When Fukuharu closed at Ampang's Terrace at Hock Choon recently, KL lost a gem of a Japanese restaurant. Mercifully, this garden-gorgeous space hasn't remained vacant for long; its new occupant, Machi Japanese Kitchen, could be a diamond in the rough.
Many thanks to Machi's proprietors for this invitation to a lovely lunch that launched with formidably filled hand-rolls of luscious minced tuna belly & spring onions (RM18 each).
The kitchen here has retained the services of Fukuharu's Chef Machi, which explains the outlet's name. The happy result: customers can still savor the sensational tamago mentai sushi that became synonymous with Fukuharu.
Crisply battered prawns with creamy mild curry. Effortlessly enjoyable.
Eel comes in multiple forms at Machi, served whole in this teriyaki-style recipe ...
... & rammed into a fried maki (RM28) made spicy with cili padi & crunchy with tobiko.
Lamb might not be the first meat that springs to mind for the Land of the Rising Sun's cuisine, but Machi's proves worthwhile (RM38), coated in a one-of-a-kind mix of sweet-savory Japanese, Korean & Chinese bean pastes.
Yuzu sorbet & black sesame ice cream (RM12 each before taxes). A comfortingly familiar finish.
Sake is available. Machi opens everyday for both lunch & dinner, a nice neighbor to Romanza & La Mexicana; these three ensure that Terrace at Hock Choon remains one of KL's indispensable dining destinations.
Machi is still finding its footing, but its owners & chef seem genuinely passionate enough to make us optimistic about its potential. And as the few who visited Terrace at Hock Choon from the very beginning would recollect, Fukuharu too wasn't perfect on Day One.
Machi Japanese Kitchen,
Terrace at Hock Choon, Lorong Nibong, Off Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.