Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Hajime Japanese Restaurant, Jalan Damai

HajimeSubsequent to my last post on Japanese food, several food enthusiasts signed up to become members of the Japanese Food Kawan Association (a label coined by one loyal lifetime member, Xiu Long Bao). I had a hard time deciding on the committee members. Two positions were subsequently filled (Elected by the President - majority not required...who said this was a democracy anyway?). Boo_licious was appointed Secretary due to her prolific writing skills and excellent photography, while Paprika was appointed Treasurer (due to her connections with one Hunky who is attached to an international bank and who is able to provide unlimited funding as and when required...we hope...) and Head of Maki subcommittee. Other posts will be filled in due course. Your patience is appreciated.

Being the responsible citizens that we were, the newly appointed committee met immediately to discuss the rules & regulations and other such technicalities over a plate of sashimi at our not-so-secret headquarters.














Hajime Hajime Menu Hajime


Finding the not-so-secret headquarters wasn't too terrible a task as I was familiar with Jalan Damai, the location of one of my favourite spas, Vila Manja. The exterior and interior of this refurbished bungalow were extremely pleasing due to the use of various types of woods and stones to create different textures on the surfaces of the building. I brushed past a rope curtain at the main entrance as I entered a very short passageway which led to the main dining area. The main area had two separate sections. The non-smoking section consisted of sunken seats with muted lighting, while the smoking section was more brighty lit with conventional tables and chairs. Naturally, because we wanted to document the food correctly without the unnecessary attention of flashbulbs, we sacrificed our lungs for the sake of our faithful Japanese Food Kawan Association members. *cough cough*


Fugu Mirin Hoshi Hotatei Corn Yaki


The menu wasn't very extensive, but contained enough of a variety to get us curious. I have to add here that service was excellent. The lady taking our order was not only knowledgeable about her menu, she was also able to give us informed recommendations on the different types of food. Perhaps other restaurants should take a leaf out of Hajime's book and learn something about the importance of hiring knowledgeable staff.

I have blogged about Fugu before. There's really nothing to worry about as the poison would have been removed prior to shipping. At least, that's what they all say. Better to be blissfully ignorant than to be consciously skeptical and a constant worrywort, I say! The Fugu Mirin Hoshi priced at RM14 was nothing like the sashimi I had tried before. The thick cut slices of fugu tasted like barbequed dried meat which was rather chewy but full of flavour. If someone gave me this dish and asked me to do a blind test, I'd have immediately guessed it to be dried pork instead of fish. I'd put this in the "snack" category - perfect for munching on while watching Harry Potter battle his nemesis in the movies.

The Hotatei Corn Yaki (RM18) was essentially scallops baked with a topping of cheese and corn. The sweet scallops contrasted well with the heavy topping.


Black Spider Hamo Teriyaki


Having the honorable Head of Maki subcommittee in our midst, we naturally had to order something to suit her discerning palate, and we believe that she was suitably satisfied with the Black Spider Maki (RM18) made of sinfully delicious soft shell crabs with caviar in a vinegared rice roll. We struggled a bit trying to eat the rather large pieces of maki in a ladylike fashion, but our attempts made the effort clumsier than ever with bits of rice and other ingredients covering our tiny plates with a mess capable of making my 5 year old twitchy fidgetty nephew, with his Winnie the Pooh plastic bowl, look like an angel.

The Hamo (pike eel) Teriyaki (RM38) was like comfort food to me. Tasting similar to unagi, I couldn't quite tell the difference between the two. Perhaps I shall have to try another serving?


Taco Belt Wagyu Roll with Shimeji Mushroom

The waitress suggested trying the Taco Belt which got us thinking of Mexican food and pita breads, and I'm glad we didn't laugh away her recommendation. This must be the best item of the night. The maki was not made of rice, but instead consisted of soft shell crab, salmon and avocado wrapped in seaweed. The unique textures of the different ingredients made me feel like I was experiencing so many different sensations at the same time; from the softness of the avocado to the crunchiness of the soft shell crab, they all blended together to create a symphony of flavours.

Unfortunately, the Wagyu Roll with Shimeji Mushroom (RM36) fell short of expectation. the bland taste and tough texture of the meat was barely rescued by the barbeque sauce on the side.

Salmon Shichu Mushi


I enjoyed eating the Salmon Shichu Mushi (RM15) which was served with a very small portion of noodles. The highlight of this dish was most definitely the broth, infused with the flavours of the salmon and seaweed, which it was cooked in.


Hama Sashimi Tuna Sashimi


Earlier that evening, I was having a conversation with another Japanese food expert who advised me to try food other than sashimi after seeing the glut of sashimi posts on my blog, but really, sir, it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks. After 20 minutes of humming and hawing, and with the blessings of my newly appointed committee, I proceeded to order a plate of sashimi (RM100). Looking at the gorgeous pieces of freshly cut fish placed on a bed of shaved ice, I am glad I acknowledged my inner desires. With every bite of the raw fish, I felt like I was born again.


Daikon Ume SaladI didn't touch much of the Daikon Ume Salad (RM18) made of white radish drizzled with japanese plum sauce. The sauce was a little too sour for my liking and the salad was just too ordinary.

Kuzukiri


Figuring out the dessert was quite an effort in imagination. The Kuzukiri (RM10) was puzzling. The noodles (which I presume were made of arrow-root starch) was rather gelatinous while the brown sauce was apparently made of gula melaka (brown palm sugar). We took turns guessing what the powder was, and creative answers such as "peanut powder with a hint of sesame" to "something that my mum uses in her indian cooking lah" were offered, but in the end, we were told that it was actually chestnut powder. I guess even foodies get it wrong sometimes. :-)


Hajime The meeting adjourned at 11.00pm with a vote of thanks to the President.

Hajime
No. 64, Jalan Damai, Off Jalan Tun Razak, 55000 KL.

Tel: 03-2143 0073

For map, click here.

46 comments:

Argus Lou said...

Waaaa... I wish I were there, tasting all the yumsome dishes with you, LL. However, the dessert reminded me of translucent earthworms. ;-P

boo_licious said...

El Presidente, one down and more to go. I wonder if we can get society status by registering with the Japanese Association in Msia.

Great pixs, now my tummy is rumbling for the scallops.

Jason said...

Eh... how come I'm not invited?? Application not processed yet? T_T

team bsg said...

with yr tyranical consent and aritocratic endorsement v hereby humbly forward our pleasurable palates henceforth knowingly to be at yr complete disposal to pretest all prepared food prparations ostensibly created ( especially intoxicating sake ) for yr esteemed committees' unreserved pamperment cum consumption so that the honorable committee comprising President,secretary,treasurer then some will forever view these secret excursions with the noblest of aforesaid everlasting duty to man womankind in the further unselfish pursuit of the highest order. ( sorry ah 2 much Harry Potter Part 7 ).

xiu long bao said...

OISHI!!! Will rush to Hajime soon!
I'm so honoured by the title :O

k.t.x said...

the inaugaration of the John F Kennedy Association honoring their undying love for JFK thru the mareelin monroh way! emmm, allow me indulge in more monroh outings to better myself for a privilege admission to the association.....soon.

borang permohonan? no, not for bini pertama dan kedua nor ketiga...lol

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Argus sweetie:

Dahling, our time will come soon where we shall partake of japanese together, and what a meaty affair it shall be!

Earthworms, Argus?? Have you tried them? They're pretty nutritious, especially when eaten raw with a dab of wasabi.

Boo, my dear Madam Secretary:

The second not-so-secret meeting will be happening VERY soon with the appointment of yet another committee member, if she passes the raw and bloody test. Once we recruit enough members, we shall proceed to make a case with the Japanese Association of Malaysia. In the meantime, eat on, dear.

Jason mah man:

Jason, on that night, you were busy having double-boiled soup with the individual known as Babe. Your loyalties are suspect. :-P

Team BSG my Guru:

Well said, well said! Your invitation to partake of this honorable meal together with a slash of the gendaito sword and a round of sake is in the mail. Please follow the instructions carefully as the Order of the Phoenix will disintegrate into a rubble of finely ground chestnut powder into the kuzukiri not the harakiri.

Xiu long bao, O Honorable Lifelong Member:

You may be interested in checking out the set lunches (my Bald Eagle's trying it this afternoon, so will let u know his reviews when he comes back). The details are on their website.

ktx sweetheart:

The discrimination against Bini Pertama, Kedua and Ketiga is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated by the Japanese Food Kawan Association. We, the three Binis + One, insist that we have Miss Mareelin Monroh's assets (if not more) and are more than deserving of being recruited into the I Love JFK (Not the Airport) Association. Consider our application submitted.

MeiyeN said...

oh no...... am so hungry now!!!!!!!! must try this place soon! thanks :D

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

i want an invitation also!!.. can i b vice president??

fatboybakes said...

pah, gimme my bland canned tuna in wholemeal pita bread and a bowl of low cal packet soup (which i just had for lunch) any day to this feast.....

wonder if celibate clergy surf porn...

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

meiyen:

hehe. You should try the food since you enjoy Japanese food so much!

Nipples:

Your application is being screened by the committee. Answer the following question correctly, and you will have passed Stage 1 of the test:

Fugu is:-

a. Japanese for F*&% You.
b. A distant cousin of Wagyu, but without legs and massage.
c. Fergie's long lost Japanese brother.
d. Japanese harakiri without the sword.

fatboybakes:

They secretly surf porn to see how the other half live. Who knows, one day, they may decide to go to Bijan to have durian cheesecake, especially on July 28.

Argus Lou said...

Don't be cruel, LemonG. Dabbing wasabe on live earthworms will make them cry and squirm, I gather.

How many of you ate so much food, lah? (or did i miss that in the post?)

Timothy said...

Incredible ! I've been busy for a while now ... and haven't been visiting anyone's site.

But looking at your photo works .... I am superbly impressed !!!! I like the details. Are you sure you're still using the same camera or have you changed ?

WokandSpoon said...

Wow! I wish I was there too! I need to join your club!

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Argus the worm lover:

Aiyoh, not cruel la. It's the circle of life. The smaller creatures are food to the bigger ones.

I haven't seen an earthworm cry before. The earthworms in Switzerland must be more sensitive compared to the ones we find here in Malaysia.

Three people ate that food. I could've eaten more, u know. Can u match my appetite, my dear zitrongrassy sister?

timothy, my old friend:

Aah, have missed ya! I'm still using the same camera la. Maybe my hand is steadier now. haha.

poor deprived wokandspoon:

hahaha. I'd love to have you in the club. And I won't torture you with the multiple choice question either. :-P

~Christine~Leng said...

japanese food! I'm a fan too! :) the photos are great! taken professionally eh.. good job! Hungry now..

The Cooking Ninja said...

I feel so deprived living overseas after looking at your blog.

Neko Hime said...

Goodness, i must go to this place!! The food looks so enticing! is it pricey this place?

Argus Lou said...

Omigosh! Only 3 people ate ALL that food?! No, I surrender; you win hands and tummy down. And wasabe can make my eyes water.

Rather than earthworms, which are rather shy here in Switzerland so they don't 'go out' much, we have slugs. Big ugly slimy things, sometimes in an 'orgy' in a group by the side of the bicycle lane. My other half often tries to kill them by cycling over them, says he's doing the farmers a favour. (U should look at the wheels of his bicycle after a ride.)

Love from your Zitron-sensitip-worm sis.

wmw said...

Lovely pics...said it once, twice, I'll say it thrice (he he...), you are really nuts over Japanese food!
"I'm turning Japanese, I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so...." :o)

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

the answer is (e) poisonous looking fish that puffs up to a swimming durian.. wahahaha..

Jackson said...

wow...great interior design with great food!!!! I want to be in the invitation list!!

Jason said...

Uhm.. the double-boiled soup was postponed, ma'am. *runs and hide in one corner*

Paprika said...

Ah reading your blog has me remiscing about that fateful might where we formed our committee to eat good japanese food for the good of the world. Those scallops were to die for! mmmmmm

team bsg said...

dearest lyrical hope not in drunken stupor yet again, coz the royal command twain shall they meet rain shine under cover of some as yet not total darkness this nineteenth or so twentieth on D shores of the TTDI marshes so thou be forwarned for the empire nasals the yesternights golden glows on clanking hrglasses. Same signals shall be henceforth beholden round after X11 when flags descend .

sc said...

aiyoyo, association set up, went for makan already and i didnt even know that you were recruiting members! *sobs*

Henry Yeo said...

same here...we question the pro-temp committee's dedication to the well-being of japanese food lovers in Klang Valley and the rest of Malaysia.

PS: new iketeru session posted.

Henry Yeo said...

PPS to lemongrass: you mean not as expensive as Iketeru...

UnkaLeong said...

I have been told I write well too!

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

~Christine~Leng:

good to know there's a new recruit. And no, you will not have to attempt the fugu question. No la...the pic was taken with my Lumix only la..not professional wan.

the cooking ninja:

hehe. the grass is always greener on the other side. I would love to be in your place, experiencing all the different types of food too!

neko hime:

well, the prices are stated in my post. I don't think it's that pricey. Then again, it's all relative, isn't it? :-)

argus da zitron:

wait till you see my next japanese food post where only TWO people ate all the stuff. :-P

Ewww. Slugs sound disgusting. ^5 to your hot weisswurst for doing us humans a favour. I wonder how swiss slugs would taste with wasabe. Or would they taste better when twisted into a bagel?

wmw:

Can u see how much fairer I've become? :-P

joe:

Who showed you the answer ar?

Okay, second question will be in my next japanese food post.

jackson:

Can! But on one condition - must belanja the President aka Bini No.1.

jason:

Now you tell me?!?! Naughty boy! *smack smack*

Paprika:

Hehe. We sure did save the world...by reducing the population of scallops and salmon and tuna and prawns....OMG...I forgot to blog about those creamy tasty prawn sashimi!!!!! Sooooo gooooooood!!!

Team BSG:

TTDI got marshes meh? 19th, I got date la. And my date will end past midnite, so I guess I'll have to see you guys another time then.

sc:

Don't worry, it ain't too late to join as a member. You won't have to answer the fugu question (specially reserved for Nipples).

henry yeo:

Do I detect dissent among the masses? A political upheaval? Hmmm...something is rotten in the state of Denmark!

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

unkaleong:

oops. didn't see ur li'l remark there. Well, we shall see how we can set up a post for you once you are back. Maybe you can be Alternate Secretary to Boo, eh? After all, there's so much that woman can eat!

Neko Hime said...

hehehe- sorry lemongrass, i blur today. nope, good food doesn't really matter!

jason said...

Yeee... Mercy!

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

neko hime:

haha..at least u're just blur for one day. I've been blur since 1998. No worries...be happy. :-)

jason:

LOL. U silly. :-P

babe_kl said...

what a feast!

btw the Merdeka topic is out, check Merdeka Open House 2007

Kenny Mah said...

Mmm... translucent worms. Yummy.

Kinda fun lar, talking to you on the phone while we're both going over all your blog entries that I've missed. Especially when you tried to keep track of my less-than-linear reading technique. Heh.

Favourite bit? That little puffer fish design on the menu. Coolness. You better believe it. :D

Argus Lou said...

Am amused by your high-fiving my slug-killer man for doing the dirty job. He says, "You should hear the sound of 'em popping." Eeeuu.
Mmm... if slugs were tasty with anything, there wouldn't be so many of them darkening the sides of country lanes in the evening.
Methinks only ducks eat them, but then donalds/mallards have no taste and are constantly hungry (hmm, that's beginning to sound a lot like me).

heather said...

Such a lyrical and delightful description, accompanied by beautiful photographs!

I hope you don't mind that I've added you to Errant Dreams' cooking links; I seem to have gone into a frenzy of adding nifty cooking blog links to it lately. :)

Almost Vegetarian said...

So many dishes - what a wealth of taste. The Hotatei Corn Yaki, in particular, looked wonderful. Now I'm hungry.

Cheers!

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

babe_kl:

Ok. Will check it out!

Kenny Kenny Kenny:

Love our lunchtime conversations too. DUDE, u gotta learn to follow my linear way of thinking lar. *whip*

argus darling:

Aiyoh, your hot weisswurst is more disgusting than me lar. Slugs popping?!?!?! What next?!?!?!

heather:

Thanks, that's really sweet of you! And of course you can link me. Will be hopping over to your blog shortly. ;-)

almost vegetarian:

What's almost vegetarian? hehe. I guess I shall have to visit your blog for the answer. :-) Thanks for visiting, by the way. And yeah, the hotatei corn yaki was soooooo yummy!!

msiagirl said...

sigh I so jeleslah I cannot even speak....

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

LOL msiagirl! We will always have our Umaiya. :-P

Henry Yeo said...

we will resolve to let the incident pass if you get all the floggers to stake out a private tatami room at Iketeru next month.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

henry, you guys can certainly stake out a tatami room at Iketeru. I can even make the bookings for all of you. But everything's at your own cost lor! :-P

M said...

Just wanted to say that the brown powder on top of the noodles are 'kinako' (toasted soybean flour)-often used as a topping for mochi.

Junkgirl said...

Mmmm...reminds me of the meal we had in Kyoto