Sou Omakase Dining @ The Gardens Mall
Phileas Fogg took 80 days to travel around the world in 1873 (link).
Though its a lovely fiction at the time, it reflects the difficulty in moving from a country to another. Nowadays, the world is shrinking and we could be having breakfast at Hong Kong, lunch at Taiwan and dinner at Japan on the same day.
As dreamy as it maybe above, you don’t really want to deal with the hassle of queuing at Immigration, cramped space in airplane and many others. These days, you could have all the merits of traveling overseas right at our home ground. You could obtain overseas products and of course eat specific delicacies unique to that country.
My thought in this has been further reinforced when Sou Omakase Dining invited me to taste mouth-watering delicacies specially crafted by using air-flown produces at a distance of 5,270 kilometers from Nagano Prefecture, Japan to The Gardens Mall, Kuala Lumpur.
Sou Omakase Dining located near the entrance of the Gardens Hotel is a Japanese restaurant that specialize in Omakase menu. OMAKASE is a Japanese phrase that means “I’ll leave it to you” and it’s refer to a type of meal consisting of dishes selected by the chef.
Pushed open the wooden door and I was greeted by a tastefully decorated space dressed in mellow lighting. Sturdy wooden tables paired with cushioned chairs placed within a comfortable distance with each other which provide diners an exclusive dining experience. There are Japanese inspired paper standing lamps, potted plants, bamboo partition and huge curvy glass window completed the interior.
The long display counter is filled with beautiful sake bottles as well as a collection of Mizuhiki 水引, a type of decorative Japanese cord made from twisted paper. (will share about this more at the end of the post)
Right behind are several counter seats for those who wants to catch a glimpse of the chefs at work.
There are a few private rooms at Sou Omakase Dining with persuasively appealing decor. I adore the clever use of wood, stone, bamboo and mosaic elements in the restaurant which cozy up the overall feel.
Appetizer – Amazake Jelly
The top layer was chia seeds and yuzu and sake Komekoji 米麹 (Koji made from rice grain) at the bottom. It had an interesting flavor which is slightly sweet with subtle hint of citrus-y. Pickle mini plums (Umezuke) were served to kick started our Omakase lunch.
New Year’s Osechi Platter
Osechi-ryōri (御節料理 or お節料理) are traditional Japanese New Year foods and served with special boxes called jūbako (重箱). It is prepared during “oomisoka”, a day before the New Year’s Day. It is eaten during “Sanganichi”, which starts from the New Year’s day until 3rd of January, at home together with family members. It is believed that using fire is not appropriate during this time when the God of New Year is present. That is why meals to be eaten during Sanganichi is prepared beforehand.
Every item in the Osechi has a special meaning and our aesthetically arranged platter consisted of Black beans (Kuromame) which meant to be a symbol of health, Kazunoko (Herring roes) symbolizing that the next year will bring many children, Kōhaku Kamaboko (fish cake in red and white) are generally considered to be good luck, Datemaki (omelette mixed with mashed shrimp or fish paste) is associated with learning and scholarship, Shrimp is meant to bring longevity, Pickled Renkon (lotus root) symbolize in the hopes of having a future with no obstacles as well as some boiled vegetables.
Azumino Lunch Course
Featuring a medley of dishes prepared using fresh produces from Azumino Ikeda at Nagano Prefecture. Located just two hours by train north of Tokyo, Nagano is an area with an abundance of natural resources and beauty and is famed for its ski resorts and hot springs. Ikeda Town is located in the north-central of Nagano Prefecture and well known for its rich agricultural heritage. Being one of the most beautiful villages in Japan, Ikeda Town has a magnificent view of Northern Alps mountains as well as one of the nice spot to enjoy spring flowers and cherry blossoms.
Miso soup cooked with Gin No Miso from Azumino Ikeda with fish chunks and shredded radish and carrot.
Pickled vegetables & cucumber sticks with Miso
Braised daikon with Gin No Miso, fish cake and spinach.
Fresh sashimi of Salmon, Yellowtail and Ikura.
Grilled cod marinated with Shiawase-zuke, Kin No Miso and Shio-Koji was my favourite dish among others. The meaty fish chunk was grilled to slightly browned on the outer with hint of pleasant savoury flavor from the marinade while the inner flesh was tender yet had a good bite texture. It was sublime.
Tempura prawn, lady finger and Shiitake mushroom.
For a more wholesome meal, we were also served with steamed Tsuya-gohan rice from Nagano as well as Ikeda-soba and Ikeda-udon from Azumino Ikeda with condiments such as dipping sauce, Wasabi, seaweed and scallions. I love the glutinous texture of the short grain rice, fluffy yet had a nice chewy bite. Both soba and udon were smooth and well worth slurping up, thanks to the pure and top notch quality water in Ikeda.
Dessert – Sake-Kasu Pudding
Made from lees (leftover yeast particles) from sake production, the pudding not the smoothest I’ve tasted but the flavor was unique, complemented by the topping of Kuwanomi (mulberry) compote, for a berry-licious end note. Also served along was apple sorbet made from 100% Nagano apple, light in flavor but huge in satisfactory.
We were introduced to Mizuhiki 水引 too during the lunch session which is a type of decorative Japanese cord made from twisted paper. Mizuhiki is normally attached to cards and envelopes on formal occasions. The color, number of cords, and the way they are tied have a special meaning such as bonding between relationship or sending blessing. Miss Aya Nomura, a Japanese style decoration consultant who made all these pretty Mizuhiki which are available in form of decorative items and accessories. You may check out her art pieces at her Facebook Page.
Diners who order the Sou x Azumino Ikeda set will receive a Mizuhiki souvenir.
Sou x Azumino Ikeda Omakase Lunch priced at RM88.00 per set. Available from 9 January 2018 onward until end of January or til food stock runs out (whichever sooner).
Verdict: For person that never been to Japan like me, it’s always good to have chance to sample food or produces freshly bring in to our country. If you are Japanese food enthusiasts, don’t attempt to miss this!
Sou Omakase Dining
G247 Ground Floor, The Gardens Mall, Mid Valley City
Lingkaran Syed Putra, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: +603-2202 1133
Operating Hours: Lunch: 11.30am to 2.30pm
Dinner: 6.00pm to 9.30pm