The way I see it, Japanese cuisine has now become as common and acceptable as yong tau foo. Except for being more expensive, it's easy to understand the logic behind the acceptance. There's something for everyone - grilled, raw, fried.....they've covered it all. Be it authentic or not, there is at least one Japanese restaurant in almost every shopping mall but sadly, none serving Chettinad banana leaf rice.
Having said that, I do like Japanese food, especially when it reminds me of the good times in Japan. Sometimes, it's not about the creativity but more importantly, how similar the taste is to the real thing. I'm still in search of Japanese curry with a dense taste of chocolate (yes, it's quite common there) that I tried at the Matsuyama train station.
Last Christmas, I found a good reason to lunch at Kirishima, after noticing it at a birthday lunch from the neighbouring Delicious. A glance at the huge menu revealed rather reasonable prices (think Yuzu) and interestingly, there was almost nothing noticeably fusion.
Inaniwa udon is sort of like my Harajuku kway teow (whatever that means...I just felt compelled to include the line) and when permissible, a must-order. What's nice about Kirishima's take was the inclusion of the optional yuzu peels to the cold soy sauce dip - an exemplary attempt. It certainly added a refreshing taste but obviously, it should be done before applying the wasabi, which will instantly kill whatever good taste there is in the dip.
There must be a reason why unagi don is such a hit in Japan and some rice-loving countries. I think it's the combination of the richness of unagi, the sweet soy sauce and glutinous texture of Japanese rice. In general, eels are cooked kabayaki style, with constant glazing of the sticky, sweet soy sauce. So, I thought it would be fun to try the steamed version instead. Hence, the choice of the Unagi Seiro Mushi. When not grilled, it lacked the charred flavour but was compensated with the unmasking of the more natural, sweet taste of unagi. What could have been better was the offering of a larger slab of the eel.
This restaurant is located in the city centre yet somehow feels like a secret hideout that has yet to be discovered. That day, while the town was quietly celebrating Christmas, Kirishima was filled with loud laughters, mostly coming from a table of friends celebrating Christmas with good food and company. It was a joyful brunch indeed.
Kirishima Japanese Restaurant
Lot 1.2. 1st Floor
211 Jalan Tun Razak
50400 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: (+603) 2162 8127