the center. You wouldn’t believe me even if I told you that the meat still melts in your mouth. So, I’ll stop trying now. However, do stay clear of this dish if you do not like subtle tasting dishes.
- Super Tempura Maki (RM28) – Can’t fault this prawn tempura, fresh salmon, and tobiko combination was nice but lackluster compared to all the other things we’ve tried so far
- Fried Mushrooms (Not on Menu) – The chef then sent out a plate of what he calls Tungku Chao Tungku (Mushrooms Fried Mushrooms) to cleanse our palate again. He’s a firm believer of having a balanced tasting meal.
- Squid Ink Spaghetti (RM22) – Japanese styled noodles dish cooked with squid, salmon roe and topped liberally with the fragrant bonito flakes. Kudos to the chef for completely turning this into an Asian flavoured dish.
Alas, after 2-hours of leisure eating, it was time for the girls to get slosh. Too bad I can’t join them due to my allergy but that didn’t stop me from snacking on the addictive Bacon Cheese Yakitori (RM14), Iwashi Mirin Yaki (RM14) which are grilled sardine jerkys and Tori Nonkotsu Karaage (RM14) a brilliant deep-fried chicken soft bone snack which our beloved gai-wong approves of. Then again, McCutie’s easily satisfied with anything dipped in Japanese mayonnaise!
It’s really easy to like a place like Daikanyama. From its contemporary neo-Japanese recipes to its trendy design right down to its friendly service, everything is working perfectly for them and I sincerely hope they stick to their winning formula. I’m definitely coming back here on my own accord. Special thanks to Edwin and Barri for having us over and to Cumi&Ciki for inviting us. T’was an absolutely fun evening.
Note: Pictures of Tokyo used in my attempts at Japanese Manga were taken from my trip back in 2008.
42, Changkat Bukit Bintang,
50200 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 603 2141 0323