Words: Kirsten Durward Pictures: Monica Tindall
It seems that the new theme for dining in KL these days is a modern take on the traditional plate sharing concept. Aka Chochin Izakaya is the latest in a slew of fresh and vibrant casual dining locations springing up all over the city. The Izakaya craze in Japan derives from sake shops starting to offer tasting plates with glasses of this delectable beverage. Gaining a reputation as the Japanese answer to tapas bars, they have developed to become places where you can drop in for a coffee, refresh yourself with that first afterwork beer, or meet friends for a cocktail and a couple of tasty sharing plates.
|Aka Chochin Izakaya, Contemporary Japanese, Pavilion|
|One of the Tatami Rooms|
Aza Chochin Izakaya aspires to combine the fun vibrancy of the Izakaya concept with a certain level of sartorial sophistication. The Japanese heritage is showcased in an upbeat and untraditional way, with a choice of seating arrangements from private rooms to sunken tables by the bar. The overriding impression is of quirky freshness; the décor ranging through solid light wood tables and blue white chequerboard walls to Manga and soft colourful pouf cushions. Personally I love the sunken alcoves beside the bar which look out over the main restaurant floor and can imagine chilling here with a Tuna Tataki and a glass of something cool, mmm…
|Lots of Delicious Tasters|
|Lots of Delectable Bites|
Executive Chef Miguel brings an impressive European and Asian pedigree, and we’ve certainly enjoyed his menu redesign at Svago recently. For Aka Chochin, he has developed a colourful new menu with plenty of variety to tempt any tongue. He bombards us with his usual enthusiasm and passion for food, taking us through all the food areas and the beautifully designed menu. The freshest sushi is cut impeccably to order at a free standing bar while an impressive range of yakitori dishes are also prepared in full view on individual charcoal grills. Encompassing Japanese inspired soups, fish and meats from the Teppanyaki grill, enough vegetable options to keep our Yum Queen happy, and plenty of fried dishes for our Malaysian friends, the pictures on the menu glow alluringly, inviting exploration. I’m intrigued by a black prawn udon carbonara and like the look of a squid pancake amongst other delights.
|Executive Chef Miguel Huelamo|
|From the Grill|
We are here tonight for the new menu launch and so try a range of taster dishes. Everything is impeccably presented and tastes sumptuous. Miguel lives up to his promise of delivering slightly stronger tastes than traditional in delicate Japanese food, which will please both Malaysian and European Palates, but the execution is typical of the precise technical aspects that are the cornerstone of this cuisine. Several flavours of sushi and sashimi are displayed for our tasting delectation. Every one is made and presented impeccably, rise firm but soft and slightly sweet, and a beautiful range of fillings, toppings, tastes and textures. I’m in love with the twist on Tuna Tataki which boasts slithers of caramelised onion, fresh coriander and a zing of fresh chilli. The gyoza are light clouds of joy. From the grill I sample a Tiger Prawn, perfectly cooked, a juicy skewer of Spicy Beef and two incredibly moist sections of Japanese Mushroom.
|Fun in the Kitchen|
Drinks wise we taste a refreshing colds watermelon juice, light dry Asahi, a robust slightly sweet sake. I take a sneaky peek at the beverage menu too. In addition to a good range of sake, Aka Chochin Izakaya also offers quite a few shocho, which if you don’t know are wonderful marinaded liqueurs, I spot my favourite Umeshu on the list. But I’m going to have to come back and taste some of the Japanese themed cocktails, hmm, Fresh Apple Shocutini anyone? I check out the Happy Hour, which disappointingly is beer only but must surely be one of the earliest and longest in the city, beginning at 10am and lasting until 8pm!
|Drinks with a Smile|
It’s often hard to get a real taste of a venue at an event, but Aka Chochin Izakaya impressed with attention to detail, and simply delicious food. I wouldn’t hesitate to invite friends to try this place. Don’t miss giving your taste buds a treat, and drop by for a couple of plates of Izakaya and a beverage. Double Yum from me!
Reasons to visit: Unique in KL – a fresh modern Japanese concept. Flavourful dishes freshly prepared to order. Funky fun atmosphere.
Aka Chochin Izakaya
Lot C3, Level Three, Pavilion
+6 (0)3 2110 6118