aka chochin izakaya
we first came across this place on Christmas Eve last year, had a couple of pre-dinner drinks and a stir-fry of unforgettable black-peppered beef/cabbage mix plus a pot of juicy, steamed mussels. last week we finally paid another visit seeing that we were in Pavillion for a movie, so we dropped by afterwards. though this time i got a little disappointed that the menu is completely changed (i wanted some of that beef stir-fry so badly), we had some pretty good sushi to make up for it. i love how this place is decorated - funky, fun, with a little surprise at almost every corner. a contemporary 'izakaya' (the Japanese counterpart to the English or German gastropub) with a twist of sophistication, it is a breath of fresh air.
there are really cozy seating areas, and aside from the usual selection for beers on taps - they have a separate beverage menu, with 2 pages of sake options to choose from, and another full page of shochu lists. we were tempted to order some of the lunch bento deals but we weren't that hungry so we went for some sushi rolls instead, with a couple pints of beer. the food menu itself is extensive, from deep-fried comfort food to sushi, sashimi and desserts. the next time around, we'll be here when we're hungry! everything is made to order right out of the open kitchen that reflects a Tokyo street stall.
i studied a full semester of Japanese language in college, and by now i've almost completely forgotten how to read them, except the really simple ones, thanks to some Japanese friends i've made in my working years. i wish i kept up with it! would've helped a little with understanding these beautiful illustrations on the menu, while we waited for our order :)
some 'uramaki', 8 pieces of inside-out rolls to start our little feast. Ken ordered these California rolls -- crab meat with mayo, cucumber and avocado, rolled in tobiko and sesame. i'm a fan of crab so this was a hit, it was so good ;)
these lanterns are my favorite. i've completely forgotten to take a picture from the outside of the restaurant (yet again, i forgot all the time).
Ken ordered these surprising futomaki too -- a black spider - jumbo rolls of soft shell crab tempura, spicy tobiko mayo, chives, avocado and cucumber. it did look like a black spider, creeped me out a little -- but it tasted so good i wished i can handle more food in this one seating. the soft shell crab wasn't burnt black, at least we think it wasn't - there were no bitter-ish burnt taste so we guessed that perhaps it was wrapped in seaweed and fried to perfection. either way, we love it.
so, one heck of a good looking place, don't you agree?
Location: Izakaya Aka Chochin, Pavillion Kuala Lumpur. right smack in the middle of it all - perfect for hangouts or whenever one wants to escape the after-work rush hour traffic ;)