CNY 2012 – Why Go Japanese @ Waraku?January 21, 2012 | 4,276 views
Waraku; one of the most tenacious Japanese restaurants in Ipoh so far.
Since eating at Chinese restaurants might entail the gory need to mortgage an arm or a leg this season, we thought why not go Japanese for a change. After all, the subsequent days would be filled with Yee Sang, pork, chicken, prawns, fish, mushrooms etc …. to a point when you’d wish that Reunion feasts can include burgers for a change.
Waraku is one of those restaurants that you usually fail to notice its existence, tenacity and dare I say … brilliance. Drowned by the (over) hyped Japanese diners around the vicinity (try scanning through THIS LIST and you’ll see why), Waraku is that humbler cousin of the larger-than-life restaurants with sushi bars, private rooms and blares of insincere “irrashaimase” through the halls …..
Waraku Salad (RM18.00/USD6)
The sky had looming dark clouds; peppered with grunts of storm on the horizon. True enough, 15 minutes through the meal, it started to rain …. dampening the sweltering heat from the afternoon, and washing away the sins to usher in a brilliant Dragon year, perhaps?
The restaurant was pretty deserted, with a couple quietly tucking in into their sushi, seated cross-legged on the elevated wooden panel floors; ala tatami style rooms. Good thing was, Waraku decided to bring back the casual tables and chairs for comfortable family dining experience. Although limited to a long table that can fit 20 pax at best, still this is a commendable shift from the previous bar table and high stools setting.
After all, you can’t expect my 80+ years old Grandma to be downing sake and swinging her feet recklessly from the stools!
Ebi Korokke (RM8/USD2.70)
They have modified the menu, yet I found that the prices have more or less been maintained to an acceptable degree. The Waraku Salad was the recommended starter by the waitress, a VERY tangy version of seasoned seaweed salad tossed with an abundance of crunchy iceberg lettuce, chunks of tuna, ebikko (shrimp roes) and topped with a carefully-laid net of mayonnaise. Can’t go wrong with tuna and mayo, plus the briny seaweed and fresh lettuce. This one… a winner. Though I still prefer Kampai’s seaweed salad to some extent.
Ebi Korokke (Prawn Croquette) was a large patty of mashed potatoes and boiled prawns sliced into halves, then coated with crumbs and deep fried before laying waste to the diet plans with generous squeeze of mayonnaise again. Well worth the RM8.00 paid for the patty, as this was good enough as a starter to be shared.
Yasai Tempura (RM13.00/USD4.30)
Given the fact that my parents prefer to eat cooked food rather than relishing in downing slivers of raw fishes (sushi, sashimi), I settled for all cooked items from the menu. The imported fishes are brought in every Tuesday and Friday, in case you’re curious. Just like the other Japanese restaurants around the area.
Yasai Tempura (Mixed Vegetables Tempura) arrived just in time when we were in the thick of the action. Pity that they skimped on the grated radish (daikon) to accentuate the deep-fried items when dipped into the ‘tentsuyu’ (tempura sauce). But the crunchy batter coating the vegetables was a good effort, and certainly piqued Mum’s interest given the fact that she’s a die-hard Tempura lover.
Variety of Kushiyaki (grilled items on skewers); from RM3.00/USD1 onwards each.
Now, if your stomach space can only accommodate ONE dish, make that a few skewers of Waraku’s delicious kushiyaki (or yakitori; the more famous name but that means skewered chicken, actually). A list of almost 30 items hit you right where it matters most … your appetite and the salivary gland working into overdrive.
Priced from RM3.00 onwards, this is still a very reasonable sum to pay for quality grilled meats; real bacon, chunks of pork and chicken, lamb and even quality beef (tops at RM10.00 per skewer though) wrapping around various vegetables; like asparagus, negi (Japanese scallions/leek), enoki, shiitake, etc.
Trust me, you can go crazy with the skewers here for I have rarely been let down by the quality since years ago. And notice that they do NOT have to douse the items with copious amount of sauce? Says a lot for the faith they have in their marinated meats, fresh vegetables and just lightly dabbed with the sweet & savoury sauce (named ‘tare sauce‘).
Ebi Chahan (Fried Rice) (RM8.00/USD2.70)
Not accustomed to all proteins without the carbo, Dad went for a serving of their Prawn fried rice. Wait, a plate of prawn fried rice in a Japanese restaurant?! Yeah, but at Waraku, they use the Japanese grains … so the stickier and full-bodied texture remind you of ‘sang chow lor mai fan’ (fried glutinous rice) more than the Chinese counterpart of fried rice.
Sweet bell pepper halved, stuffed with the minced chicken (or could be pork … sorry, I forgot) then put on the grill. The sweetness of the caramelized peppers tampered the intense flavour of the meat, lightly drizzled with the yakitori sauce.
All in all, the meal came to about RM90/USD30 for the three of us. Still, an average sum to fork out nowadays for quality (or sometimes pretentious) Japanese meal if you’re tired of the Sushi Kings, Sakae Sushis and what-nots. And the portions were all rather generous; leaving us huffing and puffing by the end of the meal. By then, a few table of late diners were already there; having minor reunions and setting the mood for the gargantuan feasts in the days ahead!
WARAKU JAPANESE RESTAURANT (non-Halal)
33-33A, Jalan Medan Ipoh 10,
Bandar Baru Medan Ipoh,
31400 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Telephone : 605-546 4651
Business hours : Lunch and Dinner on weekdays, with a break in between.
Opens non-stop from 12pm – 11pm on weekends.
*Waraku opens for business throughout Chinese New Year