Kuala Lumpur's dining scene is better known for the terrific local hawker/street food highlighting the fusion of its multi-racial culture and incorporating the rich spices available the region. Her high end dining scene however has never quite reached the heights of other major Asian cities like Singapore, Hong Kong, etc.
This changed abruptly in 2016 when Tokyo based 3* Sushi Saito unexpectedly opened his second restaurant simply named "Taka by Sushi Saito" at the new St. Regis Kuala Lumpur. What a coup! Not only did KL land it's first top caliber international restaurant but to land the current #1 rated sushi restaurant as ranked by Tokyo diners was quite an incredible feat. I decided this would be a great fallback after failing to secure reservations at Sushi Saito in Tokyo. Apparently the waiting list is up to 9 months these days...
Reservations were a breeze, likely due to the stratospheric prices by local standards. I arrived for my lunch reservation in a virtually empty dining room. Save for two other diners, the 12 person capacity huge sushi bar with high ceilings felt cavernous; almost like sitting in an empty concert hall, albeit a very opulent concert hall. I think recreating an intimate 6 - 8 seater sushi bar ala Tokyo would have been a better option... Can't fault their ambition though, note the beautiful huge hand painted lacquer door panels.
The affable Chef Kubota.
I opted for the mid priced (RM650) omakase option with a couple of additions towards the end. Sequence of sashimi/sushi as served.
Shiro-Ebi (Baby White Shrimp)
Kinmedai (Golden Eye snapper)
Buri (Larger winter yellowtail)
Kohada (Gizzard Shad)
Akami (lean Bluefin Tuna) - Tuna from the waters close to Kyoto, incredible mineral flavors.
Chutoro (Medium Fatty Bluefin Tuna)
O-toro (Fatty Bluefin Tuna)
Sayori (Half Beak)
Kegani (Japanese hairy crab)
Anago (Sea Eel)
Negi-Toro (Toro and Japanese green onion hand roll)
Miso Soup and Tamago (Background)
Hottegai (Live Japanese Scallop)
Kama-Toro (Toro close to collar) - note the cuts made along the white gristle.
An excellent meal overall. Fish quality was excellent, purportedly the same sourcing Saito uses for his main restaurant in Tokyo. Highlights as follows:
- Kama-Toro (collar) - A spectacular cut. Muscular section yielded a more complex flavor vs regular O-toro
- Tamago - Wow, layering almost indiscernible. Silky smooth texture. The best tamago I've ever had.
- Anago - Super soft texture, melts in your mouth.
- Hon-maguro Akami from Kyoto - Amazing! Benefiting from the Japanese 'aqua-terroir' I finally understand why top sushi chefs prize this cut above the fattier toro. The complex rich mineral flavors were incredible. (Only topped by the 8 day aged akami at Sawada a couple weeks later.)
- Akasu seasoned shari (see negi-toro pic)- Subtle flavoring, terrific firm texture
Ranks as one of my best sushi meals ever and easily tops the best sushi joints in LA. I doubt anything else in the city even comes close. It'll be interesting to see how the restaurant and high price (by local standards) fares over time in KL.... For now local sushi aficionados can celebrate the arrival of their first destination worthy sushi restaurant.