After hearing so much about this increasingly popular Japanese restaurant, I decided to take my parents out for a long overdue dinner treat.
Located at one corner of the Hartamas shopping center (on the far left of the Ground floor - if you are coming in from the main entrance with the Starbucks), Rakuzen has a lovely feature wall made of bamboo:
The understated style on the exterior of Rakuzen extended to the interior's design too - with a couple of different sections (main island around the chefs and some more private booth style tables):
Somehow, it felt a little bit cramped in there but otherwise, I liked the interior.... It was comfortable and stylish without being "too much".
After scanning through the really extensive menu, we chose to start off our meal with the Soft Shell Crabs (RM22++), Small Sushiya Salad (RM16++), Grilled Duck (RM15++) and Agedashi Tofu (RM10++):
Overall, most of our appetizers tasted good:
- the Soft Shell Crab was uber crispy and light without having any "fishy" smell,
- the Tofu had a silky texture with a light sauce (albeit a little bland for my tastebuds), and
- the salad was wonderfully fresh, with generous helpings of seafood and interesting creamy yet sour dressing.
The duck as a bit of a let down though - only marginally tender and with a slight "ducky" flavour.... even obvious to a person like me who usually likes duck.....
(It tastes better when eaten with the mustard but I ended up finishing up the dish all by myself because people sensitive to "ducky-ness" like P avoided this dish after the first piece)
The Sashimi Unagi Bento set (RM48++), Dragon Maki (RM28++) and Curry Rice (RM18++):
1) The Sashimi Unagi Bento:
- Yum yum, delicious! Although I felt this was a little pricey (oooh, RM48++ is quite a fair bit) but the Grilled Eel was wonderfully tender and tasty with the sweet Kabayaki sauce, without even the slightest hint of "fishy" taste and the Sashimi was fresh and juicy,
2) The Dragon Maki:
- Deep fried King Prawn rolled with rice, avocado and topped with generous amounts of Ebiko and (possibly a bit too much) mayonnaise, this Maki was nice but again P grumbled that it is "not as nice as Umaiya" because it was missing the Unagi component.
3) The Japanese Curry Rice (choice between chicken and beef):
- P initially looked at me funny for ordering what he considers very non-Japanese dish at a Japanese restaurant, but I was craving for the savoury, non-spicy and slightly sweet flavour of this simple dish with its fragrant curry powder taste and this didn't let me down. Mmmmmm.....
Lastly, we had the Black Sesame Ice Cream (RM6++) to end the night:
Fragrant, smooth and not too sweet - the perfect black sesame ice cream...
One thing's for sure: the food at Rakuzen is definately not cheap. However, it's also not expensive considering the quality/ taste of the food.....
(With such an extensive menu though, you are bound to come across one or two dishes which are not so nice. Eg. the duck we tried)
The service that night did let me down a little though - the wait staff were friendly but maybe because of the layout of the place (especially if you are seated in a booth and not the main open area), it was difficult to get their attention...
There were several times that night where trying to get green tea refills or ordering more food became a pain because we kept waving our hands and calling out but somehow nobody saw/ attended to us.....
So, it's: Extensive menu of Japanese food, nice ambience, yummy food for OK prices BUT service staff (although friendly) can be a little blur and a few "misses" on the menu (honestly, it can't all be perfect when you have so many dishes - it happens lah....)
Rakuzen @ Hartamas Shopping Center, KL
Ambience : 7
Service : 5
Price** : RM 45/++ per person
** Approximation - 3 course meal, excluding drinks
Telephone No.: 03-6201 2060
(03-5880 4717 for their SS15, Subang Jaya outlet and 03-2145 6200 for their Chulan Square, KL outlet)
Opening Hours: 12 noon to late
NO PORK SERVED
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TAGS: Food, Blog, Weblog, Malaysia, Restaurant Review, Restaurant Reviews, KL, Kuala Lumpur, Hartamas Shopping Center, Hartamas ShoppingCentre, Rakuzen, Japanese, Subang Jaya, Chulan