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The Hidden Plate -Ultimate Omakase KL

The Hidden Plate – The Ultimate Japanese Omakase KL

Words: Stephen Reid
Photos: Monica Tindall

Monica and I were excited to sample The Hidden Plate. Not only was it to be an exquisite meal by a renowned chef, but the secret location is a destination worth the hunt!

This seventeen-course omakase journey, The Hidden Plate, is a collaboration between Sushi Azabu, Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur, and Cultiveat.

The Hidden Plate Kuala Lumpur

The evening felt akin to a luxurious safari as we ascended to the 38th floor of the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur to enjoy a drink at their stylish cocktail bar, Thirty8. Our host, Stephan, welcomed us and took our drink orders. I opted for a delicious Whiskey Sour (RM 48), and Monica chose a glass of one of her go-to Champagnes, Taittinger Reserve Brut (RM 125). 

Pre-dinner drinks at Thirty8, The Hidden Plate Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur Sushi Azabu pop-up

A Gourmet Safari

After finishing our drinks, our host Stephan escorted our fellow diners and ourselves down to the ground floor and across to another elevator for part two of The Hidden Plate experience. He took us to the fifth floor of what used to be empty office space to the most unlikely setting for a culinary experience. Once dormant for over a decade and soon to be the hotel’s executive offices, a new event space has been transformed into a vibrant hydroponic farm. This unique collaboration with Cultiveat, a company specialising in growing leafy greens and chillies, supplies the hotel with farm-to-plate fresh produce.

Culitveat The Hidden Plate Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur Sushi Azabu pop-up
Cultiveat – The Hidden Table Secret Location

Restaurant in an Urban Farm with Twin Towers Views!

As the sun set and the whirring fans of the hydroponic farm fell silent, the space underwent a dramatic transformation. The full-spectrum LED lights dimmed, replaced by focused illumination in an intimate dining area.  A magnificent wooden table and counter became the stage, accommodating just eight guests and offering beautiful views of the Petronas Towers. The space can be reconfigured for larger gatherings with high-top tables and stools, perfect for cocktails and canapes for up to 20 guests.

The Hidden Plate Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur Sushi Azabu pop-up
What a View! – The Hidden Plate KL

This unconventional venue, filled with racks upon racks of fresh green leaves, is the brainchild of Olivier Lenoir, the Swiss-born General Manager of the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur and team. With an illustrious career spanning 23 years and various Hyatt properties across Asia, Lenoir envisioned a unique fusion of sustainability and gastronomy.

“We wanted to create an experience that would surprise and delight our guests,” says Lenoir. “By partnering with Cultiveat and Sushi Azabu, we can offer a truly one-of-a-kind dining experience that showcases the best of both worlds: fresh, locally sourced produce and exceptional Japanese cuisine.”

Chef Masaki Arakawa

Our chef for the evening was Masaki Arakawa, a native of Osaka, Japan. He brings a wealth of international experience to Kuala Lumpur, having honed his culinary skills in Australia and his home country. With seven years in Kuala Lumpur, Chef Arakawa has become a fixture in the city’s vibrant food scene.

What distinguishes Chef Arakawa is his remarkable ability to elevate dining into an immersive experience. Each meal is a carefully choreographed performance. With graceful movements and meticulous attention to detail, he transforms sushi preparation into a captivating spectacle, setting down each gleaming morsel with a large smile. 

Chef Arakawa’s culinary philosophy is deeply rooted in the five fundamental principles of Japanese cooking: method, sense, taste, colour, and viewpoint. As the head chef of Sushi Azabu, an offshoot of the Michelin-starred New York establishment, Chef Arakawa specialises in the 200-year-old art of ‘edomae’ sushi. This classic 19th-century style originated as street food in Tokyo, where preservation techniques like curing and marinating were essential due to limited refrigeration. He comments that he loves the fish available in Malaysia but that the waters are too warm for raw fish preparations. Cold Japanese waters are best for sushi. 

Whilst the fish for The Hidden Plate menu may have travelled far from the chilly, clear waters surrounding Japan, the salad greens had less distance to cover. Although I have sampled Cultiveat greens at other KL establishments and admired the reduction in ‘food miles’ to reach my plate, this must surely set a record since the little pots in which they were grown (over seven thousand two hundred of them!) were literally no more than three steps away. 

Chef Masaki Arakawa The Hidden Plate Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur Sushi Azabu pop-up
Chef Masaki Arakawa

Omakase Menu & Prices

The Hidden Plate seventeen-course omakase experience is priced at RM 600 per person and includes a welcome drink at Thirty8. Alternatively, pay RM 728 to include free-flow alcohol pairing with the meal (what a steal!). The drinks package includes Japanese Beers (Kirrin and Sapporo), a choice of two white wines (Sauvignon Blanc and Pinos Gris), two red wines (Malbec and Pinot Noir), and hot or chilled sake.

The Hidden Plate Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur Sushi Azabu pop-up
The Free-flow Package is Only RM 128 Extra


We started with chopped bluefin tuna and salad leaves grown just behind us – three steps from farm to table! The tuna was wrapped in a sheet of nori (a dried edible seaweed used in Japanese cuisine, usually made from a species of red algae) and dressed with a little soy sauce and fresh lemon juice. 

Bluefin Tuna and Salad Leaves
Bluefin Tuna and Salad Leaves – The Hidden Plate KL

The following dish featured a plump Japanese oyster and succulent shrimp bathed in a luxurious, creamy sauce. The seafood rested atop a bed of crisp carrot and cucumber batons, providing a refreshing counterpoint to the dish’s richness. Delicate crisp asparagus spears added a touch of elegance, while their subtle vegetal notes complemented the sweetness of the seafood.


We watched as Chef Arakawa ran a blowtorch back and forth across expertly sliced bonito tuna. The blowtorch gave a gentle smokiness to the delicate slices of this prized fish, which had been marinated for a week. This marinating produced an extraordinary softness, the slices of sashimi glistening with just a swipe of semi-sweet glaze.

Sashimi The Hidden Plate KL

Chef Arakawa, attentive to our preferences, inquired about the level of wasabi used in our dishes. The authentic Japanese wasabi, a stark contrast to the common horseradish paste substitute, was expertly balanced, providing a subtle heat that enhanced the flavours without overwhelming them.

As a scallop fan, I was delighted to find it featured on The Hidden Plate menu. We placed the delicate slices between paper-thin pieces of smoky nori. The vibrant flavours of ginger and spring onion complemented the fish’s natural richness. 



The red shrimp nigiri arrived on a vibrant turquoise plate reminiscent of a shimmering swimming pool. It had a subtle sweetness, expertly balanced by a hint of wasabi heat and a lingering acidity from the sushi vinegar.

Red Shrimp Nigiri The Hidden Table KL
Red Shrimp Nigiri – The Hidden Table KL

The next morsel was lightly torched belt fish. The heat had coaxed the fish’s skin into a delicate curl, revealing the luscious fat beneath. Belt fish is a member of the cutlassfish family, an abundant species found in tropical and temperate oceans worldwide. We loved the yuzu pepper seasoning and the cute taco-like presentation between folded nori.

Lightly Torched Belt Fish
Belt Fish

The following course, chawanmushi shiras, was a highlight for me. This delicate, steamed Japanese custard was topped with tiny whitebait, a seasonal delicacy. This savoury custard was infused with a subtle smokiness and was very moreish. 

Chawanmushi Shiras
Chawanmushi Shiras – The Hidden Plate KL

Chef Arakawa continued to meticulously massage and shape the fish for the next two tuna nigiri. The first was fatty, pale pink tuna, dry-aged for ten days, with a rich and complex flavour. In stark contrast, the lean tuna nigiri burst forth with a vibrant, almost translucent red hue. Marinated in soy sauce, ginger, and spring onion, then garnished with mustard, it was well-balanced, with the soft umami of soy, the refreshing bite of onion, and the subtle warmth of mustard.

Otoro Tuna Nigiri The Hidden Plate Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur Sushi Azabu pop-up
Otoro Tuna Nigiri
Tuna Nigiri
Akamai Tuna Nigiri

The miso-marinated, torched golden-eye snapper nigiri was a pleasant surprise. The smoky char from the torching beautifully enhanced the fish’s unique flavour, while a subtle wasabi heat lingered on the finish, making it another standout dish for me.

Golden-eye Snapper Nigiri
Golden-eye Snapper Nigiri

Our next sushi was eel, a fish I have always thought looked quite frightening in appearance. Despite this, the nigiri was a revelation. Chef Arakawa’s masterful preparation, marinating, glazing in soy, and torching, transformed the eel into an incredibly soft and flavourful delicacy. The tender flakes melted in the mouth, reminiscent of a delicate pâté, while the sticky sauce added another layer of complexity. This unexpected delight proved that even the most unassuming (scary even!) ingredients can be elevated to culinary masterpieces in the right hands.

Eel Sushi The Hidden Plate KL
Eel Nigiri – The Hidden Plate KL

Chef Arakawa showcased the versatility of uni, or sea urchin, with two distinct preparations. One was a mild and creamy experience, while the other proved too bold for my taste. Though both varieties were delicious, we both favoured the milder, sweeter option, Murasaki uni, the most common and delicate type of sea urchin enjoyed in Japan. Interestingly, Murasaki uni is so beloved that its peak season in May has even become a symbol of spring in Japanese poetry.

Two Types of Uni
Two Types of Uni – Bafun & Murasaki

The savoury section of our meal concluded with a comforting bowl of miso soup. Its smoky, umami-rich broth was the perfect note to round out the exceptional meal. It was arguably the tastiest miso soup I’ve encountered. 

However, no meal is ever really over without dessert, and Monica confided that the baked basque cheesecake by the team behind Sushi Azabu is rightly very famous. Chef Arakawa laughed, saying that its popularity helped them survive the pandemic. If it is anything like this special matcha-flavoured one prepared specifically for this meal, I can see why. This version is fantastic, with an incredibly rich and creamy texture. Personally, I didn’t think it needed the accompanying brown sugar syrup. However, those with a sweet tooth would appreciate it. 

Matcha Basque Cheesecake
Matcha Basque Cheesecake

The Hidden Plate Review

From the welcome drink in Thirty8 to being led down a secret passage to the urban farm, the spectacular views from the exclusive eight-seater table to the culinary theatre provided by Chef Arakawa and the premium 17-course omakase experience – the evening was exceptional. We can’t recommend The Hidden Plate highly enough. Book your seat and go!

Reasons to visit The Hidden Plate: an unforgettable evening set amidst a vibrant hydroponic farm with incredible city skyline views; the free-flow beverage package is a steal!; exceptional omakase; a fantastic booking for special occasions; limited to eight seats only; and oh, that cheesecake!

The Hidden Plate KL
Secret location within the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
12, Jalan Pinang, Kuala Lumpur 50450, Malaysia
Link to the Grand Hyatt KL on Google Maps
[email protected]
WhatsApp +60 12 621 9869

The Hidden Plate Operating Hours
Bookings from June 2024 for a limited time only
Wednesday – Sunday: Two sittings at 6 pm and 8 pm

Find more KL Japanese restaurant recommendations here, and stay up-to-date on the latest gourmet and travel happenings around Malaysia via Instagram here and Facebook here.

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