Have you ever had unagi (Japanese eel, for your unadon) so fresh that it peels right off the skin effortlessly? How about in Malaysia? Well, you’re in for a treat!
For the uninitiated, eel has been a part of Japanese cuisine for nearly 5,000 years. The bone of eel was found in many historical remains that existed in 5,000 years ago. And the Kabayaki way of cooking – barbecued with soy sauces – was actually established in Edo era (the old name of Tokyo in Shogun period) around 200 years ago.
Now, enter Makoto Japanese Cuisine, the only restaurant in Malaysia that imports live eel all the way from Japan.
Makoto Japanese Cuisine also boasts the first unagi chef in Malaysia and the only chef in their restaurant that handles unagi. Prior to packing up and moving to Malaysia, the chef had years of experience in working with a company that supplies unagi to restaurants. So believe us when we say that he’s a pro, handling live unagi effortlessly!
Our elaborate Japanese dinner kick off with a small serving of Mozuku su (RM10), an appetiser made of Mozuku seaweed and vinegar.
Cold and refreshing, the Mozuku su served as a great start to a heavy meal as it cleanses your palate and prepares you for what’s to come.
Next was the Prawn Tempura Moriawase (RM27), which was, as far as tempura goes, is as good as tempura can get. Interestingly though, it was the first time that we’ve ever tried shiso leaf tempura. The shiso is a variety of the Perilla species, belonging to the mint family, and traditionally considered as a savoury herb.
Think of it as a crispy herb!
And what Japanese meal would be complete without a platter of thickly cut sashimi? Makoto Japanese Cuisine imports their seafood every Tuesday and Friday from Tsukiji Fish Market, the sprawling wholesale fish market where the famed tuna auction happens in Tokyo, Japan.
For RM88, we got 3 types and 3 pieces per type. It’s so fresh and so buttery, it melts in your mouth.
And then, we were served a plate of Hone Senbei, otherwise known as eel bone cracker (RM8). It’s essentially fried eel bone, because nothing goes to waste in the preparation of Japanese food.
The Japanese live by Mottainai, which is a literal Japanese term used to convey a sense of regret concerning waste. The expression “Mottainai!” can be uttered alone as an exclamation when something useful, such as food or time, is wasted, meaning roughly “What a waste!” or “Don’t waste.”
The concept can be applied across their daily lives, including the preparation of food, and the Japanese try not to waste any food by throwing away potentially usable/cookable parts.
It’s safe to say that the Hone Senbei was crunchy and savoury, and the perfect “beer food”. We definitely loved it!
We also loved the flavourful Shimaaji Kama Arajiru (RM26) aka striped jack fish head soup.
And now, for the star of the show, Makoto Japanese Cuisine’s specialty, the unaju dish!
Because the eel is flown in live and lives in a tank in the restaurant, it takes about 30 minutes for your unadon or unaju to get to you so ordering appetisers to tide you over while you hungrily wait is highly recommended. We had the opportunity to watch Makoto Japanese Cuisine’s unagi chef masterfully prepare the unagi but we’ll save you the gory details.
The unagi is prepared Nagoya style, which means that it’s steamed before it’s grilled. For RM100, you’ll get a set which includes a generous, delectable serving of unagi kabayaki with rice, a bowl of clear soup, and pickles. As per mentioned, the unagi is so fresh that it peels right off the skin effortlessly. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more mouthwatering unaju set elsewhere in Malaysia.
The good people at Makoto Japanese Cuisine then treated us to a sweet close, a dessert made out of Japanese sweet potato with a side of vanilla ice-cream (RM10).
We love that it was a little localised – drizzled with gula melaka. Thus, ending our hearty Japanese meal on a perfect note! Thank you Makoto Japanese Cuisine for hosting us :)
Psst! The restaurant’s special menu is available daily and it includes seasonal items from Japan. And there’s an Executive Bento Set Lunch available on weekdays, from 12pm – 2:30pm. Don’t say we didn’t share.
Makoto Japanese Cuisine is located at 54, Jalan 27/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
*On 4th November 2017, Makoto Japanese Cuisine will feature a special 1-night Unagi Course Menu led by Chef Otani Shinichiro, the 8th generation owner chef of Jubako Restaurant and Chef Hayashi Kazuhiko. The priceis RM388++ excluding beverages. Call 03 – 62111409 for reservations.
For more information, hit up Makoto Japanese Cuisine’s Facebook page.