A tale of two Japanese eateries: one in the city, the other suburban; one steadfastly traditional, the other cautiously experimental.
First up, Kingyo, which opened at Life Center this month, practically the same time that sushi-serving rival Doraku launched upstairs in this building.
Kingyo's prices are slightly on the steep side; its specialty roll, topped with seared minced 'toro' tuna belly & stuffed with avocado & spring onions, is a melt-in-the-mouth pleasure, but costs well north of RM60.
Salmon-&-tuna sashimi salad, satisfyingly fresh but far from memorable.
Inaniwa udon to round up a meal at a place that might be playing it too safe; the menu is wide, but everything here can be found elsewhere at more competitive prices.
We wish Kingyo luck, but it needs an extra edge to stand out in KL's sea of Japanese eateries.
Next up, Ju.Ne, a fairly comfortable little nook in Solaris Dutamas.
Simmered eggplant with bonito flakes, warm & soft, invite us to linger for dinner.
Ju.Ne's starters include worthwhile fare with fun-but-not-radical twists, including a big bowl of crunchy veggies on ice (love the Brussels sprouts) partnered with a savory anchovy sauce dip that's kept hot over a flame.
Keeping the healthy streak alive: Momotaro tomatoes & Japanese cucumbers, cool & crisp, paired with sauces spicy & creamy.
Crab meat & avocado mayo salad. Can't go wrong with this; tastes exactly as expected.
Minced prawn stuffed in lotus root. Warm & juicy, but it might need a sauce to add some zing.
Garlic bread, a tad too stodgy, to be topped with a terrific mix of tuna belly, anchovies & wasabi.
Oyster-stuffed omelet, a mouthwatering finish to a creative meal whose hits outpace the misses.
Cute sake cups; customers choose their favorite when the service team offers a tray of them.
Kingyo @ Life Center, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur.
Ju.Ne @ 4A-G2-3A, Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur.