Thursday, December 31, 2015

Tsubohachi @ Solaris Dutamas

Tsubohachi seeks to offer the full spectrum of an izakaya-inspired experience in KL, striving to blend a kaleidoscope of Japanese flavours with courteous hospitality in a casual, exuberant setting. The restaurant has its roots in Hokkaido, with a parent company that reputedly spearheaded some 300 outlets in Japan, Thailand & Singapore over the past four decades.

Soul food to share is the cornerstone of the sweeping menu; snack on a few dishes first, then keep ordering more. Start with meat & carbs - crispy-juicy, flavoursome cuts of chicken thigh, impeccably deep-fried (RM13.90) & a thick-&-tender, teppanyaki-cooked minced chicken patty, topped with a creamy onsen egg (RM12.90), plus potatoes, sliced & served sizzling on a savoury hot-plate with mozzarella, mayo & mentaiko (RM13.90) or mashed into sticky-starchy mochi cakes (RM8.90).

No lack of yakitori, of course - the staples are accounted for, with neck-to-tail fowl dining. 'Seseri' skewers (RM7.80 for two) are a should-try, with neck muscle meat that supplies a bite straddling the line between succulent & crunchy. You'll also find everything from liver (RM7.80) to thigh with leeks (RM7.80) but our heart belongs to 'bonjiri' (RM7.80) with its fulfilling fattiness.

We're also fans of the fried flounder, triumphantly executed with beautiful, delicate flesh & brittle-enough-to-chew bones (RM42.50). The grilled atka mackerel (RM52.90) offers plenty of meat too, simultaneously firm & supple; its stronger, saltier-fishier flavour might make it a little less crowd-pleasing, but it's effective enough if you partner it with an abundance of alcohol.

Traditional 'kamameshi' is also available - rice cooked at the table in oven pots, ideally consumed communally. There's a 20-minute wait before you can eat this, but the result is steaming-hot comfort fare, with smoky-fragrant rice crowned with, say, a seafood mix of king crab legs, scallops & salmon (RM36.90), or with unagi, chicken or assorted mushrooms. But if you prefer to enjoy the lusciously fresh purity of the king crab on its own, you can have it steamed instead, claypot-style (RM52.90).

Stomach-warming stews & soups - pork belly & Chinese cabbage, layered to evoke mille-feuille, will feed at least two to three patrons (RM29.90), while the salmon soup is intended to invoke Hokkaido traditions, with a miso-based butteriness (RM19.90).

There's absolutely something for everyone - veggie acolytes can graze on a bowl of fermented soybeans, ladies' fingers & pickled radish, with a raw egg & squid for a wholesome protein punch (RM18.90) or a bountiful ramen salad, its noodles heaped with lettuce, leeks, onions, cucumber, carrots, cherry tomatoes, eggs, bacon & sesame dressing (RM16.90). Seafood disciples may wade into a selection of grilled sting ray (RM12.90) & squid tentacles tempura with okonomi sauce (RM15.90).

Here's one for the children & the young-at-heart - nagashi somen, the summertime treat of thin, wheat-flour noodles, plopped into a fast-moving circular flow of icy water with vegetables. The playful point is to pluck them out of the swirl with your chopsticks (which can be trickier than expected) in order to eat them, dipped at the final stage in shoyu on the side. RM27.90.

Desserts furnish a refreshing chill; our favourite's the vanilla & green tea ice cream with red beans hidden under thin rice cakes (RM14.90). Other temptations include the yuzu sorbet (RM9.90) & frozen cream rolls wrapped in green tea crepes (RM14.90).

And what's an izakaya without thirst-quenchers? Tsubohachi meets the mark for intoxication, with an array that spans Asahi 'sub-zero' beer (RM25.80 for 1/2 pint), lots of sake (which can be served in masu boxes) & fun cocktails (check out the Grapefruit Sour, a combo of shochu, soda & fresh grapefruit for RM17.80). Many thanks to Tsubohachi for having us here.

Tsubohachi Malaysia
A2-UG1-9, Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur. Outside Publika, above Ante. Daily, 1130am-3pm, 530pm-late. Tel: 03-6206-5526

This restaurant is available for bookings under TABLEAPP, which enables customers to make instant reservations at Malaysia's top restaurants, while saving time and money in the process. Reserve your table at this restaurant by clicking here.


The Eat Drink KL mobile app is now available, connecting restaurants & customers to promote a positive spirit of community.
Every restaurant on this app rewards users with a 6 percent discount, instantly & conveniently, everyday, all day long. 
In return, users share photos of their experiences at these eateries, creating a new community of restaurant lovers.
For every transaction, at least RM0.20 will be channelled to a charity of the month.

Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings, F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits.
Subscribe to Eat Drink KL Weekly for free via this following link: 
Note to subscribers on Gmail: The newsletter will be in the Promotions folder of your inbox.

Check out the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favourites, with 100 recommended restaurants for Oct-Dec 2015. This eBook is available to read or download at this link: http://issuu.com/eatdrinkkl/docs/ebook

Buckle your seatbelts: Eat Drink KL is partnering with Uber to take restaurant lovers on new adventures across KL & Selangor!
If you haven't used Uber yet, it's time to begin! For new users, just follow the steps below to redeem free rides:
1. Download the Uber app from the App Store, Play Store or Windows Store - and register your Uber account.
2. Apply the code EATDRINKKL as your first promotional code & you'll receive 2 Free Rides worth RM30 each.
3. Request a ride through the app and ride for free to any destination (with two ride values of up to RM30 each).
Check out EAT DRINK, a new F&B website jointly run by The Expat Group (TEG) & Eat Drink KL. This website features all of our up-to-date reviews, plus exclusive weekly articles & a searchable database on restaurants in KL & Selangor: EatDrink.my

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

PS150 @ Petaling Street, Chinatown

It was nearly an hour past midnight on a working Tuesday when we reached the row of faded Chinatown shop-lots that house PS150. There were scant signs of life - save for a few stray dogs & cats - as we stumbled through the darkness of an ominously grim back-alley, searching for the discreet doorway to this new watering hole. It was worth the anxious hunt - this intensely atmospheric bar is poised to be one of 2016's most popular caverns of cocktails, lit with crimson lanterns & neon calligraphy that translates into Petaling Street's Cantonese name, evoking some ethereal scene from a Wong Kar-wai movie.

PS150 is a labyrinthine hideout with corridors seemingly filled with secrets - if these peeling brick walls could speak, they might whisper of this building's bygone years as a brothel. The bar is still a work in progress, with a formal launch slated for mid-January. By then, customers will be able to access PS150 from the building's front, through an entrance set up to look like a vintage toy shop. A subsequent passageway adorned with decades-old photographs of anonymous faces will contain booths cloaked with curtains for privacy. A smoking hall with repurposed furnishing is next, followed finally by the main bar, permeated with an aura of authenticity that's unattainable by speakeasies in shopping malls, commercial complexes & modern shop-lots. 

PS150's cocktails prove as soulful as the place, crafted by chief bartender Angel Ng, well-known in KL's mixology scene, with a dedication to fairly priced quality. Temptations include the Pandan Flip (RM38; pandan-infused dark rum, coconut, bitters, egg yolk), Lychee No. 3 (RM38; London dry gin, lychee, ginger flower, lime), Red Poison Princess (RM90 for a serving for two; tequila, mezcal, absinthe, raspberry, lime, soda) & The Last Rite (RM50; gin, Chartreuse, maraschino liquor, absinthe, lime).

Here's how to locate PS150 for the next couple of weeks before its front entrance is ready. It's in the same building as Merchant's Lane cafe, & it's every bit as welcoming (look for Will or Angel to ensure you're taken care of); there's parking around the building. The bar aims to eventually become a lively hive of uniquely engaging activities like drunken spelling bees & bring-your-own-music Sunday afternoons (Manic Street Preachers, anybody?). We'll be hearing a lot about PS150 in 2016.

PS150
Ground Floor, 150 Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur. Currently Mon-Sat, 8pm-2am.

The Eat Drink KL mobile app is now available, connecting restaurants & customers to promote a positive spirit of community.
Every restaurant on this app rewards users with a 6 percent discount, instantly & conveniently, everyday, all day long. 
In return, users share photos of their experiences at these eateries, creating a new community of restaurant lovers.
For every transaction, at least RM0.20 will be channelled to a charity of the month.

Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings, F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits.
Subscribe to Eat Drink KL Weekly for free via this following link: 
Note to subscribers on Gmail: The newsletter will be in the Promotions folder of your inbox.

Check out the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favourites, with 100 recommended restaurants for Oct-Dec 2015. This eBook is available to read or download at this link: http://issuu.com/eatdrinkkl/docs/ebook

Buckle your seatbelts: Eat Drink KL is partnering with Uber to take restaurant lovers on new adventures across KL & Selangor!
If you haven't used Uber yet, it's time to begin! For new users, just follow the steps below to redeem free rides:
1. Download the Uber app from the App Store, Play Store or Windows Store - and register your Uber account.
2. Apply the code EATDRINKKL as your first promotional code & you'll receive 2 Free Rides worth RM30 each.
3. Request a ride through the app and ride for free to any destination (with two ride values of up to RM30 each).
Check out EAT DRINK, a new F&B website jointly run by The Expat Group (TEG) & Eat Drink KL. This website features all of our up-to-date reviews, plus exclusive weekly articles & a searchable database on restaurants in KL & Selangor: EatDrink.my