Daikanyama @ Changkat Bukit Bintang
Daikanyama : A little somethin’ special…
“Hey Terry, are you coming tonight to the food tasting at Daikanyama?” I asked him, as we did our daily crossover at 3 pm.
“Erm… Aly, you know you really shouldn’t be swearing at me like that…”
“No, silly! Daikanyama is a place in Shibuya, Tokyo! I replied quickly, before his mind really went to the gutter. “That’s what the restaurant we’re going to tonight in Changkat Bukit Bintang is named after. A district in Tokyo.”
“Oh!” he exclaims, realization spreading across his face.
When I arrived, I was warmly greeted by Manager Bari Hsiung. I took in my surroundings, and relished in the teasing smells that were wafting from the kitchen. The space is narrow, but long, and the restaurant extends quite a fair bit to the back. Our table was in the corner of the front section, by the bar and next to the window by the courtyard.
It was raining, it was 7.38 pm on a Monday, and the place was bustling. Regulars and new comers alike enjoyed the Tiger Beer Draft 141 weekly promotion. Buy a Glass, Pint or Jug of Tiger Draft at Regular prices and get the next one on the house. The guests were also tucking into what looked like some seriously good fodder.
Terry (Red FM Drive) & Kah Wai (photographer) arrived not long after, looking perfectly dry despite the torrential rain outside.
“That’s the menu, you know,” I pointed at the area in front of Kah Wai & Terry, where the friendly waitress had placed his menu.
“Oh, really?” replied Kah Wai. “I thought it was a placemat!”
The menu at Daikanyama is fashioned after the rail map of the district, except it’s divided into different food sections, rather than areas of the city. Each ‘end-of-the-line’ starts off with the heading to the section. To whet your appetite, the Rice & Noodle Bar, Yaki & Tempura Bar, Salad Bar. There’s also a Yakitori Bar and a Maki & Sashimi Bar.
To start, Bari recommended we try someof Daikanyama’s Japanese Inspired Cocktails.
Terry had the Kansai No.1, which was a blend of Sake, Gin, Mango, Lemon and Mint. It tasted like a Japanese Mojito!
We also tried the The Bikkuri, a mix of Choya, Shochu and Mango Syrup.
Terry liked this one better as it came in a delicate, girly glass, looked and tasted pretty.
Kah Wai had the Kimosan – Shochu, Lychee, Apple Juice.
As we sipped our cocktails, we munched on Iwashi Mirin Yaki, which was grilled Japanese dried sardine.
The bitesize strips have a firm consistency, a hint of sardine flavor, and really reminded me of ‘Bakkua’, the Chinese salty sweet dried meat. I was assured by Bari that it was indeed fish, and a popular choice amongst guests that wash it down with an ice cold beer.
The Soft Shell Crab Salad was a bowl of crisp green lettuce, with a homemade dressing and soft shell crabs deep fried in a golden brown batter.
The Lamb Yaki arrived.
Three skewered lamb chops in a peppery marinade, grilled and served on sticks so you don’t have to get your fingers dirty!
Next, we had the Kanpachi Tataki.
Kanpachi is yellowtail, and as I understand from my extensive research on the internet, Tataki in Japanese means “pounded” or “hit into pieces”. It’s a traditional method of preparing meat or fish, which is then seared very briefly over a hot flame or pan, dunked in vinegar, sliced thinly and seasoned with ginger paste.
Delightfully fresh, cooling and tasty, served with Chef Edwin’s “Secret Sauce”.
“All of our sauces are secret!” laughs Bari. “That’s what makes them so special…”
There’s always a point in the meal at food tastings when Terry and I find a couple of dishes that we just don’t want to share.
He was less than happy when I reached over to try the next dish, but quickly put on a smile for the camera.
The Hotatei Garlic Yaki was one of my favourites.
Fresh, grilled scallops baked with garlic and cheese.
I did manage to sneak one away from him in the end, and it was worth the fight, although I didn’t really want to share the Salmon Truffle Oil Tataki.
This was a wonderful roll of grilled salmon with truffle oil, on a cold bed of creamy potato. Fresh and light, with the flavor and aroma of truffles from the oil.
Truffle oil is in fact not made from actual truffles, but are instead a synthetic product, allowing diners to experience the full flavor of truffles without the killer price.
One thing was clear about the food at Daikanyama: individuality. Each dish really stood out on its own, with a distinct flavor and taste.
Chef Edwin Yau’s creative menu provides you with a culinary adventure of taste. To me, it was pure eye candy that surprises you with every bite.
The Daikan Mini Pizza was a classic example of fusion gone right.
Four pieces of crispy base with Japanese Beef and grilled cheese.
Quite often, when you mix Japanese flavours with Western ingredients, it results in a clash. Not here. The taste was mild, and each bite illustrated how the ingredients complemented each other rather than fought each other.
The Sake Bomb Maki will win you over with its presentation.
It has an amusing name, and its a lovely roll with salmon, softshell crab and avocado.
You must try the Funky Tempura.
I love how they have fun with the names! Prawn, Salmon, Onion and Eel in a light and crispy batter.
Don’t miss out on the California Cheese Maki.
This has crabstick, salmon, cheese and eel.
By this point, we weren’t expecting any more, but Bari and Chef Edwin took the liberty of spoiling us with a couple of main courses. Should you wish to embark on these, I recommend having a few less starters and really tucking in to the sizeable portions of rice and pasta.
I really enjoyed the Squid Ink Spaghetti.
Long strands of spaghetti cooked ‘al dente’, dyed jet black from the squid ink, and topped off with cos fish roe, squid, and delicate ‘bonito’ flakes. ‘Bonito flakes’ are dried, fermented, and smoked skipjack tuna.
Otherwise known as ‘dancing fish flakes’. Once you’ve stopped staring and wondering how they actually ‘dance’, you’ll find a very scrumptious bowl of pasta that truly satisfies.
From the Rice & Noodle Bar, we had the Bacon Sausage Fried Rice.
Wok fried with skill, the rice was aromatic with a sweet aftertaste from the meat.
Bari and Chef Edwin gave us a tour of the restaurant which allowed us to digest a little.
The Lounge upstairs was spacious, stylish and available for hire for private functions. Daikanyama Lounge houses live acts on Wednesdays, with Acoustic SingAlong Night with Japanese Cocktails going at 40% off!
It was a shame it was a Monday night, or we probably would have stayed on and chilled out a little longer than we initially planned.
That’s the kind of place Daikanyama is. Modern, creative, with a comfortable vibe. It’s a place that caters to everything you would want, on any night of the week.
First class food, inventive cocktails, a fantastic atmosphere, all at reasonable prices. Watch out KL – Fusion Cuisine is here to stay, and you’ll find it at Daikanyama. It’s a little somethin’ special…
All this week starting Monday 1st March, tune in from Eleven2Three to win RM 100 vouchers to Daikanyama, Changkat Bukit Bintang. The Big Red Food Review with me Aly. Only on Red FM, Today’s Best Music.
42, Changkat Bukit Bintang,
50200 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2141 0323
Mondays – Tiger Beer Draft 141; Buy a Glass, Pint or Jug of Tiger Draft at Regular prices and get the next one on the house.
Tuesdays – 40% off on all Japanese Inspired Cocktails
Wednesdays – R(O)A/W(R): Acoustic SingAlong Night with Japanese Cocktails going at 40% off !
Thursdays – Crazy Sake Thursdays; 25% off on all Sake Bottles !
Last Saturday of The Month(starting March) –
Daikanyama’s Saturday Night Fever-End of the Month Sale !
IMprom2: a showcase for Malaysia’s up and coming Stand Up talent via YCOM
Eyes Mike Open-Our talent supported Open Mike night. Jam, Sing, Tell Jokes to your group of friends.15 minutes per session.