Japanese food is one of the most popular cuisines around the world. Whether it be fine dining omakase establishments or something a little more casual, one can always choose to have Japanese whenever and wherever. Malaysia is one such destination for exceptional Japanese fare with plenty of top restaurants coming into our shores and making a name for themselves. One of it is Tatsu at the InterContinental Kuala Lumpur.
It derives its name from the word “tatsu-jin”, which translates to master or expert. As soon as you walk through the doors of Tatsu, you are greeted by an open and airy 147-seater restaurant that blends contemporary, minimalist designs with a hint of traditional Japanese aesthetics. The restaurant has five different seating areas. This splits into private dining rooms, a cosy lounge dining area, the public dining area, a sushi bar, and a teppanyaki corner. Tatsu also carries a wide variety of shochu and sake alongside an extensive wine list as well.
Tatsu is helmed by head chef Tommy Kuan, known for his modern Japanese food. He combines freshly imported ingredients with his creative interpretation of authentic Japanese cuisine. While Tatsu isn’t exactly a Japanese fusion restaurant, chef Tommy is an expert in bringing the most out of its ingredients with a creative touch while still maintaining its integrity.
We start the meal with a fresh sashimi platter, consisting of four different types of fish. These fresh seafood are flown in twice a week directly from Japan. When in the hands of a chef like Kuan, one can only expect the best. The sashimi is served with hand-grated fresh wasabi. We were served salmon, tuna, red snapper, and squid, all of which comes with a unique flavour profile. Each bite was light and delectable. When paired with the wasabi, it added a slight kick at the back of your throat without burning your nostrils in the process.
The maki roll was next, which is a soft-shell crab and avocado roll topped with peanut sauce. This is one of chef Tommy’s signature dishes, pairing modern and traditional in a single bite. The creamy avocado provides some much-need texture to the dish while the crisp soft-shell crab gives an additional crunch. The peanut sauce features grilled almonds for strong and bold flavours, making it a great complement to the maki roll.
Chawanmushi is considered to be one of the most traditional Japanese dishes. In chef Tommy’s eyes, it just means more room for creativity. He adds a healthy serving of uni, also known as sea urchin. To top it off, he puts a layer of egg white on top for a smoother texture. Soft, supple, and decadent to the last spoonful, the chawanmushi packs plenty of punch in every bite. The uni has a distinct and explosive umami flavour while still maintaining its buttery consistency.
Next on the list is the grilled black cod flown in from Alaska. It is topped with foie gras and yuzu sauce, another modern adaptation to a popular classic Japanese dish. The fish, grilled to perfection, features a velvet-like texture while remaining tender to the touch. The foie gras simply enhances the overall taste of the dish while bursting with richness in every bite.
Lastly, we finish the meal with the charcoal-grilled wagyu beef. The sumiyaki A5 wagyu beef hails from Miyagi, known for its rich and fine-grain glossy marbling. It’s thinly sliced and served with Himalayan sea salt for a more enhanced and savoury melt-in-your-mouth situation. Overall, the wagyu beef comes with intense flavour and the marbling aids with its soft and buttery texture to end a near-perfect meal.
The InterContinental Kuala Lumpur may not serve a truly authentic Japanese dining experience but it holds itself up well with its modern adaptations. If you’re looking for a more contemporary look and feel towards Japanese cuisine, Tatsu is one such place you should visit.