Thursday, December 5, 2013

Minamoto Kitchoan & WA Cafe @ Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

Checking out two compelling new reasons to return to Pavilion this month: confectionery shop Minamoto Kitchoan & caffeine bar WA Cafe, both infused with inimitable Japanese influences.

First, Minamoto Kitchoan, which recently unveiled its maiden Malaysian branch, bolstering a cross-continental network that spans locations from Singapore to Shanghai to San Francisco, London to Tokyo to New York.

Minamoto specializes in "wagashi," the traditional treats commonly consumed with tea. Beautifully packaged but bitingly priced; it's startlingly simple to spend a whole lunchtime's worth of money on more or less a mouthful here.

Minamoto's mochi might rank as KL's best, exceptional in taste & texture. Sweet but not cloying, with a commanding complexity of flavor, these rice cakes feel fresh & pleasurably pasty without excess stickiness.

Sakura mochi (RM10 per piece), its glutinous grains wrapped with a salted cherry leaf & topped with pickled cherry blossom. Delicate & nuanced.

Also adore the kusa mochi (RM8), typically a springtime delicacy, colored with mugwort leaves & filled with red bean paste. Glutinous greatness.

Tsuyaguri, a whole, soft chestnut enveloped in mashed chestnut paste. Folks who feel like festive splurging can buy a nice 12-piece gift box of these for RM152.

Hoshigaki dried persimmon, reputedly a labor-intensive product to create by massaging the fruit over time, stuffed with white bean paste.

The azuki bean paste is lovely here, be it stuffed in the Oribenishiki baked buns ...

... or sandwiched in dorayaki pancakes (Doraemon's favorite!) ...

... & koganeawase crispy-light wafers. This coming from someone who's not a red-bean fan.

Cookies? These "leaf pies" could prove an irresistibly buttery-sugary addiction.

Not everything here's a hit though: We'd skip the surprisingly bland kasutera sponge cake (RM48) & fukuwatashisenbei vanilla cream cookie ...

... & the OK-but-unmemorable shimizuhakuto peach jelly (RM42).

Before leaving Pavilion, take the escalators four floors up to WA Cafe, where a Japanese barista  has started serving this shopping mall's most satisfying coffee.

Colombian Arabica beans form the foundation for WA's lovable iced latte (RM11). 

Also admirable: Hot matcha latte (RM10), potently aromatic with top-flight green tea ...

... & a deeply enjoyable roasted almond hot chocolate (RM11), both not-coffee beverages that make WA Cafe more than a coffee bar, come to think of it.

Note: WA Cafe is in a soft-opening stage; its barista advises customers to come next week, when the cafe's own-made ice cream & a wider selection of beverages will become available.

Minamoto Kitchoan
P2-12-00, Level 2, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
WACafe
Center Court, Level 6, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

The Oct.-Dec. inaugural edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favorites is now available in an eBook for free, convenient reading on computers, tablets & smartphones. It comprises reviews & information for 100 pretty nice eateries that span various locations, cuisines & budgets. Please click here: http://eatdrinkkl.publ.com/Eat-Drink-KL-100-Favorites-Oct-Dec-2013 (This link expires Dec. 31, 2013; see blog entries after that date for new link).

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35 comments:

  1. Hmmm... not really a big fan of Mochi, i find them a bit too sweet to my liking, not cheap too, rm10 for one, i'd prefer something else :p

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    1. Ken: I generally agree, since I'm not a fan of most mochi either. Which is why the ones here surprised me. They're sweet but less than usual, layered with some interesting flavors :D

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  2. Will wait to say 'waaaah' to WA cafe...hehe =)

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    1. Ulric: based on what they're serving so far, the wait will be very much worthwhile! Open wide and say waaaaah :D

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    2. The hot matcha latte looks so elegantly done...hehe =)

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    3. Ulric: yeah. The barista is a real master of his craft. I can't imagine the countless hours he must have spent over the years honing his skills. Respect :D

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    4. Can't wait to sip and say 'waaaaahhh' =)

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    5. Ulric: hopefully he'll be there full-time to prepare the beverages. Forgot to ask him about his off-days/off-hours, though it does seem like he'll be there most of the time for now =)

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  3. Yummy. reading your post at this hour~
    MOCHIIII look amazing!

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    1. Jay: really loved the Sakura mochi ... I would happily eat five of that in one sitting! Am keen to try more of the mochi flavors here =)

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  4. Interesting place, Sean, with some unique (to me) foods.

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    1. Linda: yes, the range here is quite fascinating! :D

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  5. I tried sakura mochi in Tokyo during our first trip there, next time must try the one here. :D

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    1. CK: ya, i think u might enjoy the one here. and after converting yen to ringgit, it could cost the same amount, heheh :D

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  6. Biting prices indeed, RM10 for one mochi! I'd much rather spend it on the matcha latte, which looked amazing, btw! :)

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    1. Iamthewitch: yeah, i'd be torn between the mochi and the matcha latte, cos they're both brilliant! :D

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  7. Love those confectionery. But kinda pricey :-(

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    1. Melissa: true, expensive in ringgit, though i guess the blame is on our weaker currency. maybe just buy one to enjoy, ya =)

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  8. Not a fan of mochi, give me our own onde-onde anytime.

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    1. Suituapui: heheh, millions of Mochi fans might beg to differ! =)

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  9. well, this would be the new cafe because I didn't see it when I was in Malaysia..

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    1. Mr lonely: yep, fresh openings at pavilion =)

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  10. the japanese dessert shop, i wish they have seat for us to sit down to eat. i havent try any of those cause always passby in a rush. lol
    will try the cafe soon too!

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    1. Jean: true, i guess they're more of a takeaway option, encouraging people to buy back and eat at home =) ya, wa cafe is certainly worthwhile too! :D

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  11. i am drooling over that mochi.

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    1. Cquek: the mochi's definitely drool-worthy! :D

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  12. noticed that japanese barista seems to be one of the barista at coffee stain by joseph in publika last time?

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    1. Vincent: you're right! i think he's actually been doing this for many years now at different places =)

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    2. i just realized about that, hahaha.. alright, thanks for sharing man! i'll drop by for my coffee soon :)

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    3. Vincent: hope u enjoy the coffee!

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  13. i wanna get my hands on those super cute mochi. my partner loves mochi so much that we had to go to chinatown to get them.

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    1. Eiling: yay for mochi lovers! yeah, a really good mochi is definitely worth hunting for! :D

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  14. Hi Sean, Thanks for dropping by our kiosk and trying out our products. Truly glad that you like our Wagashi products and for also ranking our mochi as one of the best in KL. Thank you for highlighting about the seating arrangements at our shop. We have taken it into consideration and will pass it on to our headquarters for further development. We hope that you will continue your support of Minamoto Kitchoan Malaysia and so see you again at our kiosk.

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    1. Minamoto: thanks for noting the feedback, and do keep up the great work. looking forward to returning for more of your seasonal specialties =)

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  15. Hi Sean,
    Thanks for your great support! By the way, our winter seasonal products: Apple Series are out and we looking forward to see you soon.

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