Watami: Round Two. Earlier entry: August 5.
With a menu that spans more than 120 choices, there's no lack of temptations here. For something a little different: a do-it-yourself Japanese potato salad, served warm with fish roe, boiled eggs, carrots, onions & beef bacon. Use the pestle to mash everything up into soft, savory baby food.
More potatoes? This pizza topped with potatoes, corn & mentaiko might seem like a nightmare for carb-fearers, but it's far lighter than cheese-laden Italian creations. Featuring a fabulous thin crust & flavorsome toppings, it's a thorough triumph.
Kamameshi _ a traditional pilaf-like rice recipe with salmon, scallops, chicken & mushrooms, cooked in a steel pot at the table for 20 minutes. Not as lip-smacking as paella, bibimbap or even claypot rice, but still satisfyingly fragrant, brimming with succulent seafood & meat.
Anago tempura maki. A creative change from regular unagi rolls; tastes like a cross between crispy prawn maki & eel maki, if that makes any sense.
Tonpei-yaki _ a luscious omelet containing beef, cheese & cabbage. Comfort food of the highest order, well stuffed with richly tender meat.
Salmon mayo roll. Good news for Watami fans who live in PJ: another branch is opening later this year at 1 Utama. Let's hope there'll be even more eventually.
Deep-fried shishamo. Tired of the typical grilled preparations for smelt? This one is revelation, lightly battered and crunchy outside, bursting with juicy roe within. An absolute joy, reminding us that a little tweak might be all that's needed to make an old ingredient taste new again.
Scallops with mushrooms cooked in butter. An aromatic pleasure; the oceanic sweetness of the scallops blended beautifully with the mushrooms' earthiness. Squeeze a little lime for a tangy touch that takes everything up a notch.
A crisp, bountiful salad with teriyaki chicken, tomatoes & tuna sauce. Could be a main course on its own, but we were thankful that it supplied our fiber requirement.
Green tea tiramisu. Deliciously creamy, with potent, powdery overtones of matcha.
Sumiyaki coffee jelly. Caffeine lovers should enjoy this soft, smooth confection, thanks to its mildly bitter flavor, evocative of freshly roasted beans.
Yamazaki 12-year malt whiskey & choya umeshu with grapefruit.
Mild cocktails: Cassis grapefruit & Milky green tea.
Australian Frankland River Chardonnay & Cabernet Merlot are offered by the glass and the bottle. Prices are praiseworthy, at slightly below RM20 per glass.
Watami Malaysia @ Pavilion,
Watami Japanese Casual Restaurant,
Level 4, Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur.