We shall now move from a pseudo-foodie post (I say "pseudo" because we all know that the last post wasn't really about food, don't we?) to a post on my favourite non-local food of all time - Japanese.
It all began when msiagirl wrote to me from England to let me know that she would be in KL on Saturday. She proposed dinner. And I never say no to good food. What started out as dinner plans turned out to be a day trip with a bunch of whacky litbloggers who made me realise that we had more similarities rather than differences. After all, how different can we all be? I read. I have books beside my bed, on the table, in the bathroom, in my car and in my handbag. Of course, the book in my handbag is dog-eared, not from excessive reading, but from all the rummaging that I do when I want to retrieve my camera or carkeys.
Anyway, after we dropped off the last litblogger at his new place in Damansara Perdana, msiagirl and I drove around in circles hoping to spot a restaurant that would catch our fancy. We wanted something light and healthy and figured Japanese would be perfect. And so it was. Umai-ya stared at us in our faces and we walked right in. If only decisionmaking in other areas were this simple!
Service was excellent from the beginning. I'm always impressed with good service and it makes the dining experience a lot more pleasant. I wish more restaurateurs would realise the advantage of training their employees, but I guess they are usually bogged down with the cost-benefit issue. Which isn't an excuse, really, for several reasons, one of which I just mentioned.
Since we had pigged out the whole day (some of which I shall be blogging about later), we assured ourselves that sashimi would be a healthy choice. To save ourselves the trouble of identifying which sashimi we wanted, we went for the easiest choice - sashimi mori (RM80/USD24). The platter was incredibly pretty. Everything was thoughtfully presented. The wasabe was shaped like a couple of green leaves and the platter was decorated with tropical flowers. Some items, like the sakura tempo (pink dust), looked like something decorative, but upon closer inspection, we realised that it was edible. After worshipping the plate for a good 10 minutes, amidst chatter and laughter, we proceeded to eat. And trust me, women can talk! Our ratio was 25 sentences to one piece of sashimi. It's a wonder we didn't suffer from food poisoning after all that exposure to the elements.
I love the selection of sashimi. The red tuna was fresh and tasty, as was the yellowtail tuna. I love the white tuna which had a smooth buttery taste to it. The octopus and prawns were very fresh and the salmon was firm to the touch. One of my favourite items was the scallops which were so sweet, there was absolutely no need for the condiments.
This beautiful sight is seabass with seaurchin. The seaurchin had a creamy texture which went so well with the firm flesh of the seabass. Little pieces of oba leaves were placed in the sashimi which created a myriad of different flavours.
The taco wasabe was adorable. A prettily cut out cucumber held sliced marinated baby squid in a cradle. I savoured each piece slowly, allowing the flavours to linger in my mouth.
Chawan mushi is comfort food to me. The chawan mushi here was one of the best I had ever tasted due to the quantity of ingredients added to this simple dish.
For dessert, we had three different types of ice cream. Black sesame was nice, but I found it a bit too savoury for my liking. The wasabe ice cream was beautiful. I have a weakness for wasabe. I love how it hits my nose and causes my head to hurt. Wasabe in ice cream does that too, and somehow, the combination of hot and sweet was potent. A good kind of potent. The green tea ice cream had a slight bitter taste, but I enjoyed it tremendously. A side serving of sweet red beans came together with the ice cream to counter the bitter taste of the green tea.
I've made a resolution to go back to Umai-ya to check out the other non-sashimi items on the menu. After all, if this food had, even for just one night, made me euphoric, imagine what one week of the food can do for the soul.
Umai-ya Japanese Restaurant
G-3A, The Place, Jalan PJU 8/5D
Bandar Damansara Perdana
Tel: 03-7729 0015
Opening hours: 11.30am - 2.30pm, 6.00pm - 10.30pm
(This post is dedicated to k.t.x. who professes to dislike sashimi, and whom I'm hoping will be soon be converted to appreciate this stupendous dish. After all, good food must always be shared. ;-) )