The skyscapers of Kuala Lumpur are always confusing for me. Actually, I am quite familiar with the main roads in the city but which turning where is the fumbling point and one wrong turn, you go all over again. Well, you can't blame me because hardly I frequent the city. Anyway, a couple of hiccups circling the same area and finally, just in the niche of time, I arrived at Sheraton Imperial and up to level 2 before being genuinely greeted and ushered into Sasagawa by the well dressed mostly Japanese male staff. Just with another 10 minutes in hand, I walked around to see the ambiance - authentic Japanese style, wooden furnishing, bonsai trees, water and the alcoholic drinks neatly arranged just across the bar you won't miss seeing as you walk in.
Sasagawa helmed by Chef Sasagawa (trained under the Iron Chef, Tadamichi Ota), features the complete up notch Japanese dining experience, targeting the high end consumers but pretty much anyone can be their customers in this atmosphere of the good old ancient city of local Kyoto. The dishes obviously are prepared with the best ingredients all the way from Japan and now, I’ll tell you more about this 10 course dinner (RM350.00).
Dinner started with the appetizers – fruit tomato, fish cutlet and egg tofu. The tomato, fresh and chilled over a bed of ice. Nice of course it was but for me, I seldom appreciate cold burst to start my meal. In fact, hardly I indulge in chilled food except for desserts. However, the egg tofu topped with salmon egg, golden powder, radish and wasabi and the Nanbanduke fish cutlet with Kikka flower and loofah vinegar marinate were satisfying. Egg tofu for the smooth silkiness and the fish, crumbly softness. Flavours a little subtle and you only feel after eating.
The Omakase Sashimi Set of Chef Sasagawa's daily recommendation was the next dish. The freshly air-flown selection consisted of Maguro (Tuna), Chutoro (Tuna Belly), Shimaaji (Striped Jack) and Salmon Aburi (Braised Salmon. Raw and precisely sliced, the pieces you just gently nibble and you know they are fresh, clean and lean.
Thereafter came the Kuroge Wagyu Steak with Japanese seasonal vegetables. Sincerely I declined this beef dish. Even though there are Indians who don’t mind eating, beef is still a taboo in my eating world. Never mind I thought one dish less but surprisingly, the staff served me the abalone with the same seasonal vegetables. Elevated with simple seasoning, the abalone was an easy bite. Still, despite having eaten abalone a number of times, I have to say sorry because I've never taken a liking.
Now came the Pot stew or Nimono. The broth/soup extracted from vegetables, meat or seafood after low simmering and presumably with soy sauce and sweet sake. The broth on this day was the extract of onion, pike conger, seabass and octopus. The broth, light brown in colour with onion and into it, I tipped the Kujo green onion, Mizuna, Chinese cabbage, Maitake mushroom and a slice of lime. Pot stew – the winner so far. Healthy, tasty, the items finished off and the silver bowl gently tilted to scoop every bit of the broth.
Chawan mushi I have tasted many a times was the next arrival. This one, unique and one of its kind – egg custard steamed with Goma (sesame) tofu and topped with a single daintily sliced winter melon, a single wolfberry and generously with Goma cream. The interplay of the sesame flavours and the crumble by itself texture, chawan mushi I will consider as the signature of Sasagawa.
Just as I sat back to breathe some air in my tummy, the Cha Soba Sushi Tempura was served. Tad bit of sauce, glazed Daikon radish and topped with white onion and wasabi, I admired the rolls and for the sake of eating, gulped down. The taste just subtle and didn’t really make an impact on my taste buds.
One more dish before the dessert - Shokuji (rice set), obviously rice, cooked with salmon, burdock and salmon egg, the miso soup and the seaweed pickle with green pepper. Wasn't my intention to waste but I just couldn't eat any more. Also, a little space I reserved in my stomach for the dessert I sort of been eyeing. So, the rice set willingly I asked the other foodies to finish up.
And the desserts - mochi ice-cream, macha ice-cream, black sesame ice cream, lemon lime sorbet. Between these, the mochi, creamy vanilla ice-cream neatly tucked with the sticky glutinous rice sheet, superbly lovely for the melting moment.
Sasagawa Authentic Japanese Restaurant
Address: Level 2, Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel,
Jalan Sultan Ismail,
50250 Kuala Lumpur
Operation hours: Opens daily
Lunch : 12 - 2.30pm
Dinner: 6pm - 10pm