Really, I didn't expect to step into Nanbantei, especially not after dismissing Lyrical Lemongrass who was expressing her utmost joy upon discovering one of the best yakitori restaurants in Kuala Lumpur. I think my exact words were yerrr, what's so great about Japanese satay ar?? Perhaps it was due to my bad experiences with substandard yakitori that I started developing some sort of aversion towards this style of Japanese cooking. Who would've thought that after years of abstaining from yakitori, XLB excitedly suggested a visit to Nanbantei. I was of course, at my most skeptical at first. The turning point must have been the countless raving reviews (Tatler's and my trusted foodie friends' included) I read online and the fact that we've been facing a good food drought for the longest time. Considering my previous stand on yakitori, I'd expected myself to be condemned when I agreed to go. None of that, thankfully. And by the way, reservation is a MUST here, unless you have unlimited hours to burn before, say, catching a midnight show at Cineleisure.
To sum up, I was basically eating the grills AND my own words at the same time. Yes, the food here was quite something. The dishes being just slightly burnt, brought about a nice smoky flavour. I should also mention the excellent marinates and sauces catered to each dish. Take the grilled beef, for example. I just love the well-portioned fat/meat layers and when combined with a sauce that I thought consisted mostly of sweet miso, was gorgeous. The liver was nicely executed. A sweeter, almost teriyaki-like sauce was used to complement its bitter taste. It was optimally cooked too, hence the soft texture. And my first taste of grilled ginkgo with a sprinkling of salt was pretty fun.
We ordered both the Set A (12 sticks with rice, soup, pickles and dessert) and B (sashimi, 8 sticks with rice, soup, pickles and dessert). Speaking of the sashimi, freshness of the ubiquitous trio of hamachi, sake and maguro was commendable. Service was fast and efficient. I guess my only grouse was on the yasai stick, which gave the impression that it was free of charge. In fact, it cost us S$2 for a small cut of cabbage, carrot and zucchini each. Next time, I'll sure refuse this and instead, buy myself another stick of the beef skewer.
Lesson learnt - not all yakitoris are bad. Think Nanbantei.
I'm almost a convert.
14, Scotts Road
#05-132 Far East Plaza
Tel: (+65) 6733 5666