|Teppan Chef at Work|
Teppan-Yaki Kozan at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort, Pantai Dalit Beach, Sabah
Words by Kirsten Durward Photos by The Yum List
One of three a la carte options at Rasa Ria, Kozan glows with shades of stone, creamy grays, gentle uplighting and a range of subtle textures. Sit out on the sultry terrace for a la carte dining, including shabu shabu, or perch inside at the grill for freshly made teppanyaki treats.
On seating we are presented with a fresh cold towel in a carved wooden bowl. We refresh gratefully as Edamame arrives, and we crunch in, the fresh beans in their salty skin waking up our taste buds. Our Sake is the Hakutsuru Excellent Junmai RM28. It’s warm and dry, a preferred drop for fish and seafood. We enjoy our first few sips and gaze eagerly at the fresh ingredients arriving on natural pottery platters glistening up at us as they prepare to take their turn in the show to come.
I love the rhythm of teppanyaki and the chat with the chef, seeing food freshly prepared is always good. It has a flow to the meal and makes it interesting too. Chef Benno prepares with concentration and skill, patiently answering our flow of questions. We’ve selected two sets from the choice of four, although of course we plan to share every dish.
The Osaka (RM138) starts with New Zealand Mussels, slathered with butter and white wine before steaming in their shell. Served generously topped with finely chopped beef bacon and onions, they are a tasty mouthful, salty, well textured and thoroughly appreciated.
|New Zealand Mussels|
Chef lays Norwegian Salmon on top of a ginger and brandy preparation, which immediately bubbles away, poaching the fish in front of our eyes. When served it glistens with caramelisation and we can’t wait to dig in. The sauce is deliciously sticky, slightly sweet; the salmon, delicate and pink. Absolutely nothing needs adding as we eat happily.
An enormous, King Prawn more like a langouste, arrives fully clothed. It is chopped into four generous portions and sautéed in butter. Finished with a drizzle of white wine. Perfect! The resulting nuggets are succulent, tender and rich with flavour. Salmon and Prawns are our two favourite servings in this memorable seafood set.
The Kumamoto (RM158) begins with a four piece sushi selection. Salmon and Tuna Nigiri, fresh and thick, one of Steamed Prawn and a Seaweed wrapped Orange Roe.
A fillet of Sea Bass glistens with freshness as it sizzles on the grill. Crispy skin face down, the white flesh now dark and shiny with soy and browned butter. The flesh is firm and tasty, and a touch of rice wine vinegar gives it a little zing.
Our impressive strip loin is gently carved into sections, coated with butter, flambéed in brandy and placed on top of deep fried garlic. The fire sweeps around the whole grill and back to give a slightly toasty outer to our medium done steak. Our plate is piled up with tender meat, making this the set to order if you’re hungry. The cubes of steak open in the centre to reveal a ring of brown and a perfect square of pink; yummy. Eat alone or dip in soy or coat with red miso or dunk in chili to suit your personal taste buds.
Both sets finish in the same way. First, Chef chops up a mound of spinach, vinegar and soy, reducing the greens down. On tasting, the leaves are soft and dark and stalks are firm and crunchy. I enjoy the bitter spinach taste.
Teppanyaki fried rice proves a spectacular demonstration. A triple egg tower is set on the grill, while rice and chopped vegetables are skillfully manipulated with lashings of butter and soy sauce. Chef lifts each egg off the tower, flies it in the air, allowing it to crack on the grill, where he catches the cracked shell and whisks the raw egg into the rice. Last is the best, where he catches the whole egg on the side of the knife and the shell cracks side, yolk and white slipping through onto the grill. Impressive! Watchful of our carbohydrates, we share a neat bowl. The roasted garlic adds a different, stronger taste to the rice.
A tiny plate of homemade sour and salty pickles accompanies a clear miso broth. Tiny pieces of soft tofu and sliced greens give an end of meal cleanse. The Japanese family next to us seem happy too! We’re impressed by the skill used to prepare the Mushroom and Beef Roll for their set. The meal ends with Kozan ice cream, Green Tea for Monica, and Chocolate for me. We’ve dined well and are happy to float back to our beautiful room.
|Pickled Veges and Miso Soup|
Kozan has two seatings for teppanyaki, 6:30 and 8:45pm. Be sure to book in advance.
Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort and Spa
Pantai Dalit Beach
Tuaran, Sabah 89208
+ 6 088 797 888