Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hamasho, Tatsu Mi & TWO Japanese Restaurants @ Desa Sri Hartamas

Tantalising new Japanese restaurants have surfaced this month all across Desa Sri Hartamas; here's our definitive deep-dive introduction for three of them, starting with grilled seafood specialist Hamasho, then rolling on to oil-fondue experts Tatsu Mi, followed finally by contemporary eatery TWO. Take a deliciously deep breath.

Charcoal stoves seize the spotlight at Hamasho, as compellingly Japanese as a restaurant gets in KL, complete with menus pasted on the walls that few Malaysians can decipher. Thankfully, Hamasho's owners & team nurture a patient & helpful nature.

Squid receives star treatment, brushed with a mix of sake & shoyu, terrific in taste & texture, as if newly netted from the sea. It might well have been; Hamasho secures fresh seafood shipments five days a week. RM25++.

Prefer squid tentacles (RM15++)? That's possible at Hamasho, the first Malaysian outpost of a Japanese-based F&B business.

'Hokke' Arabesque greenling fish (RM25++), a true treat at Hamasho. Fresh & fleshy, smoky & savoury.

Crab 'head' flesh, scooped up from the shell & mixed up altogether for an interesting preparation (RM18++).

Gindara teriyaki might sound cliched, but the cod fish at Hamasho is a should-order, beautifully buttery, flaky & flavoursome.

Bonito sashimi (RM30++). With so much seafood, Hamasho makes a nice companion restaurant to sashimi-serving Uokatsu nearby (though the two are not affiliated to each other), with their fabulous food reminding us why Japanese cuisine is one of the mainstays of this website, with more than 200 Japanese restaurants reviewed since 2008.

Not into seafood? Deep-fried chicken gizzard (RM15++) is fun to snack on here ...

... as well as made-for-beer-pairing burdock chips (RM15++), salty with a curried tinge ...

... & sliced yam laced with sake & squid guts, an acquired taste.

 What lies within the foil? A mix of mushrooms; tastes better than expected, possibly one of the best of its kind in KL.

 Sake is pricey at Hamasho though; a 360-ml serving that only two can share costs RM90++.

Overall though, we think Hamasho, which has a fun & welcoming vibe, possesses the makings of a smash hit; expect to hear more about this place in the months ahead.

 Next up, Tatsu Mi, where the highlight is oil fondues, partnered with seafood, meat or veggies.

Fondue for two indeed; that's the minimum order here (two people). A serving of seafood costs RM60++ per person.

 The selection comprises salmon, scallops, tuna, squid, prawns, pumpkin, broccoli, carrots, lotus roots, yam & asparagus.

It burns! The chunks of seafood take only a few seconds to sizzle in the oil & be cooked enough for the eating.

 Beef fondues are also available; all in all though, it works better as a novelty rather than mouthwatering nourishment.

Oden is served as a complimentary appetiser; liquor can be ordered too, of course.

 Wrapping up our Hartamas expedition with TWO, which doubles up with Japanese & Western cuisine, but our focus here is on the sashimi & sushi, not the seafood pasta or the mussels with lemon sauce.

 TWO features the work of two chefs, Yoshi & Kent, who both honed their skills at New York eateries. The menu proudly bears the 'fusion' label, with ostensibly French & Italian influences, resulting in hits & misses.

 Summer flounder, sliced & served with shoyu (RM28 before taxes), pretty much passes the mark for freshness & flavour.

 Yellowtail with ponzu-based sauce & jalapenos (RM30), a bit of a mess, with the heavily savoury sauce completely overwhelming the fish.

 TWO's signature sushi roll (RM30) showcases tuna, salmon, yellowtail, avocado & crab stick wrapped with cool, crunchy cucumber strips. Not a bad change from regular seaweed-reliant rolls.

Ooba Maki (RM16): Tuna, mint leaves, avocados & asparagus, fried & paired with sweet chilli sauce, the undoing of this dish.

 Sushi pizza (RM28), blanketed with fish, guacamole & again, a cloying sauce that undermines everything else on the plate.

 Booze is offered & service is friendly; we wish TWO luck, though we think it'll be tricky for it to secure a competitive advantage.

Hamasho
42, Jalan 27/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur. 
Dinner, Tuesday-Saturday (but closed this Saturday, August 23). Tel: 03-6206-1127 


Tatsu Mi
7 Jalan 19/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur. Dinner, except Mondays.

TWO Japanese & Western Cuisine
B-G-03A, Glomac Galeria, Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 03-6201-0010

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27 comments:

  1. Wow...all 3 are interesting to say the least...main target would be TWO tho =)

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    1. Ulric: ooo, that's an unexpected choice actually. i guess i'm leaning toward hamasho, partly because of the consistency of the seafood ... and it has a nice vibe, similar to the japanese restaurants we like at taman desa :D
      i wanted to like TWO more than i did, but i disliked some of the sauces there. they didn't quite go well with the sashimi ... so maybe ask for less sauce, i dunno :)

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    2. Aha...fusion done not quite rite...a pity tho...as for Hamasho I'll give them a shot...hopefully it's not too difficult ordering...haha =)

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    3. Ulric: yeah, it officially supposed to be japanese-french, but i can't really feel the french part at two :)
      oh, there are english-speakers among hamasho's service team, so it'll be ok. and luckily, they'll cook all the seafood for us, so we only have to lift our fingers to eat :)

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    4. Tats great! Hey Tatsu Mi has replaced Soba Kuroha? Cose the address is exactly the same minus the G =)

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    5. Ulric: yup! you're super-observant! tatsu mi replaced soba kuroha, though the company that owns it appears to be the same. two replaced what was mezza9.

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  2. Ahhh...too bad...din get to try their soba...another missed opportunity...lolz! =)

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    1. Ulric: heh, i didn't closely examine the rest of the menu beyond the fondues, but maybe they still do a few sobas here :)

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    2. Oops...wrongly started a new thread. Great!...will check them out too =)

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    3. Ulric: that's ok, this is the only thread at this late hour, heh :D hope you enjoy your exploration :)

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  3. I love salmon, Sean, as you know! The vegetables look wonderful!!!

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    1. Linda: the salmon was pretty decent at tatsu mi, and so were the veggies! :)

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  4. Among these three, I want to visit Hamasho the most! Hehehe.

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    1. CK: heheh, ya, i would agree with your assessment too! i think you'd enjoy the cod fish at hamasho :)

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  5. Seems the Japanese craze shows no signs of slowing. :-)

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    1. The Yum List: heheh, japanese restaurants are definitely going strong. i'd like to see a revival of the italian boom though too :)

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  6. They do not have those suction pumps to suck out the smoke from the grill? We have a Korean place here - they do not have it either and diners will walk out smelling like what was on the BBQ grill. I'd love to try that sushi pizza, looks very colourful.

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    1. Suituapui: ooo, the odours weren't very heavy, i think we escaped mostly unscathed and unsmelly, heh :D and yeah, the presentation for the sushi pizza was kinda fun. i liked the use of guacamole as a topping :)

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  7. Can't get bored of Jap food! And yes, Hamasho for me too! :)

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    1. Rebecca: yeah, i could happily eat japanese three times a week. and yup, hamasho's the best bet! :)

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  8. I am very drawn to the squid...stared at it quite a long while!

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    1. Missyblurkit: i totally empathise! if i ever return to hamasho, i'd order the squid again! :D

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  9. was wondering how you ordered through the Japanese wall menu, then I saw your pic with the mixed english menu, lol
    anyway, looks delish, esp hamasho which reminds me of some similar night stores and izakaya in Japan

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    1. Jeffrey: heh, yeah, we didn't have anyone in our group who could read the wall menu, though luckily, the service team were all fully conversant in english :) and yup, the customers here seemed to be entirely japanese during our visit, so it seems like a place where they feel at home :)

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  10. Hi, Sean. Sorry to ruin your review of Hamasho but I will not recommend the restaurant to anyone, not because of the food but because of an incident that happened last Friday, 26 Sept, involving my son and one of the Japanese staff (or maybe the owner) of Hamasho Restaurant.

    My son was assaulted inside the restaurant by the restaurant staff at around 5:45pm on 26 Sept 2014. While waiting for me to finish work on Friday, my wife and the kids were browsing at the DVD shop next to the restaurant. My son told my wife that he needed to use the toilet so he went out of the DVD shop. He went to Hamasho restaurant and asked permission from one of the waiters to use the toilet. The waiter pointed him to where the toilet was.

    After a minute, there was loud banging on the toilet door and one person shouting at my son to come out and asking who he was. When my son got out, he was confronted by a Japanese-looking man who held a metal stick. My son apologised to the man, explained that he needed to go to the toilet and even offered to order from the restaurant to pay for his use of the toilet, but the man kept shouting at him and kicked him twice in the leg. When my son tried to go past the man to leave, the man put his hand on my son's throat and pushed him back. My son was so scared and apologised profusely, but the man just kept shouting while the other staff were just watching them. When he saw his chance, my son ran past the man and got out. He could not recall if someone tried to pull him back, but he said he felt someone tried to grab his shirt.

    We filed a police report with the Desa Sri Hartamas and Travers police stations that same night, and we are still awaiting the results of their investigation. My son was not seriously hurt physically, but was shaking with fear when he met his mum and too traumatised to return to the Desa Sri Hartamas area. I am not sure if the man thought my son was a vagrant or a thief, but even if this incident happened to another person and not to my son, the man had no right to be violent or try to hurt the person, particularly if the person did not pose any threat (he was a grown man and much bigger than Jigs).

    I urge you not to patronise this establishment that employ people who have no qualms in hurting children - they have no right to conduct business in Malaysia or anywhere else.

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    1. Anything happen after police report?

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  11. Hamasho is run by the yakuza. Avoid at all costs.

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