This eye-catching new Japanese eatery at Pavilion offers an enticing range - with some Korean & Malaysian twists - that runs from kimchi sushi to chilli-sauteed baby sea conch; it's admirably ambitious, though with a selection this sweeping, there are bound to be both hits & misses.
The venue's as extensive as the menu, comprising multiple settings & seating styles; professionally constructed, no less than what we'd expect from the first Japanese-themed foray by the industrious team that also operates mall-based establishments Weissbrau, Spasso Milano, Limoncello & Svago.
Our Chochin favourite: Steamed fish eggs (RM21 before taxes) - chunky & creamy-buttery - topped with crisp veggies, soaked in a light, sweet-sour chilli gravy that complements the fish eggs more effectively than expected. Comfort food for fans of fish eggs.
Deep-fried chicken liver (RM13++) is something else we'd also order again here; expertly executed, with the perfect hint of bloodiness to keep it tasty. Hmmm, fish eggs plus chicken liver - sounds exactly like our 'nasi kandar' must-have components.
Squid stuffed with otak-otak (RM28) sounds like something a Nyonya restaurant would be more likely to serve, but it works well for the izakaya concept too. A savoury snack to pair with hours of drinking.
The list of skewers is long; these octopus tentacles (RM18) are tasty, though they're tricky to eat, stuck tightly to the sticks.
Chochin's chicken karaage (RM25) proves fabulously juicy, but it's accompanied by an artificial-tasting cheese dip - not exactly fondue, despite what the menu states.
The okonomiyaki is OK, thick with seafood (RM28) & certainly not as doughy or stodgy as the worst ones out there.
A rice-free roll ringed with cucumber & stuffed with unagi sounds a bit better on paper than it tastes on the plate; maybe the eel could be of a better quality. Still, this seems pretty fairly priced at RM23.
Peach Beach (RM40), a maki with the uncommon component of peach, plus avocado, cucumber & crab stick (the building blocks of a California Roll), crowned with salmon slices. Visually, it's a mess, but it tastes flavoursome enough, thanks to the thick topping of a kiwi fruit sauce. It's massive - perfect for the peckish.
No lack of liquor, from wine & beer to shochu & sake, vodka & to tequila to makgeolli.
Izakaya AKA Chochin
Lot C3, Level Three, Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur. Near The Press Room.
Check out the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favourites, featuring 100 recommended restaurants for July-September 2014, including more than 20 new entries for this quarter.
Link expires Sept 30, 2014; see blog entries after that date for new link.
Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings (even before they're featured on this blog), F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits.
Subscribe to Eat Drink KL Weekly for free via this following link:
Eat Drink KL: Small Businesses, Huge Flavours is the first eBook to help customers navigate the diversity of independent F&B entrepreneurs who bake & boil in their own kitchens, offering some of Malaysia's finest, most fascinating food products.