KL's most buzz-worthy new Japanese restaurant so far this year has surfaced at Taman Tun, destined to become an after-work favourite for crowds seeking above-average fare served by a team that could scarcely be friendlier or more efficient.
Start getting acquainted here with the inventiveness of a kitchen crew helmed by Chef Nizam, who spent more than a decade polishing his trade at Ozeki Tokyo. For Torii, these culinary craftsmen have hatched a steamed duck egg custard crowned with foie gras, shrimp & salmon roe, making for a memorable chawanmushi (RM15 before taxes).
Shrimp tempura topped with sea urchin & plum sea salt (RM28), with the uni adding a creamy-sweet brininess that makes this recipe deliciously distinctive.
Torii's triumphant triumvirate: Temptingly warm, achingly luscious layers of unagi, omelette & foie gras (RM28). As good as Japanese dim sum might get.
Speaking of threes, there are trio of reasons for Torii's name: the first two refer to the word's literal meaning (it's a Japanese gate) & as an abbreviation for yakitori _ Torii excels in a sweeping selection of grilled skewered specialities, ranging from chicken liver coated with BBQ sauce & sansho pepper (RM5) ...
... to try-this-now garlic cloves irresistibly wrapped in crispy-fatty chicken skin with sea salt (RM5).
Wagyu sirloin (RM16), packed with commandingly savoury juiciness, alongside ox tongue with black pepper (RM15).
Beef tripe with tangy-thick salsa (RM6).
King crab leg (RM28); Torii will steadily roll out recipes on its no-pork menu. Amid these uncertain times, there are still some guarantees: Expect to hear more about Torii as folks flock here in the months ahead.
Even the complimentary edamame here deserves a shout-out, served warm & fresh with a salty crunch.
Torii has teamed up with Forty Licks Ice Cream to create exclusive flavours here, including a dark chocolate sorbet (RM10) that's terrifically textured & tantalisingly tasty.
Let's finish on what might be the best note for some customers: The third explanation for Torii's name is a nod to Japanese whisky icon Shinjiro Torii. This place is fanatical about its whisky.
Try the refreshing whisky cocktails: Yamazaki Umeshu (Yamazaki 12, soda, honey umeshu) ...
... & Hibiki Vanilla (Hibiki 12, soda, vanilla essence & orange bitters), RM32 each.
Torii Yakitori & Whisky Bar TTDI
Open daily, 5pm through late. Tel: 03-7733-9309
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As a separate initiative, the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favorites for January-March 2014 is now online, featuring 100 pretty nice eateries, including more than 20 new entries for this quarter. This eBook of restaurant recommendations is available for free, convenient reading on computers, tablets & smartphones at this link: http://eatdrinkkl.publ.com/Eat-Drink-KL-100-Favorites-Jan-March-2014 (This link expires March 31, 2014; see blog entries after that date for new link).