Sasagawa Japanese Restaurant @ Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel
I always mesmerized by story of travel experiences at Japan shared by friends because Japan is one of my ranking country to be visited. As a foodie, what intrigue me the most certainly the food part especially the Japanese local food. My friend once told me about her wonderful Kaiseki dining experience when she stayed at Ryokan at Hokkaido.
Kaiseki or Kaiseki Ryori (怀石料理) is traditional multi-course Japanese cuisine origins many centuries ago which served at the tea ceremony. The term also refers to the collection of skills and techniques that allow the preparation of such meals, and is analogous to Western haute cuisine. Read more about Kaiseki HERE.
I was honored an opportunity recently to indulge an authentic Kaiseki dinner at Sasagawa last weekend and it was indeed a very unique and memorable experience for me.
Taking over from Makishima at Sheraton Imperial Hotel, Sasagawa Japanese restaurant (笹川)opened its door at 3rd June this year. Helmed by Chef Hitoshi Sasagawa that trained by Iron Chef Tadamichi Ota, he utilizes his skill to perform the best culinary show and ensures the patrons have a taste of the most authentic flavors from his homeland.
Enthusiastically greeted by the staff in Japanese, I can feel the serenity and soothing ambiance once I step into Sasagawa. The Zen-inspired interior using lots of wood and stone material that reflected the Japanese theme. I really adore the wooden dividers at both sides of the walkway which exudes a charm of its own.
The restaurant is spacious and offers diners a choice of sushi bar seats, casual dining area or private rooms. The decor is very clean and minimalistic with Japanese influence thrown in here and there.
I was riveted to the array of Japanese wine collections displayed on the table placed at the lobby of the restaurant.
There were some Japanese produces such as winter melon, mushroom, pumpkin displayed at the sushi bar. I was told that highly prized seafood are being air-flown 4 times a week from Japan to ensure the guests get to enjoy the freshest and premium quality food.
Sasagawa’s menu is filled with a list of sumptuous authentic Japanese dishes as well as specially crafted lunch bento and Kaiseki dinner course meal.
Let’s check out the HANA 10 course menu (RM 350.00 nett) we had that evening. Advance reservation 2-3 days prior is recommended to guarantee the best quality ingredients is used for your meal.
Our first course was neatly presented in a wooden tray that consisted 3 small dishes.
Housemade egg tofu crowned with Salmon egg, luxurious edible gold flakes, radish and wasabi. The combination of silky smooth tofu, popping briny Salmon eggs, crunchy sliced radish and a little kick from the wasabi worked wonders in my mouth, very interesting indeed!
A dainty piece of fried Cutlass fish prepared with Nanbanzuke style sitting on pool of marinated shredded loofah and prettified with Chrysanthemum petals. Very light in flavor with mild acidic end note that enough to awake my appetite.
Mizuna boiled in bonito flavoured soy sauce, fried tofu puff and baby fishes. Another mild tasted dish but carried multitude of textures.
A visually stunning bowl of superior cuts of sashimi presented on an ice garden with beautiful leaves, flowers and vegetables.
Imported from Japan 4 times a week, the patrons can expect nothing but the freshest catch when dine in at Sasagawa.
The Chutoro (Tuna belly) was gorgeously superb with high fat content. It was marbled with light pink and white flesh, simply irresistible. The fish slices were melts-in-the-mouth with glorious creamy notes.
The Maguro (Tuna) and Ishidai (Parrot Fish) were also another delight, firm in bite but creamy with moreish flavours of the ocean.
Tenshi Ebi (Angel Shrimp) on the other hand was firmly gelatinous and affectionately fresh and sweet. A wondrous taste of sashimi with oceanic sweetness that had me sighing at pleasure with every bite!
Also appeared was torched Salmon which slightly dull if compare to the divine portion of sashimi. But the it was equally fresh and delicious nonetheless with pleasant charred flavor.
Kuroge Wagyu Yamato-Ni
Kuroge Wagyu (Japanese Black Wagyu) cubes slowed cooked for one hour in sugar and soy sauce broth. The highly prized Wagyu beef was melt-in- the-mouth tender with exquisite layer of fat and lean meat. Accompanied were boiled baby eggplant, pumpkin, okra, Japanese turnip, fried sliced lotus root and touched up with swirls of julliened radish. Flavors was mild and highlighting the fabulous beefy flavor and natural sweetness of the vegetables.
Another choice was simmered Awabi (Abalone) for those who can’t take beef.
The next course came in form of pot stew with ingredients such as King Crab, touched octopus, Seabass, Mizuna, Maitake mushroom, Kujo Nego green onion and lime.
All the ingredients was put into that pot of Japanese style onion soup and slightly simmered. The onion stock was light in flavor with hint of sweetness. I can taste the original taste of each ingredients and the King was really bowled me over for its extremely sweet and flaky flesh. I adored the preparation method, flavors were precisely calibrated and forefronts the natural taste of the ingredients, simply awesome and comforting.
This certainly not your ubiquitous chawanmushi out there! Hiding underneath the wobbly egg custard was homemade sesame tofu, a lovely marriage of flavors that blended together in perfect harmony.
Deep Fried Dish
Our had Tenshi no Ebi (Angel Shrimp), imported Japanese chili, lotus root, baby eggplant on the tempura platter. Lightly battered and fried to perfection without traces of oil and specially served with Andes salt. An unique way of savoring tempura by Japanese.
Shokuji Set (Rice, Miso Soup & Pickled)
Cooked and served directly with small kettle, the Japanese rice studded with sliced burdock, diced abalone, tofu puffs then topped with Salmon fillet, Salmon roes and Shiso leaves. The rice was plump and fully absorbed the flavors of the dashi stock, it tasted heavenly on its own, seriously. This really something that beguiles me into forgetting my disdain for my growling waistline. Oh My Godness!
Fukusa Miso Soup & Pickles
A concoction of red and white miso rendering a comfortable bowl of miso soup with an unique earthy endnotes. Served together was the pickled Arima-Ni seaweeds which simmered using green Japanese peppercorn.
Our splendid Kaiseki dinner ended with a serving of Yukimi Daifuku (雪見だいふく), Vanilla ice cream wrapped in a thin layer of mochi.
Maestro behind the lovely dishes we had that evening, Chef Sasagawa.
Verdict: Price could be slightly steep for the Kaiseki set but it is worth to splurge a little more for the premium quality food, top notch service and great ambiance. It was indeed a unforgettable experience for me to have such an authentic Japanese meal and I wish I have chance to fly to Japan to experience it again. Or someone generous enough to treat me another round here at Sasagawa?
Sasagawa Japanese Cuisine 笹川
Level 2, Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel
Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur.
Business Hour: Open Daily for Lunch ~ 12.00pm to 2.30pm
Dinner ~ 6.00pm to 10.30pm