Mokuren – A New Japanese Restaurant in IpohSeptember 21, 2010 | 21,644 views
Nigiri Set (RM22/USD6.90) – 5 pieces of Nigiri Sushi & 1 Hoso Maki served on the geta, a wooden clog-like tray used to present the sushi.
“Mokuren is the oldest flower on earth. Its flower language is Continuity. Now our restaurant opens its door. We continue to serve. We continue to stay …. “
And so, there we were on a hot afternoon, seeking for a pleasurable session of lunch with the colleagues somewhere in Ipoh Garden East. If you remember my post last week, the Domino’s Pizza plan went awry when the pizzeria was packed during lunch, and we ended up at Mokuren instead. Mokuren is a new Japanese restaurant at Medan Ipoh Bistari; situated on the same row with Kizuna.
Salmon Teriyaki Set (RM18/USD5.60) – A thick slab of salmon grilled with teriyaki sauce, and served with white rice, miso soup, chawan mushi and the other side dishes.
The couple met in Prague, and had this vision of opening a Japanese restaurant. Then they came back to Ipoh, and found this space to put their desires into work; realizing their shared dream. Mokuren was thus the fruit of their labour, and the rest was will soon be history in the compendium of fine Japanese cuisine in good old Ipoh ….
Okay, so I more or less made up the story from the brief history printed in their menu, injecting some pizzazz to dramatize the romantic love story. But Mokuren exuded this aura of warmth; a sensation not as easily experienced when dining in the other snazzier establishments ……
Imagine the quantity of Omega-3 Oil from that one-inch thick slab of salmon cut, grilled to perfection then basked in a sweetish teriyaki sauce !!!
Stepping into the restaurant, one can’t help but get this cozy feeling of eating in a homely environment. Much like Tengood in Greentown, but on a somewhat different scale, Tengood emulates the ambience and cuisine of an ‘izakaya’ (Japanese style of watering hole with light bites) more than a full-fledged restaurant.
Chicken Teriyaki Set (RM16/USD5) – Grilled chicken leg with teriyaki sauce, and the same side dishes
The menu covers not the entire slew of Japanese food, but includes an array of interesting additions not generically found in the other Japanese restaurants in Ipoh. Since this was our initial visit to Moruken, we proceeded to play safe and took the simpler (and much more economical) route of trying the Lunch Sets (available from 12.00pm – 2.30pm) instead of going ala carte.
The Udon was way off the mark though, barely tantalizing the tastebud with its lacklustre soup
Nine sets are available on the menu, priced from RM16 – RM26 (USD5 – USD8) each. From the usual suspects like Salmon/Chicken/Gindara (Cod fish) Teriyaki, to Mini versions of the Seafood Teppan Yaki, Nabeyaki Udon and Unagi Bento Set.
The Side Dishes – Clockwise from top left : A cube of fish (?) paste that tasted like our local ‘otak-otak’ minus the spiciness, a serving of steamed egg (Chawan mushi), desserts of jelly and fresh fruits, and a plate of pickled vegetables with red chillies.
Among all the sets we ordered, the Nigiri Set (RM22/USD6.90) tipped the scale of satisfaction with generous portions of nigiri sushi – Salmon, Maguro (tuna), Hamachi (yellowtail), Shrimp (ebi), and one other I could not remember (the last one in the pic), but looks uncannily like crab stick. The thin roll of salmon hoso maki was embed with ample bite-size cubes of salmon as well.
Not only that, the set also came with a bowl of mini udon (sadly nothing memorable), a serving of chawan mushi (Japanese style of savoury steamed egg custard), and the other sides as depicted in the picture above. The pickles and that mysterious cube of slightly spicy fish paste (really tasted like otak-otak) screamed unconventional; though I can’t really put my hand on their respective identities.
Mini Seafood Teppanyaki Set (RM23/USD7.20) – Pan-grilled prawns, squids, and fish with a mix of vegetables, and the usual sides.
The Chicken Teriyaki was tasty, but too much of chicken skin rendered the experience slightly too greasy. But ample portion for one, that’s for sure. And the Salmon Teriyaki arrived in an amazingly thick cut; something the average Japanese restaurants shy away from. But then again …. the second helping (one of us was late for lunch) proved that our joy was short-lived. His salmon was about half the size of KCA’s. The Teppanyaki Set came loaded on a mini hot plate, still sizzling with a large cut of caramelized onions, grilled corn, and mixed vegetables.
In a matter of minutes, the place was more than half-occupied. There is also a sushi bar behind of the waitress in red, and another section with a pseudo-tatami setting (seated on the floor but legs still under the table) that can seat about 8-10 pax.
While it is still too early to pass judgment based on one single dining experience, we unanimously agreed that the lunch was above average; especially when it comes to the thick cuts of fresh fishes for the sushi, and the daring venture to include many unrecognizable authentic Japanese items in the menu. And bear in mind that they charge a nett price based on what they printed on the menus; meaning NO government tax and NO service charge. Parking’s not much of a hassle since it is FOC and there are ample parking spaces in front of the shops.
*By the way, Mokuren (or Magnolia) is a type of flower.
Blink and you will miss this, Mokuren does not display a LARGE and bright signboard, but instead choose to emphasize on being a “RESTORAN MAKANAN JEPUN”
MOKUREN JAPANESE CUISINE (pork-free)
20, Jalan Medan Ipoh 1B,
Medan Ipoh Bistari,
31400 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Telephone : 605-545 6513
Business Hours : 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 10.30pm
Closed on Mondays.
GPS Coordinates : E101 7′ 2.7″ N4 37′ 6.8″
Google Map to Mokuren Japanese Cuisine
** Read All About Ipoh’s review HERE.