Just not long after PadiHouse and Spade Burger stirred some revival to Greentown, a Japanese restaurant with Yakitori theme (grilled skewered food) made its presence felt in the same zone. My first try was a treat from a colleague. And we actually went for Spade Burger later on (which was also my first try that night). And since then, I was frequenting this 2 joints quite regularly for at least few times. And these two places are always on my mind when I am back to Ipoh on weekends... why? cause they serve good pork dishes! lol
Before starting the meal that night, I went all out and pick something from almost each category since its a treat! For the greens, there is an option of the Salmon Salad or the Chuka Wakame (seasoned seaweed) salad. The sesame dressing is good but the salad turns quite watery towards the end probably from the moisture of the leafy vegetables.
I even tried the Grilled Smelt (Shishamo) for the first time! All this while I am worry of its fishy smell. But later on, I got a huge surprise that the is not much flesh for this fish. Under this fish from almost the head onwards to the tail contains a lot of yellow roe! Honestly speaking, I really dunno how to appreciate this fish LOL
Next, I would like to recommend you to the stuffed shitake mushrooms (RM2.90). Dipped into yakitori gravy as soon as its off the grilled, this tiny little morsels are bursting with flavour. Very umami-ish! The stick at the back is actually grilled pork belly (RM3.90) - lightly seasoned with just salt. Still juicy and with a good ratio of lean and fat layers! You get the taste the original charred aroma as it does not come with dipping gravy. Some may argue it could be too dry though.
Here is a picture of the Grilled Hotate (3 pieces of scallop for RM4.80), Bacon with Enoki mushrooms (RM3.80) and Bacon with Asparagus (RM3.80). On a seperate trip, I sampled the Bacon with cherry tomatoes and Bacon with Shimeiji mushrooms. Personally I feel the Bacon with Asparagus and Shimeiji mushroom is worth recommending. Nevertheless, on one occasion, the bacon had a mild unpleasant "porky"smell.
Stuffed Crab Shell cost around RM9.80 (I forgot the actual name and the price though). Shredded crab meat is seasoned and stuffed into the shell and is baked (grilled I supposed) with a layer of melted cheese on top. It is recommended that you hasten your photo snapping as its best eaten hot when the cheese is still goey
They only serve one type of beer here. And what better icon to represent the land of the rising sun if it is not Kirin Ichiban (because Asahi is too easily available at supermarkets and bars here, not to mention it is already locally produced). RM18 for a pint and RM28 for 2 pints which is freshly drafted from the tap. Else, one can opt for bottled Apple Ciders. For a more lavish complement, they have sakes and some plum wines available as well.
There are a few recommended beer food in the menu. The Fried Lotus Roots are so thinly shaved. Fried to near crisp and melt in your melt-like state, it just need a little sprinkling of salt for a light seasoning and its good to go with your booze.
Not having enough vegetables? There is this tempura battered leafy greens (forgot the name, its spinach if not mistaken) at RM3.80. Good beer food. Resembles the fried kankung in Thai cuisines.
The Gyoza is not bad too as most of the tables here also ordered it. The bottom is pan fried to a lightly charred and fragrant while the upper part of the skin remain like it was just well steamed. The centre filling of pork is well marinaded and maintained a good degree of moisture. RM6.80 for 6 pieces, I reckon it is really reasonably priced for such environment. You wont get such price even at some non-airconditioned dim sum restaurant.
Haha, this is some Grilled Rice (RM2.90), it looks like those grilled Onigiri or Korean Rice Balls. The outer layer is dry but not really "crusty" and the charred aroma was missing. The rice could be more flavoured (additional seasoning? add in seaweed and sesame seeds?) before putting it into the grill. I will suggest you to skip this though
Agedashi Tofu was a slight miss though. While the tofu is soft in the centre with the slight crispy skin on the exterior, the top part was a bit weird as it was abit too chewy to my liking. The top layer it too geletanious, as if I am slurping some mochi down my throat. You can also skip this as well.
On one of my subsequent visits, I tried the Grilled Tiger Prawns. For RM13.80, you get 5 sticks of attractive bouncy prawns which is just lightly salted. The prawns are freshe and cooked to the right mark. That is the Grilled Chicken Wings (RM3.80 for 2 wingette, no drummette) and Chicken Skewers with Leeks (RM3.80) in the background.
If you feel that yakitori is not enough to give a filling meal, there are a few selections of rice meals here. Ginger Pork Belly Rice Bowl is a very oriental dish, mimicking the Ginger Spring Onion Chinese stir-fry dish, which usually uses beef and chicken. Priced reasonably at RM9.90, the meat is served on top of a bed of warm and moist rice. They are using those high-calrose grains here for the rice, giving rise to a pleasant texture which is different from what we have most of the time elsewhere.
There is also a Chasu Don at RM12.90. Instead of the “pork roulade” or the swiss-roll-lookalike pork you see in your usual bowl of ramen, the one here resembles the Chinese braised pork slices (those with yam/preserved vegetables). Initially, the sauce is slightly too salty to my liking but give it a good mix with the rice and it was better later.
If pork isn’t your preferred meat (then I would be wondering why are you here at the first place) there is also the staple Chicken Katsu Don available. Fried breaded chicken fillet drizzled with soya sauce and sprinkled with seaweed. Oh ya, both the Chasu and Katsu comes with a stewed egg. The egg is served cold, with a slightly runny egg yolk.