Hanare Authentic Japanese Cuisine @ The Intermark – A Mark of ExcellenceFebruary 20, 2011 | 11,805 views
Hanare Authentic Japanese Cuisine – Relatively new, when we talk about eateries located in The Intermark itself. Where is this Intermark? That’s where Doubletree by Hilton Hotel is.
And you were wondering where The Intermark is? Don’t worry. I was too; when this invitation for a resplendent ‘omakase‘ session at Hanare came knocking on my door. A fan of Japanese cuisine since the (ahem) Sushi King days, I have not heard or read about Hanare before at that moment of time.
Can’t blame me, since I was only down in KL for short of 3 months, and Hanare’s relatively new in the neighbourhood. But if you’re thinking that “Blah, just another bloke from down the streets …” then think again!
#1 – Ankimo Sunomono (Angle Fish Liver in Vinegar) – A palate teaser of a starter; the vinegared fish liver had this creamy, velvety texture not unlike foie gras, but with a subtle briny tang to it. The succulent shrimp was there; to complement the cube of liver.
And why oh why was Hanare different from others? Firstly, their fresh supplies are being flown in THREE times a week – Mon, Wed and Fri. And they have someone at the famous Tsukiji fish market to hand pick the best tuna (especially) and various delightful seafood to be shipped on the spot. Talk about QC.
Secondly, Executive Chef Sudo was from the famous Tykoh Inagiku. If you’re a fan of real, authentic Japanese cuisine, you must have heard of the name Tykoh Inagiku before. I have not been there, but according to my aunt who works as a tour guide with a Japanese travel agency; the aforementioned restaurant used to be one of the BEST in the city. (Picture of the chef at the end of the post)
#2 – Shirako Chawan Mushi (Steamed Cod Fish Milt Egg Custard) – With bits of shiitake mushroom, chicken, strands of shark’s fins, and that blob of a cod fish’s sperm sac (seriously), this steamed egg custard took luxury to a different level. Wondering how the sac tasted like? A cross between brains and intestines; with a creamier finish.
Walking in into The Intermark made me realized that aside from Hanare, and Doubletree by Hilton KL Hotel, there was not much action going on in the newly opened business centre. You can’t miss Hanare as the restaurant is directly in front of your eyes; so to speak, when you’re waltzing in from the front doors.
Hanare did not blare soothing traditional Japanese music on the background. Nor the interior of the restaurant reminded one of those places with tatami; giant lanterns hovering precariously above your heads, nor even bamboo plants all over the place.
Instead, the decor was minimalistic, with interesting contemporary elements infused into the ambience. We saw treated wooden tables; granite tables and partitions of bricks and dim lighting with a soft spotlight on the food presented to you. You won’t feel out of place in your short pants or sandals; neither would you be categorized as an anomaly if you’re in suits and ties.
#3 Assorted Sashimi – Scallop, a King Crab’s leg, tuna belly (otoro) *the bigger chunk with a lighter pinkish hue, and tuna (maguro) *the reddish block. The other piece was a mackerel; or something. Pardon me for after the long hiatus from the meal and this write up, I tend to get amnesiac. Anyway, the tuna belly was marvelous; as expected. The leg of the crab had such sweet flesh, while the scallop and the other piece of fish were forgettable.
Business was slow that weekday evening; possibly due to the fact that The Intermark has not exactly made a mark (ahem) in the culinary scene of Klang Valley. That’s well received though, since this means we have almost the whole place to ourselves! And with a live wire around (you know who you are), cracking jokes incessantly, the meal was a pleasant feast for all senses.
#4 – Kaki (Chinese cabbage with Oyster in Cream Sauce) – You must have thought … WHAT?! Carbonara cream sauce must be overwhelming and completely devastated the freshness of the oysters. Partly true. But for those not in favour of fresh, raw oysters shucked on the spot and served with a wedge of lemon/tabasco sauce, then this would be a fine alternative.
#5 – Sawara Saikyo (Grilled Spanish Mackerel) – A cross between saba (mackerel) and cod fish, this fish with a buttery texture and immensely sweet flesh was grilled to perfection. No qualms, and thankfully I got the slab with no bones and a hefty cut.
#6 – Hokkai Chirashi (Fresh sea urchin, salmon roe, crab meat and salmon on rice) – This, and the next item in line were the BEST of the lot we sampled that evening. Just too delicious to pass off as another chirashi zushi, you must taste the absolutely fabulous ‘uni’ (Sea urchin) in all its creamy, decadence and slightly robust nature, paired with popping balls of salmon roes, and thick, fleshy cuts of raw salmon. And was I proud to proclaim; “Mum, I ate my rice!”
#7 – Wagyu Beef Miso (Simmered wagyu beef with miso paste) – Had I not been informed that this was wagyu beef, I would have thought this just good grades from Australia/NZ. Good beef, nonetheless. But without the marbling; this leaner cut of beef had a tougher and firm texture. Still delicious, and I had two (or was it three?) portions from the extras and the fantastic potatoes from those who shied away from their carbo.
#8 – Mushi Awabi No Se Goma Soumen (Abalone with Sesame Fine Noodles) – Even the soumen (thin, wheat noodles) was sourced from Japan. A cold finish to the savoury selections. A notch down from the previous two magnificent dishes back to back.
#9 – Shiratama Azuki Ice Cream (Rice flour dumpling, red bean and soft serve ice cream) – This did not even melt in the mouth, the ice-cream was so soft it melted in the bowl! But a very velvety smooth and creamy delight, a befitting finale to the omakase experience.
Left one’s the chef, right one’s the boss.
Omakase in Japanese means ‘it’s up to you’. It all boils down to the season’s freshest supplies, the day’s specials, the chef’s expertise in combining and creating flavours, and of course …. in some ways; dependent on the chef’s mood as well.
So don’t create a fuss or throw tantrums else you might get bird’s eye chillies (cili padi) in your bowl of chawan mushi!
(just kidding …. I hope)
Chilled sake in this gorgeously, svelte bottle. Hanare; where you can really seek comfort in authentic Japanese cuisine.
The omakase dining for one is priced from RM250/USD85++ onwards, and the menu changes ever so often. But you can call up to enquire about the weekly or even daily specials.
“Terima Kasih for the Omakase?”
Hanare Japanese Restaurant
Ground Floor, The Intermark,
182, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur,
Tel: 03-2164-2133/ 2164-2633
GPS Coordinates: 3.161795,101.719674
*This dinner was an invitation from Hanare’s management, and thanks to Alison for extending the invite.