Fresh and quality ingredients are key in producing a delicious meal. Sometimes, there isn’t even a need for elaborate seasonings because the main ingredients are so fresh that their natural flavours just speak for themselves. This rings especially true when it comes to seafood and Japanese sushi — the fresher the ingredients are, the less seasoning you need. The best way to experience this is by making your way to omakase sushi restaurants.
Being outside of Japan, naturally it would be harder to find ingredients fresh from the Japanese seas but thankfully, most omakase sushi restaurants in KL see their batch of fresh ingredients coming in from the land of the rising sun every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday — something to note if you want top notch ingredients.
Then, there’s also the problem of looking for good omakase sushi restaurants in KL. Omakase dining comes at a pretty price, and you would want your money’s worth of fresh, seasonal sushi. For that, we engaged the help of Grand Millennium Hotel Kuala Lumpur‘s Hanaya Japanese Dining sushi chef, Kohjiro Kimura. One of the great Japanese sushi chefs that you will find in Kuala Lumpur, we picked his brains on his recommended omakase sushi restaurants and why.
Omakase dining is an acquired skill that not only combines the knife skills of a sushi chef, but also his powers of observation. Omakase, which means, “I’ll leave it up to you” basically entrusts the chef with the decision to select the courses throughout the meal. It thus, a skill that the sushi chef needs to intuitively know what his customer would enjoy. As Kimura says, “It’s a sense to notice what they (the customer) really wants throughout the dining experience. You know it just by looking at them.”
“Of course, you can see if the customer is satisfied or not from their facial expression.”
Hungry for some omakase sushi already? Read on for some of chef Kimura’s selection as well as our recommendations.
“When I’m here, I can experience a traditional Japanese style sushi restaurant. The atmosphere here is almost exactly like how it is in Japan. The main chef is here and the assistants are always supporting the sushi chef,” says Kimura.
Sushi Hinata, A-0-1 , Ground Floor St.Mary Residence, No.1, Jalan Tengah, Kuala Lumpur, +603-2022 1349.
“When I decide to go to a particular sushi restaurant, it depends on whether the main chef of the restaurant is there or not. For example, at Taka by Sushi Saito, I would definitely go if Saito-San from Japan is there to make the sushi.
I don’t mean to say the other chefs are not good enough, but because I’m a sushi chef, I want to go just to see how Saito-San makes his sushi,” says Kimura.
Taka by Sushi Saito, The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur, No 6 Jalan Stesen Sentral 2, Kuala Lumpur Sentral, Kuala Lumpur, +6012 330 3600.
How could we miss out sushi by chef Kimura himself? Located in Grand Millennium Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Hanaya Japanese Dining is a cosy yet elegant space that serves decadent omakase sushi. The sushi bar is the best view in the house to see Kimura’s deft knife skills in action, as well as the intricacy he takes to serve up a good plate of nigiri.
Hanaya Japanese Dining, Grand Millennium Hotel Kuala Lumpur, 160, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, +603 2117 4155.
Sushiya is also another recommended place by chef Kimura. Located in Plaza Mont Kiara, this restaurant is slightly more casual than the rest on this list, but doesn’t scrimp on the quality. Sushiya is frequented by many Japanese expats in KL as well, which is another testament to how similar it is to Japan.
Sushiya, A-G-03, Block A, Plaza Mont’ Kiara, Jalan Kiara 2, Mont’ Kiara, Kuala Lumpur, +603-6211 3299.
Another great place for fine omakase sushi dining is Oribe Sushi located in the heart of the KL Golden Triangle. It is currently helmed by chef Ori, previously from Sushi Hinata. Enjoy fresh seasonal seafood within Oribe Sushi with its quiet surroundings and comfortably spaced out seating. Enjoying a good meal doesn’t just require good food — a quiet and comfortable setting is also key.
Oribe Sushi, Ground Floor, Block C-1, Vipod Residences, No. 6, Jalan Kia Peng, Kuala Lumpur, +603-2181-4099.