Kaihomaru is a Japanese restaurant situated in Starhill Gallery in Kuala Lumpur which offers a great range of fresh sashimi, live teppanyaki bar and authentic dishes to enjoy.
On our recent holiday to KL Jeremy and I visited this place on our final night after tossing up between here and Angus House, a Japanese steakhouse in the same building which I visited last year. We opted for the one neither of us had been to.
As we sit down and are presented with our menus, our waiter also brings over a complimentary amuse bouche – cooked tuna and slices of fresh beans. It’s a simplistic and flavoursome start to our eating journey here.
We’re both a little tired from our day out so we start off our meals with an Orange Juice each. They’re not freshly squeezed but they’re actually really delicious – light, sweet and pulpy. It’s refreshing to enjoy as we browse the eating options and also peer around the huge restaurant with interest. The decor is gorgeous, heavily wooden and walls lined with sake bottles. I love the live grill where you can opt to eat with your chef attending to your food needs.
You have so many different options for dining here, and after much discussion Jeremy and I decide on getting a set meal each, and then sharing the main dishes to enjoy as much variety as we can. I pick the Tempura Set (approx RM50) and he chooses the Eel Set (approx RM150).
I’m excited to try the seafood on offer here because it’s flown in daily from Japan to ensure authenticity and freshness. With this in mind, I am imagining great things!
Our side salads come out first which are a mixture of lettuce, carrot, onion, tomato, cucumber and capsicum, which is dressed with that delicious onion based dressing that Japanese salads are known for. It’s a good size, and the vegetables are crisp and fresh.
Our set meals also come with fluffy white rice, miso soup and sashimi. An impressive spread! Jeremy’s eel comes out as an impressively laid out piece of art (food porn rather), with the flesh lightly grilled and the sweet teriyaki sauce stickily coating each piece.
The meat is soft, tender and flaky. I love how fishy eel can taste, without any suspicious fishiness (if that makes sense!). I’ve eaten eel many times, but this is definitely the best I’ve had – you can really taste the difference in having fresh eel.
The miso soup is comforting and well balanced in flavours. Just the right amount of cloud inside, and the spring onions offer added depth of flavour. We drink it as you should, picking the bowl up to our lips and sipping away. It’s so, so good.
The sashimi that accompanies each of our meals looks extremely impressive for a set. There’s two pieces (per set) of tuna, which is bright red and buttery soft in texture. At the other end of the plate there is two pieces of flatfish, which is firmer and milder in taste. My favourite is definitely the two sashimi scallops in the middle – slightly wobbly and delicate they are like biting into clouds.
My tempura main is a great selection of items including prawns, squid, flatfish, eggplant, sweet potato, pumpkin and mushroom. Love, love, love that ethereally light batter. It’s crispy without being oily or heavy. The seafood items are all well seasoned and fresh; the sweet potato and eggplant winning my vote from the vegetables.
After all that food is eaten, we’re both happily sated but see our waiter rushing towards us with two beautiful cups with lids on the top and wooden spoons alongside. We have no idea what’s to come until we lifts up the lids to reveal glorious Chawanmushi underneath. Another course!
If you haven’t tried it before, chawanmushi is an egg custard dish that uses the seeds of ginkgo. The custard is generally flavoured with soy sauce, dashi and mirin, plus has added ingredients. At Kaihomaru, this version had oysters, prawns, squid and other seafood items, as well as edamame beans (yum!).
I’ve eaten this dish since being a young girl, and this version was even more amazing. The depth of flavour and the warmth that spread throughout me as a result was wonderful. It was a truly enjoyable dish, and a nice surprise!
As our plates are cleared away and Jeremy and I are performing our ‘ate too much food’ stretches in our chairs, our waiter brings us each a cup of steaming green tea. A nice way to balance out the food consumed and the flavours in our mouths. Some green teas can taste a bit chalky to me, but this one is just the right balance of bitter and sweet. As we each finish our cup, they’re automatically refilled.
To finish off our meal on a sweet note, a bite sized creme caramel is brought out to us. They’re so adorably gorgeous – wobbly and like silk to cut through. The taste is great too and it’s just enough sugar to leave us feeling utterly satisfied like we’ve gone through a lengthy degustation instead of just a set meal each. I do wish it was bigger but that’s because I’m piggy!
What a great last night in KL, with beautiful fresh seafood and simple but well prepared Japanese cuisine. The service is really top notch here, with our every need looked after and even a call button on our table so we can summon a server if they aren’t with us when needed.