KL's P. Ramlee Road might not often entice this city's gastrophiles, but Senya is well worth a stop for folks seeking an evocative setting for Japanese fare.
Climb the stairs up from Menya Musashi to enter Senya; it's clear that these two outlets have more in common than their rhyming names, combining to create a one-two culinary punch with an ambiance that might recall Tokyo backstreet holes-in-walls.
Take a table in the air-conditioned interior, beside the bustling open kitchen, or snatch a seat on the terrace outside, overlooking eternally busy traffic below.
The menu is straightforward, featuring fast-assembled plates of salmon avocado rolls (RM16) ...
... traditional skewers of smoky chicken liver and heart (about RM3 each) ...
... and more obscure but equally order-worthy pleasures like sticky-stinky fried rice mixed with a wealth of natto fermented soybeans (RM16).
For the fear factor fan: marinated firefly squid (RM10.80), squishy and salty.
Lightly torched mackerel, one of Senya's most expensive items at RM22. Prices here are better than reasonable for a Japanese joint in the heart of the city.
Stewed fish cake in a light soy broth (RM4), perfect for a wet evening.
Succulent duck with spinach (RM17), simple but (no need to wait for it!) satisfying.
Sure, there's sake and shochu, but beverages like the Rum Buck cocktail (white rum, ginger ale, lemon juice) and Sudachi citron liquor warrant a full investigation.
Service is excellent, and the restaurant's last orders are sometime past 10 pm.
Is this Senya related somehow to the Senya at Isetan KLCC and 1 Utama? Probably, judging from their similar logos, but the menu here is completely different.
Entry on Senya @ Isetan KLCC: Sept. 17, 2011.
Senya Grill Sushi Bar,
Jalan P. Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur.